When it comes to dungeon-building games, the game that comes into everyone’s mind is the classic Dungeon Keeper, a real-time strategy game in which you build your ultimate underground fair to control the evil forces and fight against the other factions. Since Dungeon Keeper didn’t get anything new to the series, a series named Dungeons pays homage to Dungeon Keeper to release Dungeons 4. A highly inspired by the original Dungeon Keeper game with some new additions for players to experience the newly designed world and story.
Dungeons 4 is a real-time strategy simulation game developed by Realmforge Studios and published by Kalypso Media Digital Ltd. The game offers both underground and overworld to the players to turn them into evil horror by building up the ultimate dungeon for the creatures to attack and overtake the overworld from the Good. This is our review of Dungeons 4.
The story for Dungeons 4 is straightforward and nothing too complicated. You will take the role of Thalya, a returning evil fantasy character from the previous title of the series who is stepping against her step-brother, Tristan. The game starts with a cutscene of Thalya killing her father, Tanos while the Narrator tells the whole plot with a few failing jokes but not awkward. Thalya marches forward toward her step-brother to kill him to take the throne for herself but ends up getting caught by Tristan and sent to the dungeon. Thalya must repossess her power and get creatures to help her defeat Tristan to take the throne.
Dungeons 4 keeps the classic gameplay of Dungeon Keeper and allows you to build an Evil Fortress by ordering the Snots using the Hand of Evil. The Snots are miners in the dungeon who will help mine the dungeon to locate various resources such as Gold and Mana used for various research and spells. Researching various factions will get you access to Horde, Demons, and Undead who are the main creatures that will help you take down the heroes and dwarves to earn you Evilness, a much-needed resource in Dungeons 4, and destroy their camps to spread the Evil Corruption.
The game begins with Thalya going after Tristan in the overworld and you will get to free creatures from the cells who will join you in your evil redemption. As you free more creatures and welcome them to Thalya’s rebellion, a boss fight against Tristan will take place from which Tristan will flee but trick Thalya into capturing her and sending her underground. This is where you will get to test the different mechanics as the basic gameplay controls are different both in the dungeon and the overworld.
Use the casual controls of building games to move around the dungeon area and select the tiles to order Snots to start mining. As you control the Hand of Evil, you will have the advantage of slapping the Snots to increase their speed but you have to be cautious as slapping them more than 2 – 3 times can kill them. Advance them to find Gold Veins in the dungeon as it is the most crucial and repetitive thing that you have to do in every mission. As Snots mine the Gold Veins, build the Treasury Rooms around the Gold Veins to store and use the Gold. All of the important resources require a specific room to be stored in for usage so, you must research the rooms from the Research Menu.
The Research Menu is used for unlocking all kinds of rooms, doors, traps, spells, and most importantly creatures. Several kinds of rooms can be researched and leveled up through the Research Menu using the Gold and Evilness. You must unlock and place all of the rooms around your settlement to gain certain bonuses and don’t forget to place doors at the entrance of each room as it increases their efficiency. Researching the Dungeon faction gives you access to various rooms and traps that are necessary for providing for the creatures and stopping any trespassers in your dungeon.
Traps can be built and placed around the dungeon to stop the dwarves and heroes from entering your settlement. There are different types of traps that you can build and place using the Gold and Toolboxes. Toolboxes are made in the Create-O-Map machines that can only be built in the Workshop or you can get them from using the spells but at a certain cost of Mana. For the creatures, you need to place a Hideout and a Gobbler Farm from them as they need a place for resting, healing, and eating. Creatures love Gobblers and they will come to the Gobbler Farm now and then to fill up their hunger and often go to their bunks to rest.
As you are done digging through the mine and providing for your creatures to keep them healthy, you will eventually find a way up to the overworld where you can begin the overworld experience to spread the corruption. Each chapter in Dungeons 4 starts from the dungeon that you need to build up according to the creatures you have access to and make your way to the overworld to expand the Evil Corruption and take down Tristan.
Visuals and Sound Design
The visuals of the characters and the overworld are a step ahead of the previous titles of the Dungeons series as the spreading of Corruption feels more lively. The overall detailing of the overworld and the dungeon is crispier due to vibrant colors which makes the understanding of the world better. All of the elements in the overworld and the dungeon are easy to read which makes the dungeon-building experience more exquisite.
The sound design of Dungeons 4 is surely not for everyone as not everyone can listen to the evil theme as the fight prolongs but the casual music that plays while building the dungeon is far better. Listening to the same two themes can become repetitive and can lead to turning down the music volume but at least it has the option for the ones who are not looking to enjoy it with evil music.
The voice acting for the characters and the Narrator is decent but not spectacular as many failing jokes will make you not listen to the whole dialogue at all but sometimes it is funny at least to some extent. It feels like they are trying hard to land the jokes but failed miserably and the references to other studios and organizations are also somewhat stale.
Verdict – Score 8/10
Dungeons 4 is a great game for enjoying the classic dungeon-building experience as the Dungeon Keeper but if you are someone who is joining in for the story then it will not make a good impact on you as the story is pretty basic and stale. However, if you want to get the experience of the classic Dungeon Keeper then Dungeons 4 will be the best experience that you can get currently as it provides all the main mechanics along with additional mechanics that delve well with the gameplay.
Dungeons 4 is now available on PC, PlayStation 5 and XBOX Series X|S.