06th Feb2014

‘Dungeon Keeper’ App Review

by Paul Metcalf


I guess the first thing I should say when I discuss Dungeon Keeper is that I’m a fan of the original game.  When I played the new version that EA has released for iOS and Android devices my review basically was “This is a good freemium game, but it’s not Dungeon Keeper.”  So that is my starting position in this whole argument.  I don’t think the new Dungeon Keeper is a bad game at all, but it just wants to take all your money.

I wasn’t actually going to write anything about this but then I read the defence of the game and the tactics used to get the “5 star” rating for the game which is used for its defence and while my initial impressions of the game don’t change, I don’t like the defence being provided.  The fact is the Dungeon Keeper we have now does not give the experience of the original game, not even a taste.

In the original game at the start of the level you had to get your imps and start digging the walls to make space for rooms and to collect resources such as gold.  The more imps you collected and the more you abused them the harder they would work.  In a short space of time some other Dungeon Keeper would send his hoards against you and you would have to defend yourself, or you would dig your way into their dungeon and have to fight.  The game was fun and the pace was good, with the remake things have changed.

Initially starting the game things don’t seem that bad.  You have your heart of the dungeon, some chickens and you magic up some imps to do your bidding.  Through the tutorial you dig some blocks and build some rooms and then go through your initial battle with another Dungeon Keeper, this is all good but you do get that feeling that you’ll be paying money into the game pretty soon.  This being a freemium game that is a fair assumption really.

Getting past the tutorial and making your way into the game the first thing you’ll do is to start digging again so that you can make new rooms, this is where the problems start.  The first blocks take a few minutes to dig through, then suddenly its a few hours…then the days hit.  The way to get through these blocks easier? Spend some gems.  These gems are rare and are the premium currency that you need to top up with mini-transactions.  Is this a bad thing? Well seen as the game is free really it’s not.  The problem is that you use the gems up so fast that in no time you’ll either have to pay real money into the game or be waiting over a day to get something done.

I can understand the idea that “mobile games” are meant to be played in small chunks and some gamers may want to do something small then leave the game for a while, that is fine.  Does Dungeon Keeper fit into this model? The simple answer is no, which is why you’ll end up paying money into the game.  This is why I can understand why many fans aren’t impressed with the stance of Electronic Arts in this matter.

So my thoughts on the Dungeon Keeper issue? It’s not a 5-star game, maybe a 3-star game for people who don’t mind micro-transactions.  For fans of the original Dungeon Keeper, don’t go into it believing that is the game that you are going to get because it’s not.  Maybe the basic concept is there hidden under the payment system but the fact is Dungeon Keeper was a strategy game that played at a constant pace and didn’t take days to complete tasks.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek.com

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