Dungeons – The Dark Lord is an overhead dungeon digging, operating, micro managing game with most of the emphasis on micromanaging instead of digging. On the surface it looks pretty much like the old Dungeon Keeper series games. However, in the 3 dungeon 2 hour tutorial, you’ll learn its about ‘entertaining’ heroes that invade your dungeon and then killing them for their soul points or whatever. The heroes are attracted to certain things. Some want gold, so you need to let them collect gold before you kill them. Others look for armor and weapons from your forge, invading magicians look for your library. Still other heroes look for combat, to either take punnishment or dish it out. Thieves will come to disarm traps. It is all about making them happy to enrich their soul. So you can kill them, have your imps… I mean goblins take them to a prison where they can die. You can also torture them for bonus soul points!
With soul points you can buy things to make your dungeon more prestiegous to bait heroes in certain directions. The more prestiege you have, the wider your reach. The wider reach helps cut into rival dungeon keeper territory in multi player. You can also use soul points to level up your character’s skills and magic, but really, you’re pretty overpowered even if you do not upgrade anything.
Like Dungeon Keeper, you have a dungeon heart. If it dies, you lose the game. This will happen in multi-player, but not the solo campaign. Everything is like Dungeon Keeper, but without charm and it all seems like so much work. Keep a hero happy then kill him. That’s a new level of micro management I don’t care to get into. Plus the voice acting is terrible to bad if not annoying ‘A hero is about to leave your dungeon with a smile on his face,’ says an imp… I mean goblin in a dreadful voice.
The first dungeon of the tutorial just lets you guide your character through combat and its an easy 20 minutes. Very misleading as to what the game is. The game doesn’t really show you what its about until 30 minutes into the tutorial and then its actually interesting. You put things into empty rooms instead of building rooms like Dungeon Keeper. A forge becomes a forge, because you put forge equipment in there, not because you insta-make it with a forge room like Dungeon Keeper. Again, its micro management to a higher level. Everything you put in a room has a use, such as quality, efficiency and speed. The heroes will keep coming, they don’t stop so like a factory your goblins need to be quick and churn things out before a hero comes looking for a book, but because the last hero took a book, there are no more books, so that hero wanders through your dungeon, wondering where are the books? And there are no soul points when your creatures kill him.
So its all for soul points. Who cares? Get more soul points to get more stuff? Its good for competitive multi-player, but that’s not how I want to spend my time. While this game looks like Dungeon Keeper, and plays totally different, I’d much rather play Dungeon Keeper 2 with all of its charm and great voice acting. A lot of the ideas and mechanics in Dungeons: The Dark Lord are good, but its just too much micromanagement for me.
I’d rather dig, explore and send waves of minions invading after heroes.