Dungeons Hands-On - Dungeon Building

We spend some quality time crafting dungeons and luring unsuspecting heroes to their profitable demise.

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The art of dungeoneering has gone unappreciated in the realm of PC gaming for far too long. Long past are the glory days of Dungeon Keeper and its kin. Developer Kalypso is looking to fix that with the simply titled Dungeons. This latest dungeon-building strategy game doesn't put you in the shoes of an intrepid adventurer but rather a maniacal fiend who uses his vast engineering prowess to craft treacherous passageways too tempting for explorers to pass up. But in the end, their greed will get the better of them, and you shall reap the rewards.

Poorly laid-out dungeons will lead the heroes straight to your dungeon heart--and your defeat.

At the center of it all is your dungeon heart. This is the life force of your personal labyrinth. If you lose it, all of your hard work turns to rubble. From here, you command a (tiny) army of goblin workers to start carving out rooms, corridors, and winding passageways from the earth. In the beginning, you may queue up two or three football fields' worth of rooms to mine, and then you wait--and scheme.

Once you have a space you're satisfied with--which you'd better be because the earth you dig out can't be replaced--you can begin the truly diabolical task of interior design. While it is important for any proper dungeon to be decked out with skull racks and candelabras aplenty, these abyssal aesthetics also provide you with prestige points--one of the three resources in Dungeons. Additional prestige unlocks additional items, such as monsters, prisons, and giant chests of gold for your unfortunate heroes to stumble upon.

And that's where the real money lies…in harvesting heroes. The entire goal of Dungeons is to provide your visitors with all manner of worldly delights; to dazzle their minds and line their pockets until they can consume no more. An adventurer may crave gold, equipment, knowledge, or even pain. Then, after you've graciously allowed them to drink their fill, you cut them down in their prime and reap their sweet soul energy, which is another valuable resource that is generated by their gluttony.

Dungeons harks back to afternoons lost between the pages of Dungeons and Dragons and a stack of graph paper--the joys of creation, with a deliciously sinister twist. From the moment foolish heroes set foot within your dungeon, you want their entire existence accounted for--from what they see to how they'll die. However, construction starts at the end of your dungeon, the heart, and you cannot furnish an area too far from it without first dropping a monster-spawning pentagram. As we furnished rooms, unlocked new items, and dug our way toward one of the hero-spawning gates in the levels we played, we occasionally got the feeling of working in reverse, since we were required to place our weakest items at the mission-critical heart of the dungeon, while the biggest and baddest accouterments became available only when we reached the hero's gate, which acts as an entrance. Then again, Dungeons will not only come with a single-player campaign; it'll also offer a free-form sandbox mode that will hopefully give you a lot more freedom to tinker with your domain as you see fit.

Once a hero gate is open, your attentions are split between monitoring the soul energy levels of your guests and spending all the currency they provide. Heroes are simple creatures and will slowly make their way through your dungeon, stopping to cower at the scenery, fight a monster, or collect a bit of loot. When they encounter a foe, they will slowly enter into battle and finally land the killing blow around the time that the next enemy spawns. If you put too many pentagrams in the same area, your heroes will stay busy--and unhappy--for a long while.

Once they bumble their way through your armories, libraries, and glistening piles of gold, the soul energy of your heroes will be reaching peak capacity. This is the time to strike. If you wait too long, your prey will magically escape from your dungeon--denying you of its spoils. And while your local monsters may be up to the task, chances are when it comes time to harvest the crops, you'll need to call in your avatar--a fiendish-looking rapscallion in red armor--and engage them personally.

You can level up your avatar and customize his skills, such as strength and intelligence, as well as his attributes. Some attributes afford you discounts on items for your dungeon or improve existing items, while others offer more direct benefits, such as fireballs and increased stamina. Combat is light and simple: Approach the enemy, toast the enemy, repeat. The real satisfaction comes afterward. Once defeated, a fallen hero provides a sample of his soul energy. But to get all of it, he'll need to be hauled off to one of your torture chambers to be processed first.

Heroes will attack your hardworking goblins, which can be annoying when they're trying to expand or refill a gold pile.

These adventures were never meant to have a happy ending--not for the heroes anyway. With only monsters and our avatar to dispatch do-gooders, however, our destructive options felt limited. The planned addition of traps should add a bit more sinister spice. Full of creative potential and plenty of sadistic fun, Dungeons is one to keep an eye on when it is released this February.

Discussion

45 comments
shnull
shnull

@grayzer ofc not, its not where you take things from , its where you take them to :)

Shawndox
Shawndox

Check the user score. How can you folks judge it already when it's not released yet? Just wait until the reviews roll in or someone loads up videos on Youtube. Then you can figure out if it's worth it or not.

alvaroludolf
alvaroludolf

I was eager to play a next DK but ended up with the next The Sims... not a bad game, just not what i expected... or liked...

dark_sith_
dark_sith_

Luckluster attempt at copying DK, and it fails big time. No AI for your minions whatsoever. They don't move away from their stupid pentagrams and you can't order them to neither. If you wish to play an interesting dungeon game go back to DK2 or Evil Genius.

topsemag55
topsemag55

@Rapidbunny69 you can pre-order this game at GamersGate.

dark4one
dark4one

pure fail as a dungeon keeper successor, no creature ai ( only goblins and "heroes" roam the dungeon ), no rooms, the decorate your dungeon for prestige is pure crap ( if i wanted that ill go play spore or sims ) other than that this looks like a great game that tries so hard to copy dk and overlord and ends up failing at almost every thing

Riceball_1
Riceball_1

Seems a bit light on for a full game

LEXIP-
LEXIP-

@ allejo2. You're right, on the other hand, they would make so much money by simple releasing a half-bugged game that they should put the extra sweat on that job !

Maleficus-lupus
Maleficus-lupus

I hope this has dark msitresses like dungon keeper 2

KOBE23IVAN
KOBE23IVAN

hero #1: oh look a shiny armor, i bet its worth a lot... hero #2: yeah, and we need better equipment LOL... hero #1: omg this armo... *slash* head rolling over to hero #2... scary laughter from the darkness :D !!! hero #2: oh crap...

Floymin
Floymin

Working in reverse? Placing weak items near the heart and strong ones near the heroes? That particular directive sounds disappointing. To get the most energy, shouldn't leveling be in the hero's favor as well as the Keeper's?

Rapidbunny69
Rapidbunny69

How can I pre-order this game? Special Edition maybe? Not even a good Dungeons home site at Kalypso :(

sosalextom
sosalextom

Oh man this will be awsome :D cant wait for it.....

titanviper2000
titanviper2000

This game is loosely based on the Dungeon Keeper franchise. I can't wait to get my hands on it as I loved the Dungeon Keeper games. This is a title to keep an eye on. I hope Kalypso does it justice.

2bitSmOkEy
2bitSmOkEy

Brings back memories of Dungeon Keeper. God I loved those games.

Grayzer
Grayzer

@shnull Does it matter if they 'stole' the idea? As long as its an awesome Dungeon builder game, I dont really care. It's not like many games have been released with this premise

Jim_ster
Jim_ster

This is gonna be so great. hope they have alot of toture items. :P Can't wait. Was a huge Dk I and DK II fan.

Gladestone1
Gladestone1

shnull guess its sort of like sports..You can name it different an get away with it..Maybe they will have different things in the game..Hell i still play dk2 its a great game..True the game has aged an graphics are not what it once was but still fun today...Ill be picking up dungiens its the first game of the year an do out in feb..

shnull
shnull

will bullfrog be sueing them or did they just sell the dungeon keeper concept?

allejo2
allejo2

Don't get too many expectations about this game, is from Kalypso, when they released Disciple 3, that game came with so many problems and they never really bother to fix them, that game was just abandoned, so for heads up, this is the kind of service u will have for this game also

aoneone
aoneone

wow very interesting concept and for PC! im definately getting this woot!!! this should hold me bay before mvc3 comes and thatll hold me off until diablo 3 lol

JamesX007
JamesX007

Wow can't believe this sneaked up on me. Didn't think it will be released this soon. :) And it is on steam too, though you can't order yet.

Kevu
Kevu

Wait, wait, wait...traps weren't the FIRST thing they focused on? :( Sounds like fun though. I'd be happy with anything like the Dungeon Keepers honestly, and it sounds like they have their own ideas here...I just want an emphasis on traps!

sagelund
sagelund

I pray this game ends up out to be a nice, quality game. I love this whole concept...

Jaga_Telesin
Jaga_Telesin

While I too look forward to it, I find it unnerving that traps (and who knows how many other features) weren't included in the playtester's review copy. At 30 days to launch, generally you are wrapping that up and getting ready to burn your master media for the publisher to ship. I smell post-launch patches, and many of them..

vinnie66
vinnie66

I don't pre - order often. but i just pre - ordered this ! Huge old school Dungeon Keeper 1 and 2 fan here ! Woo hope this is good !! Can't wait ! :)

gho5ty
gho5ty

hell yeah i want this game too its frist on my list befor any other game that comes out.

papakoza
papakoza

Look at the box title: DungeonS - and that big 's' i accidentally very close to '3'...and something on that cover : definitely a Keeper. Yes. This new game is Dungeon Keeper 3 :)

Mugzippit
Mugzippit

It was a shame Dungeon keeper 3 was cancelled... Got high hopes for this now though!

TheDarkCrucible
TheDarkCrucible

Kind of reminds me of Dungeon Maker, wish they would make a Dungeon creating game for the PS3.

Darkreaper_1
Darkreaper_1

I hoping that this game (whether it picks up or fails) will urge EA (who i think own the rights to Dungeon Keeper) to dust off DK and start where DK 2 finsihed. It's a genre of game that hasn't really been tapped into greatly since the demise of Bullfrog, which i was very surprised about. This game does look a lot like Dungeon Keeper, so i'm hoping it plays a lot like it as well, even though it doesn't bare the DK name and there won't be any Bile Daemons or Mistresses!

Doomguard3
Doomguard3

Cant wait ! My prayers have been answered !

ildamos
ildamos

"This looks like the Dungeon Keeper 3 fans always wanted. Day one purchase for sure, for me anyway." This.

thedemon44
thedemon44

I am looking forward to this one.

taxonomic
taxonomic

I still play Dungeon Keeper on DOSbox. Great game that never gets old. This looks like the Dungeon Keeper 3 fans always wanted. Day one purchase for sure, for me anyway.

nanagasm
nanagasm

I loved Dungeon Keeper. Such a classic. Unfortunately this game is being published by Kalypso. They treat their customers with horrid abandon, as I can personally attest through their release of Disciples 3. They borked up the cds across North America, and didn't even post a patch. The game is still on sale in stores, there forum flooded with complaints and they don't even offer support. Even for those that got it working, they haven't updated the game with the latest patch from overseas. In principle, I will never buy a game from them again.

the_hunger
the_hunger

Sounds a lot like Dungeon Keeper, even looks like it. The whole soul-collecting thing should add an interest twist to the gameplay.

candoitagain
candoitagain

Reminds me of Dungeon Keeper, about time they made a game of this genre! I can't wait to get my hands on this. :)