Developer: Mythic Entertainment
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0.51
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

I’m sure the fact that I haven’t given this game a score Captain James Hook could count to on his bad hand will earn me a fair bit of scorn, but hear me out. While Dungeon Keeper isn’t the same game that’s been a permanent fixture on my Top 10 list for years, it is a decent freemium title that happens to incorporate the theme from one of my favorite games. And honestly, that ain’t half bad.

dungeonkeeper08This Dungeon Keeper follows a structure similar to the often-imitated Clash of Clans. Players assume the role of the Keeper and immediately begin ordering their imps to hollow out areas to use for various rooms. Every room, trap, and door takes up a specific amount of space that needs to be cleared out in advance, but once they’re built players are free to move them around as they please – so long as they can fit. They can also use their dungeon heart to summon more minions, with different rooms allowing for different creatures.

Excavating, building, summoning, and collecting resources (Gold, Stone, and Gems) is only half the battle. Players will also take part in Raids that include a series of story missions, special limited-time events, and attacking other players. Certain rooms function in a manner not unlike towers from a tower defense game, and different creatures have different strengths, weaknesses, and attack preferences, so a dungeon’s layout and population can be extremely important.

What’s really impresses me are all the little design elements that make playing Dungeon Keeper significantly less painful than I’d feared. A third imp can be saved up for and bought using gems (premium currency) fairly quickly and helps to move construction along. Imps can also be slapped to boost their efficiency for a limited time. Refilling excavated tiles is instantaneous and totally free, which is great because there will be mis-taps. Even being attacked by other players isn’t so bad because it makes one’s dungeon impervious for a bit.

dungeonkeeper09But as I’ve said, this is a freemium game, and as such Dungeon Keeper incorporates certain elements that players might not enjoy. Digging out individual tiles takes time that can stretch from a few seconds 24 hours depending on the terrain. Creatures take a certain amount of gold and time to summon. Resources also require real time to build up. Honestly, it’s the kind of stuff one should expect when playing a freemium sim.

To reiterate: I love the original games immensely. But when I dove into this version I was expecting a freemium sim, and that’s exactly what I got. In fact it was better than I expected thanks to some clever tweaks to the standard formula and a theme that fits surprisingly well. It’s totally not a portable Dungeon Keeper, but it is an enjoyable freemium sim.

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