Dungeon Keeper Review

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.

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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.

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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.

22 thoughts on “Dungeon Keeper Review

  1. “The big difference over the original is the free-to-play factor”.

    Well. The original game is a mission-based game, where you need to build a new lair from scratch each time, before the “good guys” attack you. This is a ripoff of Clash of Clans where you are upgrading a persistent base and you attack and are attacked by other “evil guys”.

    You have the same characters, but it’s a completely different game. Another opportunistic use of an old (and awesome) IP.

  2. “A well-made mobile update of a classic”, is that right? It seems you’re content with waiting 24 hours for basic progress in a real-time strategy game, while you sit behind a paywall hindered in every necessary facet. The very notion sickens me, and to think that this is where the future of gaming is headed. This isn’t a game, this is an experiment testing how far it can squeeze it’s customers dry of their money.

    If you have any respect for yourself, scorn this “game” and anyone who supports it.

  3. that’s it. I’m out of here.
    I really appreciated you when there was your App on the store, alerting me on sales and new games.
    But with this review you really sold your soul to the devil.
    I hope they paid you well. goodbye.

    • Um where is your proof that this is paid?
      Hopefully your proof goes beyond having a different opinion. Oh and this site also founded OATS so…

  4. Obviously not everyone will agree with every review we post. Reviews reflect the opinions of our writers, and we try to explain the reasons for our opinions as best we can in the text of the review. As always, we encourage readers to chime in with their thoughts in the comments section, and we appreciate that you take the time to do so.

    However, we don’t get money from any game maker for anything we post. Our writer liked a game that you didn’t like. That’s it.

    • I’m not usually one to say that someone’s taste is bad but…well, you see where I’m going here.

      You are supposed to be professional gaming journalists and we expect you to act like that, calling out companies like EA for using bullshit F2P tactics that make a game utterly frustrating and nigh-on unplayable in order to coax gullible punters into shelling out cash to do even the simplest of tasks.

      That is not gaming, it is gambling.

      Hell, even calling it ‘gambling’ is generous. At least when gambling, you have a chance (however minuscule) of a substantial monetary return. Here? Nope. You simply unlock the ability to play the game at a decent pace (and, even then, it’s still a crippled experience compared to the original).

      Keep in mind, I’m totally okay with F2P gaming, so long as the gaming experience isn’t crippled due to shady tactics to try and weasel you out of your money. For example, ‘Jetpack Joyride’ has given me hours upon hours of fun, without my having to spend a cent. It offers a very enjoyable gaming experience and I at no time feel like I *have* to pay in order to do well at it.

      You, and other publications like you, should be ashamed at encouraging what EA are doing.

    • yeah im gonna call BS on that “not makeing money” malarkey, someone got paid by EA, perhaps not you STP_Chris, but someone did

    • ” Our writer liked a game that you didn’t like”

      No. Your ‘writer’ liked a game that was so terrible and unplayable it has sparked
      one of the biggest consumer outcries for a portable title I’ve ever
      seen.

      This is not a matter of opinion. The game is broken. 3/4 is either deliberately misleading or horribly, woefully, laughably incompetent to the point where the person responsible for this should physically be restrained from writing more reviews.

      This is why people think games ‘journalists’ are a joke. Your outlet has
      ignored flagrant misuse of a micro-transactions system and taken the
      cowards way out. You need to have a good long look at your editorial
      standards for this review not to be pointed out as proof you are an
      outlet who’s opinion is beyond worthless. Your reviewer could not have reached this conslusion and played the game for any length of time.

      Rubber-stamping this game 3/4 a shameful disservice to your readers and it makes you look like a bunch of clueless hacks.

    • A professional reviewer should be rating a game not on how much they liked it, but on how much they believe their AUDIENCE will like it. That’s why they’re reviewing something in the first place.

      This requires some actual critical deconstruction of the game being reviewed, not a shoddy summary of each component, and your personal feelings have little place there.

      This review is straight up awful and should not be trusted.

    • “Our writer liked a game that you didn’t like. That’s it.”
      Your writer should take his audience into account otherwise his opinion is utterly useless at best.

  5. Baldur’s Gate II includes new characters, new quests, and the expansion on the PC, all for the asking price. Your site gives it a 2, which is fine, maybe the game is hard to control. But COME ON. This game takes the original, turns it into the worst F2P model I’ve experienced, and then criticizes you for not using it. But the graphics are nice! It’s free! I can not believe any one that enjoys gaming as a medium would encourage people to buy this or encourage developers to turn this way. Your site redesign was annoying, but this is the review that’s going to make sure I won’t return.

  6. @David Oxford: You should be ashamed of yourself. I don’t believe you were paid, I think you’re just lazy and didn’t bother to play the game and instead looked at some screenshots and checked the Dungeon Keeper wiki.

  7. Truly a pay to win and pay to wait abomination that sullies a formerly good brand. EA truly is the scum of the gaming universe, and Slide To Play has badly let down it’s readers with this fawning review.

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