A hectic platforming sequence in Dungeon Munchies, which launched on Switch despite there being no Switch Early Access program

(Updated) Dev Ignores Switch Early Access Rule With Unfinished Game

January 3, 2022

By: Joseph Allen

 
 

Update January 6th 9:14AM - Dungeon Munchies publisher Chorus Worldwide has issued a statement addressing concerns that the Switch version of the game is incomplete...sort of. Here's the statement in full.

Chorus Worldwide and maJAJa are proud to have released Dungeon Munchies onto the Nintendo Switch and want to assure everyone that the game is a complete and finished version of the first 2 chapters of the story, which will ultimately conclude with an additional chapter (currently in development and scheduled for a mid-2022 release). When Chapter 3 is complete and ready to serve, it will be delivered to everyone as a free update.

The game’s Early Access status on Steam is a reflection of the full vision for the game being 3 chapters long, therefore continuing the story past the current two chapters, and also an opportunity for players to buy the game at a reduced price. Once the final chapter is out of the oven, the game will shed its Early Access status and retail at a higher price. Players who purchase the game – now on Nintendo Switch or on Steam, or very shortly on PlayStation and Xbox – will receive Chapter 3 free of charge.

As a small indie publisher and indie developer, everyone at Chorus Worldwide and maJAJa are grateful for the support the game’s received and we can’t wait to share the last chapter with everyone.

Frankly, this statement is...baffling. Essentially, Chorus is calling the Switch release of Dungeon Munchies a complete version of an incomplete game. The publisher makes no attempt to address the disparity between the Switch version, ostensibly a full release, and the Steam version, which is explicitly being called Early Access. Chorus says the Steam Early Access status is a reflection of "the full vision...being 3 chapters long", which further implies the Switch version is incomplete, despite there being no Early Access label on the eShop page, or any mention that the game is not a completed title. We've emailed Chorus to ask if there are any plans to amend the eShop to reflect that the third chapter is not included yet and will update as soon as we have more. Original story follows below.

 

Original story: An indie developer has released an unfinished game onto the Nintendo Switch eShop, presumably in an attempt to subvert the Switch Early Access rule. The game is still listed as being in Early Access on Steam, but has been released as a full game on Switch with no mention of being incomplete.

Why hasn't this game been released in Switch Early Access?

To put it simply, there is no Switch Early Access program, because Early Access games aren't allowed on the eShop. Despite this, it seems the developer of indie platformer Dungeon Munchies has managed to circumvent this rule. Dungeon Munchies was released on Switch in December last year, and as ResetEra user Rhaknar points out, the eShop page for the game gives no indication that it's in Early Access or any kind of unfinished state. However, Rhaknar says the game abruptly ends where another chapter should be.

 
 
A dialogue scene in Dungeon Munchies
Dungeon Munchies appears to be masquerading as a complete game on Switch, despite being unfinished on Steam.

This wouldn't normally be cause for concern, but a quick look at the Dungeon Munchies Steam page says the game is still in Early Access, with a new chapter and boss to launch in 2022. There's no difference in content between the Steam and Switch versions, other than the fact that the Switch version isn't listed as being in Early Access in any way. Of course, the Dungeon Munchies dev could say that the Switch version represents the finished product, but then one would have to ask why the Steam version still says it's in Early Access despite having the exact same amount of content as the Switch version.

Why has Dungeon Munchies been released for Switch as a finished game?

As the ResetEra user who pointed this discrepancy out theorizes, Dungeon Munchies could have been released for Switch "for a quick cash influx" just in time for the holiday season. In response to a user asking whether Dungeon Munchies is a full release on Switch, publisher Chorus Worldwide says it features the same two chapters as the Steam version, with a third on the way "when it's ready to serve". The publisher makes no attempt to address the point that the same game under an Early Access label on Steam is being sold as finished on Switch, although they do say the third chapter is coming to Switch at least.

 
 
A talking banana in Dungeon Munchies
That may be so, talking Dungeon Munchies banana, but that doesn't absolve you of this Steam-eShop crime.

Interestingly, the Nintendo developer terms and conditions don't explicitly forbid devs from doing this sort of thing. There is no Early Access program on Switch for developers to submit to, but there's also technically nothing stopping them from launching a game on the eShop without informing people that it's in Early Access elsewhere. Nintendo is well-known for its fervor when it comes to removing or banning games from the eShop; from rhythm games like Groove Coaster Wai Wai Groove Party through to high-profile efforts like Dying Light, games have been removed or banned for contravening the eShop guidelines.

It'll be interesting to see how, if at all, Nintendo responds to this situation, and what course of action Dungeon Munchies' developer and publisher decide to take as well. This is a somewhat unprecedented situation; it might be better to look at it as a loophole (which Nintendo is also pretty quick at addressing). We've contacted both the developers and publisher Chorus Worldwide for comment on this story and will bring you more as soon as we have it.

Do you think Dungeon Munchies' eShop listing should be altered? Let us know in the comments below!