hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Dungeon Keeper

Review: Dungeon Keeper (Mobile)

1:00 PM on 02.01.2014 // Chris Carter

Keep away

Bullfrog's 1997 strategy game Dungeon Keeper is a bona fide classic. It took the typical simulation conventions of the time and added some attitude, some horns, and a whole lot of charm to warp it into something truly special.

Leave it to EA then to come in and take a demonic dump on the franchise by creating a freemium "re-imagining" with timers and microtransactions.

Dungeon Keeper (Android, iPad, iPhone [reviewed on an iPhone 5])
Developer: Electronic Arts, Mythic Entertainment
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Released: January 31, 2014
MSRP: Free

For the first few minutes, Dungeon Keeper mobile vaguely resembles the original game. You'll slowly craft your own labyrinthine base of operations, hire creatures to defend it, and build a few structures to increase your influence. It's all pretty standard as far as strategy games go, as sending off imps to dig new areas and expanding your keep is still satisfying, at least initially.

You'll also have the ability to go on missions (raids) and attack enemy keeps, as well as defend your own with a host of traps and defensive troops. The main goal here is to go after the dungeon's "heart," which is more or less the lifeblood of the operation. In each raid, you'll have to bypass the AI's defenses and attack the heart. It's a cool concept, but it gets dull when you realize that you have no control over the troops you summon, as you're at the mercy of the game after you drop them in. Still, there's fun to be had on many occasions with raids, as it mixes up the gameplay a bit and there's a lot of them.

Then the freemium elements rushed in, and slapped me with a sack of spoiled potatoes across the face (seriously, look at the above screenshot). It gets really bad really fast, which is almost a record as far as freemium games go. After the tutorial, one of the first areas I attempted to excavate had a four-hour timer attached to it. If I wasn't reviewing the game I would have quit right then and there.

Waiting is the name of the game in Dungeon Keeper -- in fact, it is the game unless you're willing to shell out for more resources and crystals. You'll excavate more areas of your base, then you'll wait. You'll wait to collect gold and stone in your appropriate mines, then tap the ore (it's not automatically collected, so you have to log in periodically). You'll queue up minions to go on a raid, then wait a bit. If you fail, you'll have to wait some more before you get enough resources to launch another attack.

Time may be the ultimate boss of Dungeon Keeper mobile, but there's a whole lot more on the microtransaction front. You can buy every type of resource, buy temporary boosts, buy long-term boosts, and pretty much everything that you could possibly want. The game will constantly remind you if this fact, as you slowly wait for everything to unfold before your eyes. It's like EA saw dollar signs after the success of Clash of Clans, and wanted to clone it in the worst way possible -- by using a respectable IP as its skin.

It's a huge shame, because Dungeon Keeper is such a great franchise. I vividly remember getting hooked on the original for the very first time, and hooking in non-strategy fans with its unique perspective and visual style. But you're getting none of that here, as you're instead presented with a hollow freemium shell of what once was. Do yourself a favor and go to and grab the original.



Dungeon Keeper - Reviewed by Chris Carter
Disappointing - I feel sorry for this one. It came close to being passable, but dropped the ball too many times to prevent itself from being an embarrassment.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Chris Carter, Reviews Director
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidChris Tips
Chris (Magnalon) has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff! -----------... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

nanashi avatarnanashi
Wanna ask a question for tomorrow's PStoid? You still have time! While you're at it don't forget to ask one for Riobux too!!
SkarKrow avatarSkarKrow
I caught a reflective mumbling about MGSV's open structure and how it doesn't sit well with me, to be published whenever I litter it with images.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Welp, an article today got me thinking about this so without further ado, whats your favorite pokemon? This is mine:
Clarence Sheridan avatarClarence Sheridan
Winter is Coming and so is the new mobile game: “Frosty The Assassin” New Mobile Game coming soon... [img][/img]
SkarKrow avatarSkarKrow
I cast my little worm in to the pond for a topic to try to make a blog about today. I fish fish fish but nothing bites bites bites.
Perro avatarPerro
I cracked and bought Final Fantasy Dimensions on Android last night. Half off sounded like just the right price, though I wish this came out on 3DS or even the Vita but at least it gives me something to do on the porcelain throne!
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Coming soon in Mortal Kombat XXX DLC - HUMILITALITY [youtube][/youtube]
Robo Panda Z avatarRobo Panda Z
Those N64-era THQ wrestling games have actually held up really well over the years. Take that, nostalgia!
Halflocke avatarHalflocke
Underhero a 2d side scrolling rpg on indie gogo
extatix avatarextatix
Heading off to Spiel in a bit. A whole lot of games there, just of the cardboard variety. I love me some board games.
absolutfreak avatarabsolutfreak
Finally finished The Witcher 3. Definitely one of the best games I've played in my 30 years or so of gaming. Now onward to Ground Zeroes/Phantom Pain.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
*playing an old ps1 game* "START and SELECT don't bring the menu up?! WELL WHAT THE FU-oh, it's Triangle..."
TheDefenestrator avatarTheDefenestrator
If anyone's playing Marvel Puzzle Quest (any platform) you should join my Alliance, RedRightHand, and help me kick some Galactus butt for their second anniversary event. (Please?)
Shinta avatarShinta
MGS Online Day 3. I have 3 character up to level 10 now, one in each class. They're all pretty handy, but I do miss the scout's mark speed the most on other classes.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
The SW: Battlefront is pretty and has great sound design, but the gameplay is so shallow and has seemingly no depth! If the full game is like this I will be disappointed.
Torchman avatarTorchman
*looks at Amazon preorder* This one's for you Chib'
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
Dear Playboy: Love your video game coverage, but how about you start making some topless unboxing videos? Seeing someone unwrap a copy of Call of Duty is boring. Seeing a topless Playmate unwrap a copy of anything is awesome!
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
In happier news, Level-5 is already talking Yo-Kai Watch 2's Western release, and better/worse yet, they're considering amiibo support for the series! And hey, if they can't get Jibanyan into Smash, that'd be one way to get the West's attention.
gajknight avatargajknight
I drank a glass of Ovaltine for the first time in years today. It was nice. Like drinking a glass of my childhood, complete with ignorance, embarrassing angst, tears (so many tears) and night terrors. Ah, the good 'ol days.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
[img][/img] This is just depressing. Digital classics on consoles are such a great idea, but it's like not a single company wants to really go through with it.
more quickposts


destructoid's previous coverage:
Dungeon Keeper

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -