" What's unique about Dungeons 2 is that it has two control schemes. I break both of these down into Offensive and Defensive. The offensive play sees you control your armies as a large group on the surface. Defensive, sees you pick up and drop units individually. "
Ultimate Evil never dies. I’m completely new to the Dungeons game – and any other form of dungeon simulator – but not to real time strategy (RTS) games. I do enjoy the likes of Stronghold or Command & Conquer. My favourite thing about RTS games is the base construction and the building of massive armies. There’s just something so very rewarding about outsmarting your opponent, making them play into your hands and cracking them with the finishing blow.
In many ways, Dungeons II ticks all the boxes. For starters, it’s got all the flexible freedom of digging out and creating your own dungeon. It has a fairly easy unit system to keep players engaged. Pretty much every aspect of your dungeon, from the minions running it to how your gold and beer is stacked, is upgradable. There’s also a fair selection of rooms, each fitting a specialised purpose. What’s more? This dungeon RTS has its own story!
You’ll have to excuse me as I’m new to the series but from what I can gather, the second game carries on from where the first left off. You’ll follow the Ultimate Evil on his quest to destroy the heroes that banished him. Along the way, you’ll acquire the skills and know-how to be a successful player. You’ll be smiting Unicorns and bashing Wizards, utilising the various species that make up the Ultimate Evil’s army, like Trolls & Orcs. And what’s more, a second faction exists that uses Demons and more Satanic units, the Absolute Evil.
Dungeons II has to be praised for its use of resources and uses a variety of these to spruce up the gameplay. Gold is dug out from the Dungeon’s walls and is used to purchase new troops and upgrades. Your evil horde will also require payment for their efforts in gold. Beer, for one faction, serves mainly as a traditional food resource. Mana is harvested from crystals that you dig out. You can use this resource to purchase new spells and increase your population capacity. Finally, you’ll use a trap building resource to set traps and doors as you carve out the enemies path to your throne room. This resource is also useful for upgrading your dungeon. Essentially, the defending aspect of gameplay works similar to most Tower Defence games.
Enemies pour into the Dungeon from doors leading to the surface. What’s unique about Dungeons is that it has two control schemes. I break both of these down into Offensive and Defensive. The offensive play sees you control your armies as a large group on the surface. Defensive, sees you pick up and drop units individually. Both aspects of gameplay feature lots of technical workarounds that can benefit the player; spells that rally troops or increase their stats, grabbing multiple units and grouping them, you can even call dead units back to your dungeon.
What Makes Dungeons II Shine?
Multiplayer is virtually non-existent in 2019, but the skirmish mode works fine for practising your skills. The beauty of the Dungeons II experience is that online mode isn’t essential for the feeling of 100%. You can get all trophies offline, you have the entire campaign to go at and skirmish mode. The game still has as much charm and humour without this feature, and since I was unable to test online Mode, I can’t let it alter this review.
Before I get into some of the factors that really let down Dungeons II, let me talk about some of the good points. The 3D modelling in this game is superb, really well worked into and textured nicely. Music is nice and brings on a sense of immersion. The after effects on the game are well-done and lighting and perspective are consistent, appealing and aesthetically pleasing. Gameplay is to die for, Dungeons offers a special RTS opportunity you’re going to want to experience if you like RTS games. Trophies also aren’t incredibly difficult, so for trophy hunters, you’ll want to check this out. I should also praise the game’s narrative, it offers a nice satirical story.
What Makes Dungeons II Dull?
So what lets Dungeons II down? Well, the main thing that got pretty unbearable was the text and UI size. Everything is perfectly in place, but my 19″ Screen from a distance left me squinting. I wouldn’t have minded the text being so small if the game wasn’t so long. I pull my TV closer, of course, I’ve played games with far worse UI. A setting in the game’s otherwise well-made options menus would have made me happy.
Graphically, yeah the game looks nice, but it’s all a bit boring and samey after the first four or five levels. Especially the overworld, it’s always green grass and white castles. Unless it’s your territory, in which case it’s rivers of acid and lava veins contrasting against dark rock. Each mission can be pretty long-winded, so players that are used to fast-paced rushing techniques will be let down here, the pace is just too slow to match those players’ needs. I like to take my time, but even I was left a bit bored waiting for things to happen. Sound effects are also quite repetitive and stale, especially when a slave is digging out dungeon walls. Furthermore, despite one half of me praising the games satirical narrative, the other half of me has to be negative about it. The narrator’s lines are great for the first couple of times. But when the narrator is telling you to hurry up for the eighteenth time in one mission, it gets a bit much.
To summarise on what Dungeons II does for you, it takes you on a handheld journey, one that proves fun, if repetitive. It’s graphically pleasing, yet this game is built for big TV screens only. It is written well but can be repetitive with narrative and instructions. The music’s great, but some of the sound effects are a bit cyclic and over-bearing. Mechanically, this game is perfect, very well designed and tailors to general fans of RTS games. No, it’s not Red Alert or Halo Wars, but it’s still great. Also, the lack of an online fan base makes the multiplayer feature redundant and doesn’t appeal to online fans. On the other hand, skirmishes provide an excellent opportunity to 100% Dungeons II. Gameplay isn’t overly difficult, but at the same time presents a challenge at certain points.
I would recommend Dungeons II to any casual RTS fans or PSNow users. But at the same time, despite its relatively linear trophy system, you’ll be struggling to finish the game as happy as you started. It’s pretty easy to make the game longer than it has to be for yourself and that can cost you your valuable time. Dungeons II gets a seven for its intuitive design and well-thought-out gameplay, I hope the team bring some fixes to the third game. Such a well-made game, let down by the silliest things. Remember, this review isn’t taking into account online mode. Now let me go farm some Mana for that final Trophy! If you like the look of Dungeons II, why not go check out Dungeons III on Humble Bundle?