App Review: It's Not Classic Dungeon Keeper, But It's Not All Bad

It's Not Classic Dungeon Keeper, But It's Not All Bad

Every time I launch EA's free-to-play mobile reboot of the classic Dungeon Keeper franchise, I imagine a chorus of demons and imps singing Boyz II Men's "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday".

It is hard. I quite liked yesterday, when the name of a classic series popping up in my news feed was a reason for celebration, instead of a glimmer of hope followed by cautiously scanning for the terms 'free-to-play' and 'mobile.' But that's the world we live in, all in the present and such.

I suppose I should be happy the franchise lives on in any form at all. The idea of becoming an evil overlord, digging out your evil lair and filling it with traps and monsters that the original pair of Dungeon Keeper games embodied is the sort of concept that goes straight to indie or mobile these days. And so here we are.

It's Not Classic Dungeon Keeper, But It's Not All Bad

Welcome back, Horny. I probably won't be calling you that, but I'm glad you've given me the option.

Released this week in the US after months in testing in other regions, the new Dungeon Keeper isn't all that far removed from the originals. The core concept is certainly intact — this is a game about creating a dungeon and defending it using summoned minions, traps and spells. The creatures carry familiar names — imps, bile demons — and they are unlocked via building dungeon sections. Players must gather gold, stone and mana to build and upgrade sections and cast powerful spells. The Dungeon Heart is still what we protect. We can even swipe-slap workers for temporary buffs.

It's Not Classic Dungeon Keeper, But It's Not All Bad

It's certainly got some of that old Dungeon Keeper spirit, but it's not quite that game.

It's more Clash of Clans with a Dungeon Keeper paint job, and why not? Supercell's ridiculously popular mobile strategy title isn't too far removed from good old DK. It's about building up your defenses and testing those of your enemy — they could be long-lost cousins, if you squint your eyes just right.

So the new Dungeon Keeper adapts Clash of Clans' co-joint gameplay. Thousands of players work independently to create their dungeons, filling them with obstacles, and then invite the world to come in and try to take their things. At the same time, the player can summon forth an army of minions and go after other players' dungeons. There's an extensive campaign mode, all sorts of quests to complete to earn in-game currency, and regular special events to keep players on their toes.

Of course this is a free-to-play game, so it's not all about just having fun. There's also a great deal of waiting involved.

It's Not Classic Dungeon Keeper, But It's Not All Bad

Look at that poor imp. He's going to have to spend four hours clearing out that one spot. And then there's my minions, who take quite some time to spawn.

It's Not Classic Dungeon Keeper, But It's Not All Bad

Pretty much everything worthwhile to do in the all-new Dungeon Keeper takes time. Building, digging, upgrading, raiding — well, not so much raiding as waiting to have minions to raid with. That which doesn't take time takes money and resources, which also take time.

It's nothing spending a little real money wouldn't fix, of course.

It's Not Classic Dungeon Keeper, But It's Not All Bad

Gems, the true beating heart of any Clash of Clans-style game, are readily available for purchase, providing a speedier path to underground domination at a price. Spending between $4.99 (500 gems) to $99.99 (14,000) can make a huge difference in a Dungeon Keeper's career. Some people like that sort of things. Others not so much.

The new Dungeon Keeper isn't a bad example of this new genre of competitive strategy games. It's got plenty of style and character, and at times it even manages reminds me of a game I used to play ages ago. With a little applied patience, I might actually start enjoying myself. As long as you don't enter into this expecting a mobile port of the PC classic, maybe you will too.

It's very hard to say goodbye to yesterday. It's also completely avoidable. Dungeon Keeper and Dungeon Keeper 2 are both available on right now for $5.99 apiece.

Dungeon Keeper

  • Genre: Strategy
  • Developer: EA Mythic
  • Platforms: Android, iOS
  • Price: Free

Get Dungeon Keeper on Google PlayGet Dungeon Keeper on iTunes


    I downloaded this today as well after google play recommended it to me. Certainly is a more fun skinned way of waiting for my cooldown timers in clash of clans

    Question is, can Dosbox run on Android? Because that would be awesome.

      Dosbox can run Dungeon Keeper. I'm sure that would be more fun this progress bar simulator.

        Dosbox runs about a million games that are brilliant, but I'll never play on my desktop again. Throw it on my phone and you've got something worth having! My GOG account would get more use.

          Oops, I actually misread your original question, I thought it was "can dosbox run android?" which actually makes little sense anyway.

          Have you looked into getting a windows tablet? They run dosbox right? Not the 'tablet' tablets but the mini-pc things with the Win8.

            Yeah, I've looked into it. I'd like a Surface Pro 2, but $1000+ is a bit steep.

            Maybe when I'm rich.

        I was running Dungeon Keeper 2 in a virtual machine with a windows 98 image.

      Yes, it can. Obviously need a bluetooth mouse and keyboard to fully appreciate some games but works fine

      There are several DosBox emulators on Android. The best is DosBox Turbo. It's paid, but only costs $3.49. There is one free emulator, but don't waste your time. It hasn't been updated in almost three years.

    Here are enough reasons to not get this waste of app space - You are encouraging companies to continue gouging out gameplay and holding it for ransom until we pay them.

    If that isn't enough then watch this:

      This video is REQUIRED WATCHING for anyone thinking of playing DK on mobile. EA have hit new levels of greed.

    I loved dungeon keeper 2 on pc but these games are fucking terrible.

    Played it for half an hour, only made me want to play a real dungoen keeper :(

    Last edited 01/02/14 10:29 pm

    As far as mobile games go, there's not much more you could do with this game. That having been said, this game is nothing like the old Dungeon Keeper series we all know and love. The dungeons themselves are already half made, leaving no room for the creativity afforded by the old sandbox style, and with it also the entire manner of the game is gone too! Instead of mining for gold, you get a gold mine and so on, meaning there is no need to explore around.
    As everybody else probably noticed, the 4hr time frame to mine a SINGLE square of land is utterly ridiculous. Its only purpose is to frustrate you into buying more gems, which is entirely useless.
    Why not, when reviving a series, can't it be done in a sympathetic manner to those who used to play it instead of appealing to those who have no idea of the game and are willing to stick their hands in their pockets to pay utterly unfair prices? Disappointment.

      They expect that old players are now old enough to have mass amounts of disposable income to spend on gems or whatever? I dunno, EA logic.

      You don't mine the game for gold. EA mines YOU for gold.

    Honestly I think there should be an option for infinite gems.
    I understand it is a F2P game and that's great but the developers need to get paid.
    So why not offer the game for free but also offer a 'retail' version if you will, so that people who love the game can pay a once off fee and get the game as it was designed to be played.
    I get that would mean EA would have to take a hit in the profit department but the other option honestly makes me sick to my stomach.

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