DUNGEONS

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DUNGEONS on Steam (demo available)

MSRP: $14.99 (base game) / $29.99 (gold edition)

Platform: Windows

Release: 2/10/11


DUNGEONS is an oddball strategy/RPG hybrid in which you play as the Dungeon Lord, luring intrepid heroes to their death – or at least to a lifetime of sucking the soul energy out of them in prison. It feels (loosely) inspired by the 1997 Bullfrog game, Dungeon Keeper, and I like that it doesn’t take itself all that seriously.  However, for me, it’s lacking in a lot of ways.

The control scheme is awkward – the first campaign level starts you off with WASD movement, except the mouse doesn’t turn the camera – the Q & E keys do, something I might not have figured out if I were more adept at WASD movement and a little less fat-fingered. Then, suddenly, you cast a spell & change the view, and it become click-to-move, but without telling you that the control scheme is changing.  And this is in what passes for a tutorial.

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I bumbled my way to a couple of victory screens in the makeshift tutorial.  Then, my little minion tells me to release the goblin from prison.  I’m not even going to be embarrassed to tell you – I can’t get that little bugger out, and I’ve very nearly killed him trying.  Everything is right click, except apparently this is not. I can’t find a door or a lever or anything. That poor little dude is stuck in that cell, and really, you can’t keep going without goblins because your dungeon lord (and his minion) are too good for digging apparently.

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I even tried pulling up the manual, which is available in PDF format on Steam, but I could find no solution to the goblin dilemma, and my patience was already thin from control issues, so I put it to rest.

I really wanted to love this game.  I’m down for a good amount of camp, and generally speaking, I enjoy be-the-bad-guy strategy games.  However, all my time with DUNGEONS made me want to do is reload Dungeon Keeper and try to fall in love with that all over again despite the very very very dated visuals.

Another thing to note is that this game requires a serial code input and a Kalypso Media account.  My serial code worked without incident, but there are many complaints on Steam about folks having issues with “Serial Code Already In Use”. Common consensus seems to be that the sequel, DUNGEONS II, is a far better game, so it might be better just to skip this one entirely.

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