A wise man once said “It feels so good to be so bad.” Actually, that was said by perennial ’80s cartoon villain Shredder, and he wasn’t really very wise at all. Still, the man had a point.
Fortunately, he’s not the one who guides you through the process of becoming an evil demonic overlord who rules over his very own dungeon while laying siege to others. For that, you have a rather charming Satan expy who speaks with all the charm of the Beast Wars version of Megatron. And it’s largely this charm, along with other humorous touches such as swiping the touchscreen to slap your impish minions to motivate them to work faster, that makes this game fun to play. In fact, slapping one is the very first action you perform to begin the game, which definitely sets the tone from the outset.
Gameplay-wise, you might expect a simple update of Peter Molyneux’s classic 1997 version of this same game, but that’s not quite the case. Some core tenets remain in place, such as acquiring a dungeon in which to hang your hat and renovate to your evil heart’s desire. This includes digging away at rock for resources, building new rooms with different purposes, and sending a band of trolls or skeletons off to invade some other sap’s home to plunder their resources.
Of course, you’ll not be the only one invading, as you’ll occasionally find yourself with uninvited guests of your very own who seek to destroy the heart of your dungeon. By coordinating entrances, digging out specific routes, and setting traps such as spikes, arrow launchers, buzzsaws, and fire, they’ll soon get the picture, tower-defense style.
The big difference over the original is the free-to-play factor. Of course, as we all know by now, “free-to-play” really just means “oh, you can play for free, but…”. In this case, the “but” mainly boils down to time. The earliest instances you’ll come across pretty much set the bar, as you’ll find there is plenty of rock that your minions can chip through in mere seconds, but once you come to the point that you’ll open up a new room? You’re faced with the choice between a four-hour wait or paying the game’s hard currency, Gems, in order to simply be done with it. Depending on how quickly you want to progress or how long you intend to play the game each time, how this affects you personally will vary.
For those interested in being evil BFFs with someone, there are options for forming guilds so that resources, minions, exclusive guild achievements, and evil laughter can all be shared. Conversely, if the relationship sours, there is also the option of pitting your wicked best against someone else.
Fans of the original may be turned off by the more pay-motivated trappings of this iteration, but if you’re unfamiliar with the source material and are okay with games that employ this manner of capitalism, then it’s actually not too bad. If you’re looking to sink several hours into this in a single sitting, then you might be better off digging up the original on GoG.com. If you’re content with using it to kill a bit of time here and there, then you’ll find an enjoyable enough experience here.