Dungeons is a hybrid of RPG, strategy games as well as base building, developed by Realmforge Studios and published by Kalypso Media at the end of January 2011 in German and during the early February in North Armerica. It's not Dungeon Keeper! The initial thought about the game is that we are dealing with game wanting to be new Dungeon Keeper. Let me tell you one thing right away: This is not a Dungeon Keeper, and it never was meant to be. So if you are expecting another DK, you will be disappointed. There are only few minor resemblances between Dungeons and DK games, mostly graphical presentation. Your soul is mine! So, what is Dungeons about? You, the player, are controlling evil dungeon lord, one ranking high (or low, as in this game lower is better) in hierarchy of evil lords and creatures. One day your ex-girlfriend decides to betray you, forcing the avatar to flee his dungeon and loosing all the power he had. The game takes place in several dungeons, underground lairs which present the general type of dungeons you can find in any RPG. Your mission, besides completing specific objectives of each map, is to attract heroes and adventurers in your dungeon. And here comes the thing that makes Dungeons so different from other games (and from Dungeon Keeper): Your main task is NOT to kill the adventurers, but instead attract them deeper to your dungeon, satisfying their needs, which can vary from collecting gold to finding new equipment, learning knowledge or even taking or dealing damage to monsters. Each adventurer have certain needs given when entering your dungeon, and as the adventurer gets satisfied he or she gets more happier. The happier the adventurer is the more resource called Soul Energy he or she produces after being locked to prison. So, the player must build his or her dungeon in the way that the heroes get happier while exploring, and when they are satisfied enough you step in and kill them. Well, killing would be wrong term as the slain enemy will still be alive and thrown to prison if there is enough spare room. While in prison the adventurer will be milked from Soul Energy, which is basic resource to make you and your dungeon better. The idea of Soul Energy is very good one, unique and good enough to actually take care of the adventurers. Now, the implementation is where the whole thing goes wrong. Even though you are encouraged to satisfy the needs completely before slaughtering the hero it's more often better idea to just go there and kill that adventurer immediately. This is because after several adventurers have entered your dungeon they tend to form groups, which are usually much more difficult to kill. The adventurers also have some kind of x-ray vision, as they can spot you behind corners, even through walls. Normally this wouldn't be a problem but as the fighting has highest priority they tend to stop whatever they were doing and begin chasing you down. This is especially problematic as it's you who has to do all the killing, as your monsters are usually too weak to do that and if by some miracle those are able to kill the adventurer, some of the Soul Energy is lost in the process. Yes, if you kill the hero you get all the Soul Energy the adventurer has, but if the killing is done by one of your minions you do not. Build your own dungeon So, as the game is hybrid containing base management elements, it also gives the player the possibility of building the dungeon. The construction can be done inside your area of influence, which is determined by pentagrams. The pentagrams are small object built on the ground which will produce certain type of monsters after certain period of time. The type of monsters is determined by the type of pentagram, as well as the spawn time, the number of creatures that pentagram can have at maximum before spawning halts as well as the expansion of your area of influence. There are nearly twenty different types of creatures, though each map can only have access to five at most, and the types of creatures available depend on the map type. Besides monster pentagrams, which will satisfy the needs of dealing damage, receiving damage and even healing others due fighting the monsters, the player can build things called Prestige Gimmicks. These objects will raise your Prestige points, which determine what other object you can build, and uses Soul Energy to be built. So, without Soul Energy you can't build Prestige Gimmicks, and without Prestige you don't get access to better stuff. Prestige gimmicks also makes the adventurers think your dungeon more awesome, and they usually tend to follow the corridors filled with gimmicks instead of empty ones. So in other words Prestige Gimmicks can also serve as guides to heroes to take the routes you want. There are also libraries and armories that you can build, both of them consisting from several objects. Again their purpose is fill the needs of heroes and nothing else. Same thing applies to treasure piles, which will hold certain amount of gold for adventurers to loot. Traps are the last type of things you can build to satisfy the adventurers, though only thieves. Anyone else can and will be badly hurt if been hit by trap, and death is more than possible. The last type of thing you can build are prisons and torture devices. These objects are meant to hold the adventurers you have slain and to extract that precious Soul Energy. Mine my little goblins, MINE! The campaign maps and most of the custom game maps contain some halls and tunnels ready to be used by you. Unfortunately those are most often not enough, and some mission objectives may even require you to make new passages to make your dungeon lord to reach the objective. You may also need to refill the gold piles, armories or perhaps carry the slain hero to prison. For those tasks you have goblins, your loyal but dumb servants, who will perform every minor task you wouldn't bother to do. Now, like any other creature in the game except your avatar, you can't actually control your goblins. You can enable or disable certain labors from them, which are basically mining, carrying bodies and filling the loot piles. In terms of mining you can also, of course, decide where to mine. When I said the goblins are dumb I really meant that. First of all they are scared by anything and everything not under your control. Hero, creature, anything will scare the heck out of the goblins, forcing them to suspend the task they were performing and running away. When combined to another problem the game has, which is that the goblins while mining the walls the goblins will find small or mediocre amount of gold, and when they do they must carry it to directly to you, never mind the fact that you are standing in completely opposite side of the map, requiring lots of travel to reach you, which also makes it more than probable that the goblin in question runs to adventurer or something else which makes it drop the task. So, either you accept the fact that due stupidity of goblins the task of mining is very slow or you stand right next to the mining area so that the goblins have shortest possible distance to be walked. Where is the RPG? Now, so far what I have described doesn't give even slightest hint of the RPG aspect of the game. Remember when I told that the player controls the dungeon lord? Well, the throughout the game the dungeon lord gains attribute points and skill points from varying things, like completing objectives and achievements. The attributes can be divided between four different attributes, Strength, Intelligence, Agility and Constitution. The player also has three different skill trees to put the skill points into, giving access to new and better spells, improve you, your monster and goblins as well as upgrading the objects you can build. The development of the dungeon lord is very crucial as all the more difficult battles must be done by the player, no relying on minions. So it's good idea to put some thought in how to raise the attributes as well as which skills to take.