Dungeons - game review

Author: ElMundo
Date: 2011-07-15 14:29:00
The review was based on the PC version.

Since the time of the second Dungeon Keeper, it is in vain to look for a production that would equally successfully show that it is fun to be evil, while serving a horse's dose of crazy, and often even absurd humor. Lots of hopes were placed on Dungeons - a game full of references to the classics, which was to achieve success thanks to its original themes and the use of many original solutions, guaranteeing an interesting and varied gameplay. Unfortunately, the final effect is not overwhelming, and the student not only did not surpass the master, but did not even manage to make any meaningful competition with him.

Contrary to appearances, a lot is happening in the deep underground - the throne of the dungeon guardian is a hot and very desirable chair, as our hero learns painfully. The evil lord's favorite pastime is devising more evil plans to expand his territory and letting unsuspecting adventurers into raspberries. Unfortunately for him, not only does he deal with various conspiracies - the Lord falls into a web of intrigues behind which his ex-fiancée, Calypso, is forced to step down from the throne. This is not the end of the unpleasant consequences - the current lord of the dungeon is deprived of his privileges and the ability to decide on the most important matters of the underground kingdom, which does not correspond to the exaggerated ambitions of the evil guardian. Our task is, of course, to rebuild the hero's impaired reputation and hit the top of the underground hierarchy again.

The basis of our dark activity is the diligent care of the dungeons and their guests in such a way that they bring appropriate profits and prestige. However, it is not about running a holiday resort, although stubbornly one can say that there is even something to it. Our estates are visited from time to time by adventurers, hungry for blood, unusual experiences and, above all, huge treasures. However, no hero will be interested in visiting if the space does not turn out to be attractive and diverse enough. At this point, we activate our design skills - we leave chests with gold in the right places, dig corridors and place various interesting items in them that affect our prestige. In addition, our task is to carefully place pentagrams - the seats of monsters, increasing the sphere of our influence in the dungeons.

Our actions are practically focused on one goal only - we have to persuade heroes to see what they can, collect tons of treasures and ... bring us as many profits as possible. According to the proverb: "Whoever gives and takes away, the one who gives and takes away in hell," it is not appropriate for us to let our guests out with their hands full - before they leave our property, we pacify them, throw them into their cells and take our property. In addition to the return of gold to our treasury, from the heroes we also receive much-needed supplies of Soul Energy - a spiritual currency that can be exchanged for items that increase prestige.

Dungeons, however, is not a pure strategy game - we can also find a lot of RPG elements here, mainly related to the character. We are responsible for developing the qualities of the evil lord, assigning him experience points gained during confrontation with heroes, and for acquiring new skills and spells that we use during battles. The combat system itself is not particularly complicated - our hero automatically hits the enemies, and we just have to watch the health bar and use spells and special attacks if necessary. The most important element in the game turns out to be Dungeonheart - the heart that allows the Lord to be resurrected in the event of death. However, its durability is limited, so you should take care of its condition - destroying the artifact ends the game.

Despite the apparent expansion and a few nice patents, the game already after a few dozen minutes shows that in the later stages of the game we will not find anything new here. Dungeons reveal all the cards right at the very beginning - given that there are seventeen missions waiting for us in the single player campaign, playing one and the same for the next several hours doesn't seem like a very appealing prospect. This title kills the total schematic - you can actually complete the entire storyline using a few ready-made solutions that ensure the final success. The gameplay may be interesting only during the first few scenarios - then the farther, the more boring, and the subsequent forced side tasks irritate more than encourage the game.

Designing dungeons is also a heavy piece of bread - the developers did not foresee that the concept of the appearance of our estates could change and did not add the option of backfilling already hollow tunnels. And so, in order to put our ideas into practice, we dig, we dig and we dig ourselves endlessly, creating a chaotic network of corridors in which we cannot come up with anything meaningful anymore.

There is also a lack of options to hire charges who can help in dealing with the newcomers. Yes, we have monsters around the pentagrams, but their value on the battlefield is negligible. So there are situations in which we ourselves have to chase after the treasure hunters before they leave the dark depths with the loot. If we choose to devote ourselves to other issues, the heart that protects our existence can turn into a ticking time bomb.

Dungeons , however, are primarily technically underdeveloped items. The program has regular problems with completing missions and correct reading of saved game states. More than once I had to repeat the end of the scenario, launching the last save, so that I would graciously unlock new tasks. If you have the Steam version, forget about the fact that the Polish edition will recognize your records - there is no such possibility. Due to the oversight of the creators, the game pays an additional fee, because cutting into a production filled with tiny omissions is extremely annoying. I don't want to imagine what this game looked like before it was solidly patched, as the list of patches displayed before Dungeons launch can be scrolled endlessly.

The visual setting is also poor - the game looks as if it was finished a few years ago, thrown into a drawer and suddenly six months ago someone remembered about its existence. Both the dungeon maps and the unit models are just plain ugly. Pixelosis and an accumulation of bright colors strike the screen, and the whole picture is completed with a completely unreadable font describing the cries of the hero and heroes. The animation is very messy, which is best shown in the cutscenes with our advisor, which look really ugly. The humor, which is supposed to distinguish this production among the deluge of fantasy strategies, also fails - jokes turn out to be shallow and bland, and the situations in which a smile appeared on my face can be counted on the fingers of one hand. The game also does not offer a multiplayer mode - fortunately, it is partially rewarded by a long solo campaign and the possibility of playing on randomly generated maps.

Dungeons is a production whose chance for any success was killed by errors in the technical and visual sphere. So what if the gameplay at times gives a lot of satisfaction - especially in the initial parts of the game - since the sloppy programmers make it impossible to enjoy it, and the graphics look as if the game came out six or seven years ago. This is an average title, at best, although the rules of the game and the story presented in it are frontal. The ideas, however, were sufficient for up to three hours, and the dose of deadly monotony applied in some moments can kill even the most unrepentant player. It is not a tragic game, but with such content, without multiplayer and with a boring campaign, it simply wastes our time.

Amadeusz "ElMundo" Cyganek