This magical action RPG blends monster slaying with Persona-like social stats for a beautiful relaxation escape

Dungeons of Hinterberg
(Image credit: Curve)

After a busy, action-packed in-game day slaying monsters and solving puzzles in Dungeons of Hinterberg, I don't even think twice about seizing the opportunity to unwind and take things a little slower the following afternoon. "I feel so much lighter here", protagonist Luisa says after I sit her down at a picnic table nestled in a picturesque relaxation area. Away from the responsibilities of work, the tourist hotspot is a haven of peace and quiet - when there are no monsters to slay, that is - and as Luisa takes a moment to reflect, I let myself sink into the quiet right alongside her. I stumbled upon this spot in Doberkogel, which is the first open zone I venture to. Not only does my decision to sit here rather than enter another dungeon reiterate that I have the freedom to choose how I want to spend my time, but it also serves a practical purpose; raising both my relaxation stat and my health bar. 

And that brings me to what I've been loving most about Dungeons of Hinterberg so far: I can take everything at my own pace, and no matter what I end up doing during the game's day and night cycle, I never feel like I'm wasting valuable time. If I want to relax for a day I can, and Luisa will benefit from that just as much as slashing through any one of the many magical dungeons you can try to clear. With the chance to experience 15 days in the game during my hands-on preview session, I've already been having a blast with its mix of action, puzzles, and social activities; the latter of which reminds me of Persona, with social stats and relationship rankings that open up the way to useful buffs, abilities, or features. 

From fighting monsters by day, to getting to know the locals by night, and everything in between, Dungeons of Hinterberg offers up a holiday retreat I already don't want to tear myself away from. 

Enjoy your slay  

Dungeons of Hinterberg

(Image credit: Curve Games)

The basic premise of Dungeons of Hinterberg follows the journey of Luisa, who seeks to take a much needed break away from corporate life. And what better way to let off some steam and find yourself again than by visiting the beautiful Alps and slaying some monsters? After arriving in the idyllic Hinterberg village with all manner of entertainment and relaxation for visitors, I'm quickly introduced to what sets this tourist hotspot apart: magical dungeons.

With different open zones to unlock and explore that all have a helping of dungeons to find and clear, the first few days of my vacation play out to introduce me to all of the major features of the action RPG. I first try my hand at combat, equipped with a bright, teal-toned sword to hack and slash at enemies that take the shape of Alpine mythological creatures. With one quick attack and another that delivers heavier blows, I also have to time my dodges to avoid taking too many hits, but I quickly get the gist of it. While it feels good and functions effectively, I'm happy to discover the vanilla fighting gets a sprinkling of magic that makes it more varied and fun. 

Dungeons of Hinterberg

(Image credit: Curve Games)

Heading off to a shrine in Doberkogel, I learn my first magical spells, which can be used in and out of battles. The magic is uniquely tied to each area, meaning that the spells I learn in Doberkogel only work here, and subsequent locations I unlock give me new spells to use. I love how the spells not only elevate the combat with additional moves, but they also feed into the way you explore the surrounding landscape and the dungeons in the area, which you puzzle your way through using the magic. 

The first area, for example, kits me out with a projectile spiky ball on a chain that can be thrown at switches, or destructible obstacles to open up pathways. My second spell is equally useful, acting as a giant explosive bomb that can be placed on the ground to blow up obstructing walls. The magic is one of the highlights of Hinterberg so far; each set of spells I learn makes every area feel fresh and different, and every dungeon has a set difficulty level that presents me with varied puzzles to solve based on the magic I have. I'm often reminded of the dungeon-like shrines in Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild, with Microbird Games' own take on magic putting a creative spin on puzzle solutions. 

Sit back and relax 

Dungeons of Hinterberg

(Image credit: Curve Games)

Who knew a holiday involving monster slaying could feel so fulfilling and even be quite relaxing at times?

The social system of Dungeons of Hinterberg is also another major highlight that feeds back into the action. I've always been a big fan of social systems where you can develop bonds with other characters, so before I even started playing, the idea of being able to get to know the locals was one of the biggest draws for me. Happily, this aspect has been an absolute treat so far, with many opportunities to spend time with the residents of the village during the evenings. 

Just as we grow and learn from the people we meet and the relationships we form, Luisa is able to develop her stats and skills in various ways through the time she spends in the company of others. Every person in Hinterberg has something to offer, and as I invest time getting to know them, I start to unlock more features and improve my social stats, which in turn makes me more effective in combat and helps me progress so I can take on higher level dungeons. Not unlike Persona 4 Golden, or Persona 5, you need to increase certain stats in order to interact with particular characters and complete their associated quests to begin increasing your relationship rank. The higher the rank, the more rewards you'll get.  

It adds an additional layer of progression that effectively complements the dungeon action and monster slaying, but it feels like an added bonus on top of the joy of getting to know the characters. Hinterberg is full of personalities with their stories to share, and you sometimes learn more about Luisa through the conversations you have. I'm already surprised by how much depth Dungeons of Hinterberg appears to have, even early on. I may have only just truly begun my stay, but the fact that I don't want to leave speaks volumes. I can't wait to see where Luisa's story goes and what other characters I'll meet when it releases on July 18. Who knew a holiday involving monster slaying could feel so fulfilling and even be quite relaxing at times? 

Dungeons of Hinterberg is set to release on PC and Xbox Series X/S on July 18, 2024. To see what else awaits us this year, check out our roundup of new games for 2024 and beyond. 

Heather Wald
Senior staff writer

I started out writing for the games section of a student-run website as an undergrad, and continued to write about games in my free time during retail and temp jobs for a number of years. Eventually, I earned an MA in magazine journalism at Cardiff University, and soon after got my first official role in the industry as a content editor for Stuff magazine. After writing about all things tech and games-related, I then did a brief stint as a freelancer before I landed my role as a staff writer here at GamesRadar+. Now I get to write features, previews, and reviews, and when I'm not doing that, you can usually find me lost in any one of the Dragon Age or Mass Effect games, tucking into another delightful indie, or drinking far too much tea for my own good.