Other people have said this more eloquently than I can, but I still feel compelled to say it in my own way. I say this as someone who used to work at EA, and who understands that making games is an incredibly tricky business. But this needs to be said:
Dear EA - Fuck you. Sincerely, Gamers.
The new Dungeon Keeper app is an absolute travesty. For those of you who never played the old-school Dungeon Keeper games on PC, stop reading now. You can get the original game on Good Old Games for $5.99 - http://www.gog.com/game/dungeon_keeper
. Go do that now - you owe it to yourself. I'll wait.
The original Dungeon Keeper was a masterpiece. It turned the tropes of gaming at the time on their head, and managed to be a satisfying game while never taking itself too seriously. I loved the twisted sense of humor. To this day, I still chuckle to remember the intros and outros for each level.
When I was working at EA, I learned that EA had the rights to a ton of older games, including Bullfrog's portfolio. I immediately became obsessed with the idea of reviving Dungeon Keeper, because it was such a fun game. I figured it would make a great XBLA game (mobile was just starting to become a thing).
So when I saw that EA was releasing a mobile app for Dungeon Keeper, you can imagine how excited I was. Only to have my hopes crushed completely. This new app that EA put out has three things in common with the old games I love:
1) The name is "Dungeon Keeper".
2) You can slap imps.
3) There's something about dungeons? I guess?
The game is a blatant rip-off of Clash of Clans. That's not ideal, but hey, Clash is a pretty good game. You could find worse inspiration out there. But the implementation of the new DK doesn't come anywhere close to CoC's level of polish. The hooks aren't there. There's nothing particularly satisfying about building up your dungeon, and the raids don't feel strategic at all. After playing it for 10 minutes, I really just wanted to go back and play Clash.
On top of that, the monetization strategy is just... well, patently offensive. The game begs you for money at every possible turn. Making any progress in the game effectively requires you to pay. They start you off with two imps, and approximately 400 gems (the "pay us cash for this" currency). Buying a third imp costs 800 gems, and earning gems in game is stupid slow. Now factor in that most actions you can take occupy an imp for at least
an hour, and many take a day.
After every raid, you're reminded that "You could have gotten more resources if you bought Dungeon Keeper Premium". I actually thought this was smart, initially. Give the audience who's willing to pay up front a more premium experience for a couple bucks, and basically let people pay a bit to opt out of the monetization rat race. It turns out that Dungeon Keeper Premium is exactly NOT that.
The DK Premium perk you can buy lasts for 7 days
. Seriously? A week? And at a cost of roughly $7, it's not exactly an affordable boost.
So yeah... shoddy gameplay and obnoxious monetization. I might have been able to over look those, if the game bore any resemblance to the game I once loved. But no, everything that made DK great has been stripped out of this soulless, money-grubbing clone.
But perhaps I've been looking at this all wrong. After all, the original Dungeon Keeper had the player embark on a quest to crush all the joy and happiness out of the world. You won by leaving a trail of corpses and broken souls in your wake. Maybe the team that made this game is playing a meta-game of Dungeon Keeper, and their victory is measured by the rage and pain they can inspire in a new generation of gamers.
I see only two explanations for this game. Either it is a massive failure and a purely exploitative cash grab, or it is a truly masterfully executed troll of all old-school gamers.
Either way, EA, I don't appreciate this. So fuck you. I'm going to uninstall your garbage, and go re-play the original masterpiece you've made me long for.