Some Things I Like About Dungeon Keeper

I was going to write a longer article about Dungeon Keeper, but to be honest the subject has been covered so much over the last week I don’t really have the energy. Go and read one of the other articles for either a scathing attack on free-to-play (f2p) as a business model, a valiant defence of f2p as a business model, or an actual article about the game itself (if you can find one).

I’ve been playing it over the last week, and it’s not all bad really. Sure it’s entirely the wrong IP for the game & model, sure it goes in far too hard & heavy with asking for money, sure the initial timers are often too long so it’s hard to build a connection to the game quickly, sure the first time user experience (FTUE) is pretty bad with a tutorial that goes on too long and still doesn’t clearly explain the whole thing.

But there are some things I do like that it does.

  • You can slap your minions (the game’s builders) and for the next half an hour they will work at double speed, effectively halving every build timer in the game. There’s no cool down on this, you can do it every 30 minutes. It’s a nice way of further encouraging players to return to your game regularly if they want to maximise their efficiency and drastically cut down those big timers. (I’d suggest that the 30 minutes is too short a time though, again it feels like the game is too desperate for your attention if it’s popping up scheduled notifications every half an hour).
  • For the space that it’s in (asynchronous player-vs-player tower-defense) it’d be very easy to just use the IP and reskin the units and structures of genre-leader Clash of Clans. This is what most of the other games in the genre do (at least for initial launch, the ones that see some success tend to quickly introduce their own unique takes and options), it’s very easy to see the mappings. Dungeon Keeper at least spins units and defences out in its own style, with unique strengths and weaknesses from the start.

I’m sure there was a third thing. I’ll edit it in if I remember it.

Oh well, not exactly a spirited defence of the game some sections of the web have been calling a games-industry killer, that I had hoped for.