Sunday, March 8, 2020

Dungeon Keeper Mobile: It wasn't made for you

I'm continuing to look for good dungeon making games and decided to give the mobile version of Dungeon Keeper a download.

What's interesting here is that back in 2014, this game was raked over the coals by fans and media who weren't ready for a free-to-play mobile version of the games they had grown to love: Dungeon Keeper 1 and Dungeon Keeper 2. Games, which to be honest, I've never even played. 

(Um, Yeah, I uh, wanted to play them, but I was too busy with other games to give them a shot at the time. *grin*)

Because of this, I did a lot of reading when I downloaded the game, and I found some really good quotes . . . gems of thought about the release as it were.

Is your pocketbook ready to train all these monsters?

To illustrate what I'm talking about, let me quote IGN's review of the game:
"The original Dungeon Keeper thrives on speed and the frantic rush to build your dungeons and set up traps before heroes arrive; under this model, clicking on the campaign maps that unleash the adventurers to face their doom feels more like a pulling the string on a wind-up toy and watching it until it slows down and dies all too quickly. Attempt to play Dungeon Keeper at the pace of the 1997 version, and you'd find that your bank account drains faster than your dungeon's gold hoards after heroes reach them. Having any fun in this game would cost a fortune. "
Probably the harshest of reviews came from Eurogamer which gave the game and appalling 1 out of 10. It was so harsh that Andrew Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts, sat down for an interview with Eurogamer at E3. It's an amazing read to be honest . . . especially for someone in the business of making mobile games..  I especially like this particular paragraph:
Who is to blame for that? Don't blame the developers, Molyneux pleaded. They're just doing their job. Instead, point the finger at "analytics people" who impose tried and trusted monetisation techniques on the gameplay, forcing players to do this and that at this time and then in order to get X and Y number of gems. It's a carefully crafted, heavily researched dark art that players of many free mobile games are familiar with. Indeed, for millions of gamers this kind of monetisation is all they know.
This was even further discussed in a Kotaku article that juxtaposed fans of a long standing PC title that had been converted into a free-to-play mobile game. The title of the article itself is amazing: "Welcome To Mobile Gaming, Angry Dungeon Keeper Fans" LOL! 

The article explains Mobile gamers to PC gamers and why this game in particular caused things to come to a head:

"These mobile gamers play for distraction instead of passion. They are passing the time. They aren't as emotionally invested in what they are playing, so when a meter or timer pops up, it doesn't affect them as strongly. They have no experience paying $60 to play a game — to them, microtransactions are the way these things are done.  
They're unwise to the ways of the greater gaming world, and they won't be wising up anytime soon. When they pick up their phone or tablet with gaming in mind, they're going to play. They aren't going to surf the web for forums. They aren't looking for a gaming site to see what new mobile games are on the horizon. They're in their own mobile gaming bubble. Games pop up on their screens. If they look interesting, they will play them. If the game's got the right addictive formula, they'll pay to play. 
They're odd. They're casuals. They're also legion. "
The article comes to a brilliant one-line realization within its apex: "The Real Problem with EA's New Dungeon Keeper — It Wasn't Made For Us" 

It's funny . . . I see harsh reviews of mobile games by PC Players and that line just resonates in my mind "It wasn't made for you."

With all that in mind . . . the Dungeon Keeper I played over last week wasn't a terrible mobile game to be honest, and there was a lot I liked.  It kind of seems like EA might have even backed away from the harsher monetization timers that were originally in the game.  Clicking on a wall of dirt to remove it didn't take an hour . . . it took 3 seconds. I was quite easily able to craft a couple of nice long walkways that would keep my opponents wandering around while the timer ticked away.

Welcome to my dungeon! MUHAHAHA!

I loaded it full of doors and traps and spent the week leveling up my traps and storage bins. Yes, things could have gone A LOT faster if I was paying, but I was taking it like I take most of my mobile games: casually and afk.

There really is no rush here at all to be honest. You build a bit, click to collect your gold and stone, raid a couple other people's dungeons, and log off while your timers are ticking. And honestly, I'm not trying to be the biggest or the baddest in this game, but I must say I loved watching a couple replays where people couldn't 3-star my dungeon. MUHAHAHAHA!

I'm sure I haven't "seen nothing yet" as this game has been around so long that the people at the top of the game who have been playing since 2014 must certainly have crazy impenetrable fortresses. I shudder to think of my skeletons and trolls trying to make it through more difficult player-crafted dungeons.

All in all, this was a nice casual dungeon making distraction from last week.  Probably my favorite "feature" was that you were forced to slap an imp to even load into the game.


If anything, this experience made me more excited to download the old Dungeon Keeper games and play through them.  Since you can find 'em online now for pretty cheap, they're now on my list of things to play.

Happy Dueling!

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