Gamers have been invading dungeons and fighting evil forces for decades. Dungeons 3 turns this formula on its head as it allows you to spread evil from the comfort of your very own underground facility.
When I first started playing Dungeons 3, I was immediately reminded of the recent and highly underrated X-Morph: Defense as the point of both games is to annihilate innocent people and slowly turn the otherwise lively environments into your own evil desolate creations. However, Dungeons 3 is a lot more lighthearted and it features a far more intricate plot. The story involves an evil spirit entering the unsuspecting body of the elf Thalya. She embraces this dastardly entity almost immediately although she often questions her decisions throughout the campaign. This may sound serious but the dialogue in Dungeons 3 can be downright hilarious with its humorous one-liners and oodles of nerdy references. The only downside to this is when you hear a repeat joke which unfortunately happens far more often than you'd think. That being said, the overall sense of levity combines with the sinister premise to craft a rather compelling narrative.
Dungeons 3 is played on two planes: the surface where you battle pesky forces of good and underground where you manage your resources. The real-time setup often forces you to stay on top of your game as heroes will regularly invade your dungeon. Therefore, if you keep ordering your "little snots" to mine and build facilities and traps while you use your resources to research new features and recruit more demons; you'll be adequately prepared to head to the surface and successfully carry out your mission. I found balancing between the overworld and underworld as well as improving your capabilities and ordering your party to attack and take over bases to be extremely addictive, especially considering how challenging and rewarding the campaign becomes.
Speaking of the campaign, I was impressed to see how much variety is implemented. Each mission has its own gimmicks and newly introduced mechanics that shake up the gameplay as well as your strategy in a very satisfying way. Sometimes, you'll have to raise the dead to help you in battle while other times, your mission is to destroy enemy weapons before they have a chance to charge and damage your dungeon heart (which is basically your life meter). If the campaign isn't enough, you can also play cooperatively, set up your own skirmishes, and even play with others online. That being said, I couldn't find one other person to play with over the past week or so. Nevertheless, it's fantastic that these options exist, especially if you have a virtual or physical pal to play it with.
Although Dungeons 3 is an addictive experience and one of my personal favourite surprises of the year so far, it does have its problems. First of all, the performance is currently awful. Whenever there's even a little bit of onscreen action, the visuals can slow down to a crawl. In later stages where things become much more intricate, the game will sometimes crash after slowing down. I really hope they patch this soon; even if it means the graphics suffer as a result. Also, the controls haven't been adapted well from PC. Everything takes a long time to learn and even when you master the basic controls, you'll still find yourself stumbling quite often. For example, I could not figure out how to simply rotate a wall trap no matter how hard I tried. So, screw that! I just stuck with floor traps.
The lighthearted yet unconventional premise of Dungeons 3 is a breath of fresh air. When you factor in the addictive blend of real-time strategy and resource management, you're left with one rewarding (yet evil) gameplay formula.
- + Addictive real-time strategy and resource management gameplay
- + Hilarious dialogue and references
- + Campaign features plenty of variety
- - Awful performance complete with severe slowdown and crashes
- - Repeated jokes can be annoying
- - Controls are very unintuitive