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Dungeons Review (PC)

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Dungeons Box Art

Dungeons Box Art
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© Kalypso Media
Sometimes, don't you wish you could be evil? Wouldn't it be fun to take control of the evil one who thwarts heroes at every turn? Well the fantasy computer strategy game Dungeons does just that. In Dungeons players take control of a dungeon lord bent on regaining his former glory by conquering heroes who have entered his dungeon in search of treasure and fame. Dungeons can be a lot of fun and in the end gets more things right than wrong, but for as fun as the concept sounds the game can become a bit repetitive and frustrating in the fact that you don't have full control over everything in your dungeon.

Game Details

  • Title: Dungeons
  • Genre: Strategy
  • Theme: Fantasy
  • ESRB Rating: M for Mature
  • Publisher: Kalypso Medua
  • Developer: Realmforge
  • Game Modes: Single player only
  • Pros: Long single player campaign w/ 20 missions; Wide array of objects, traps and monsters to populate your dungeon;
  • Cons: Not enough control over minions; Game play can become repetitive; no multiplayer mode
The concept of Dungeons is not unique, in fact the game has many striking similarities with the Dungeon Keeper series which, like Dungeons, puts you in control of dungeon lord as you create and populate a dungeon to conquer the heroes and adventurers who enter. With that said, if you're looking for a spiritual successor to Dungeon Keeper, Dungeons is not that game, it is different enough to stand on its own and offer up some fun and challenging game play.

The story behind Dungeons fairly is simple, you assume the role of a dungeon lord who has been betrayed by his former girlfriend, named Calypso, who has seized control and banished you up to the top level. Now stuck in the role of a lowly dungeon lord, you slowly begin to plot for your revenge. Working with some minor minions you start the creation of your dungeon with some basic treasure so that when you open the doors, adventurers begin to wander in. Now the main concept in Dungeons that makes it different from Dungeon Keeper is the fact that the game focuses more on the heroes and luring them further into your dungeon rather than using your monsters to defeat them as quickly as you can.

Dungeons Screenshot

The dungeon lord battling a few heroes in one of the dungeons found in Dungeons.
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© Kalypso Media
Turns out that finishing off a hero too early in Dungeons can actually be counter productive, you want the heroes to come in and "have their fill" of your dungeon so to speak. Collecting treasure, discovering unique objects, tomes and other magical items satisfies a hero which in turn increases their Soul Energy. After exploring the dungeon for some time, heroes eventually max out their satisfaction or Soul Energy, after all how much treasure can one hero carry? It's at this time, when a hero's Soul Energy is maxed out, that you'll want to strike. Soul Energy is what you're ultimately after, once you've stolen the Soul Energy of a hero by defeating or capturing him, it is added to your pool and is used to purchase bigger and better things to populate your dungeons with. You have to be careful though, as once a hero has reached their maximum Soul Energy, he/she will begin to either look for a way out of your dungeon or journey deeper in search of your dungeon's heart. If heroes are able to find the dungeon heart they will attack it and if destroyed, they will defeat you along with it.
The luring of heroes into your dungeon and the collecting of Soul Energy works very well in Dungeons. It's fun having your minions dig out tunnels and rooms to then place objects, treasures and monsters in a game of cat and mouse you play with the heroes. However the fact that you want the adventuring heroes to survive in your dungeon long enough to build up their Soul Energy also brings in some limitations to the game and how much control you have over the dungeon. Monsters that you place throughout the dungeon never seem overly powerful or do enough damage to finish off a hero. Many times this means you, as dungeon lord, will be forced to fight and kill almost every hero that enters your dungeon. This can become a bit tedious and repetitive when you have multiple dungeon entrances with half a dozen heroes or more exploring all different parts of your dungeon.
Dungeons Screenshot

Strategic view of a dungeon, the dungeon lord will command minions to create new tunnels, place objects and summon monsters.
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© Kalypso Media
The dungeons themselves can become a bit repetitive as well, as you progress down the dungeon levels there's not a lot of distinction between previous levels except for more/different objects and maybe some more powerful heroes. You will encounter other dungeon lords as you make your way down the dungeon, you are looking to return to your former glory and position of power in the world of the dungeon lords so you will need to defeat them if you hope to win the game. This is an added challenge as you'll not only have to confront the other dungeon lords but also heroes who are adventuring. You'll also need to be aware of your dungeon heart and always ensure that it is not destroyed. Dungeons also includes some classic RPG style elements, as you advance through the game you'll obtain spells and skill points which can be used to upgrade your dungeon lord. Both skill points/spells help out in combat and give you some customization over the development of your dungeon lord.

Bottom Line

Dungeons does have its shortcomings, as mentioned before the game can get quite repetitive with having your dungeon lord race through the dungeon going after every hero. The game also lacks direct control over the monsters that you place and has missed out on a lot of potential by not having a multiplayer game mode. Overall though the game offers a fresh look and while the introductory level can be a bit confusing, if you're willing to put in the time and give the game a chance it's easy to learn and a fun gaming experience.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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