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Dungeons 2 preview: An actual Dungeon Keeper successor mixed with an RTS game

Hayden Dingman | Dec. 1, 2014
Dungeons 2 combines dungeon-keeping with dungeon-invading, and both come off strong.

Dungeons 2

You know those street performers that put plates on sticks and make them all rotate at once? I imagine that's pretty hard to do, because you have to pay attention to so many variables at the same time. I say "I imagine" because if I tried it I'm pretty sure I'd break the whole lot of my expensive IKEA dishware.

Dungeons 2 is a bit like those plates, asking you to pay attention to a dozen different things at the same time. Needless to say, I'm terrible at it. The game does provide an interesting (and unique) challenge though.

Two hearts beat as one
Dungeons 2 is actually two games.

Half the game is similar to the original Dungeons, which is to say it's similar to EA's classic Dungeon Keeper. You're lord of a small underground fortress which quickly (with the help of your loyal goons) expands into a massive labyrinth of treasure vaults, breweries, workshops, and other assorted areas to keep your underlings happy, healthy, and productive.

This section of the game relies on indirect control of your minions. You'll designate a section of rocks you want excavated, for instance, but it's up to your minions to decide which ones are going to complete that task. Or you'll say that your workshop needs goblins to research new traps, but your goblins will do so without your intervention.

Your only real interactions in the dungeon view take place through a massive floating hand, with which you can pick up and drag minions to new areas, slap minions, or select new structures to build. There's still plenty to do though, as you're constantly expanding your holdings, constructing traps, shoring up your defenses, or creating new minions.

That last is particularly important because it plays into the other half of the game. You'll need plenty of workers to create the foundations of your dominion, but your ambitions are much larger than some dank underground chamber. Soon after you build your first treasure room, it'll be time to start amassing an army. With your massive god-hand you'll pick up your army and drag it onto the exit...

...At which point Dungeons 2 turns into a real-time strategy game. You're controlling the forces of evil, invading a hyper-saturated land of bunnies and butterflies. Each time you conquer a new section the ground will corrupt around you, so you can watch your dark influence spread with each victory.

The game controls like a typical real-time strategy game too. You control your troops directly, ordering them around the map and fighting pitched battles against those damn do-gooders. In our hands-on demo, the first task involved seeking out the once-mighty Naga faction and requesting their aid.

 

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