Electronic Arts have done it again. In yet another example of the DRM-laden and microtransaction-loving publisher’s greed, EA has released a mobile version of the classic PC series Dungeon Keeper. And it is simply awful. Developed by studio EA Mythic, the game is free to play (freemium), available on both iOS and Android, and – most importantly – possibly the worst example of overused microtransactions that I have ever seen.
[Anybody else getting the sense that Graham is incredibly upset? Like, Hulk-smash angry almost? Shall we all join forces and organise a great big Internet Hug to make him feel better? No? – Ed.]
The original Dungeon Keeper was a groundbreaking strategy game developed by Peter Molyneux’s Bullfrog Productions in 1997 and it received much critical acclaim. The game involved building and managing a large dungeon of evil minions, hoarding treasure and preventing invading heroes from ruining all your hard work. It was a brilliant concept and was followed by an equally enjoyable sequel Dungeon Keeper 2 in 1999. Together the games achieved massive popularity. Sadly, Dungeon Keeper 3 was cancelled during development, but the cult status of the series meant that imp slapping was not forgotten over the years.
However, EA now owns all Bullfrog properties and has taken a proverbial dump on the legacy of the series by releasing a cartoonish, tedious mobile game. Simply mining out the walls of your dungeon can take up to 24 hours (for one single square) and the only way to speed this up is to spend gems. The only way to speed up anything in the game is to spend gems and, predictably, you are given almost no gems to work with. Thus, the only solution is to spend real money to buy packs of gems, with one of the packs on sale being worth a whopping 99 dollars. Seriously EA? I know that this is a common model for freemium mobile games today, but we’re talking about Dungeon Keeper here!
For anyone wishing to relive the classic series or even possibly experience the excellent strategy game for the first time, I urge you not to download this terrible mobile title. Rather, go to GOG.com and purchase the original titles. A once-off payment, and completely DRM-free – the way it was meant to be played.