I have played many games over the years, but there are very few that I keep going back to play over and over. Dungeon Keeper released all the way back in 1997 by the now defunct Bullfrog games is definitely one of those games. For many of us, we spent countless nights on our own in front of the computer screen slapping our imps. (What? Dungeon Keeper has imps and you can slap them.)
So imagine my joy when I discovered that Dungeon Keeper has been released as a mobile game by Electronic Arts. Then imagine my disappointment to find out that all the enjoyment of the original game had been sucked out and replaced with a heart-wrenching gaming void that’s little more than a thinly-veiled way for Electronic Arts to make cash.
So, what is Dungeon Keeper?
In Dungeon Keeper you played the keeper of a dungeon (with me so far?) you dug out your dungeon to build rooms, lured and trained creatures, cast spells and destroyed any foolish kind-hearted adventurers that tried to steal your gold. It’s a strategic dream. I’ve tracked down a video below, just to give you an idea. Ignore the graphics, they are 15 years old and focus on the dungeon keeping greatness.
Now, look at the trailer for the new mobile game below. Look how shiny and attractive it is. Look how it portrays itself as the graphically upgraded and portable Dungeon Keeper.
To be fair to it, many of the things that are in the original Dungeon keeper and even its sequel Dungeon Keeper 2 are in the game. You can still dig out your dungeon, make rooms, summon monsters, slap imps, turn people into chickens, and cast spells. Unfortunately the game suffers from a few major drawbacks that severely hinder the enjoyment of the game and they feel like they’re only there so EA can make a bit more cash.
1. The Imps.
I’ve mentioned them before, but here are Dungeon Keeper Imps.
Happy little fellows, aren’t they? Imps are the workers of your dungeon they will knock down walls, fetch gold, upgrade rooms etc. Without them your dungeon cannot grow, they are pretty darn important.
So important that EA gives you two imps. That’s right two whole imps to build your entire dungeon, if you wish to buy more you either have to save all your gems up for an impossibly long time or use real currency to buy them. In short your dungeon cannot grow unless you spend real money.
Ah, but you already have two imps. I remember Dungeon keeper it doesn’t take them a long time to do anything.
Well, that brings me on to point 2.
Nearly everything you can do takes a long time. If you want to knock down a dirt wall, then it’s a matter of seconds, but a gem wall takes hours, upgrading a room takes hours. Nearly everything you have to do takes an abominably long time. Twin this with the fact that you only have two imps and things drag on for even longer.
Of course, if you don’t want to wait you always have the option of speeding up the build which takes gems or buying more imps to do more things at once. Gems aren’t free of course. There’s more money going to Electronic Arts.
This doesn’t bug me as much as the first two points but it’s just another nail in the ‘why this game frigging annoys me’ coffin. You build yourself up a nice little army of trolls, skeletons, warlocks and send them off to do battle with other dungeons. Do you know how many of them make back? None of them whatsoever. No matter how successful the fight, all the people you send there, disappear, wander off into the ether, presumably just so you have all the joy of spending time gathering them up again.
Maybe I wouldn’t be so vehemently against this game if I don’t still love the original two. Then again Electronic Arts have not made this game easy to play, if you want to do anything well in this game, be ready to wait for an age, or throw endless amounts of money into the game buying gems.
There are plenty of other mobile games on the market that are still playable with in-game purchases being nothing more than optional. Honestly, I’m surprised you don’t have to enter your credit card details just to log on.
Thanks EA, you’ve turned Dungeon Keeper into nothing more than a demonic cash-cow.