Sometimes even the most paragon-like of gamers get the urge to get away from the usual good-making and justice-bringing and delve into the realm of Evil. That itch can also be so strong that even playing the role of a faithful follower of a local tyrant would not be able to scratch it. This is when Dungeons series rushes to your aid with the proposal of the Great Evil’s throne, Hand of Terror and endless puns to famous franchises varying from Sailor Moon to Star Wars. This is our better-late-than-never Dungeons 3 review.
The Bored Evil
The events of the game follow those of its predecessor, Dungeons 2. Now that you, the Ultimate Evil Lord, have united the various forces of evil and established the great dark empire, the new peaceful era has come to your lands. How disgustingly boring, right? And so the Insidious Evil has turned its bored gaze to the far-off lands where the Good was still prevailing and prepared to expand its dark influence. However, that shining kingdom lay just out of reach and so a new General that would lead the united armies of Horde (hello, Warcraft!), Undead and Demons needed to be found. Dark Elf Priestess named Thalya fits the role of the Evil’s left hand (as the right one is literally controlled by the players). She is torn between her racial Dark affiliation and the Light side that was hammered into her with the paladin training. It is up to the Restless Evil to make sure Thalya regains her Evil streak and to fully convert her to his case to victoriously marsh across sun-kissed plains of the do-gooders’ kingdom. And make fun of Warcraft, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and other major franchises in the process, of course!
We Must Construct Additional Pylons Isles of Evilness
Gameplay-wise, Dungeons 3 stays very close to the ways of its predecessor and offers the classic dungeon management reminiscent of Dungeon Keeper series. Players control the Hand of Terror (that can slap various creatures to make sure they remain encouraged to work), build a variety of rooms, recruit minions of different factions and types, get such resources as Gold and Mana, construct traps and, most importantly, protect the Dungeonheart from the nasty do-gooders and a bunch of creepy crawlies residing in the depths of the dungeon.
Additionally, through the construction of various buildings and finishing the research they offer, the rooms, creatures and even spells can be upgraded and improved, if you have enough Evilness, of course. That brings us to the next point: managing the dungeon is only one half of the game. The other half takes place in the Overworld, presented by a whole different map at the left bottom corner of the UI. This part of the game plays more like a classic RTS with the players given direct control of the units and laying havoc on the domain of Good. Destroying notable objects of the enemy will allow automatic construction of Isles of Evilness, which will supply the Resource-Poor Evil with an additional currency used for upgrades and researches.
There will be a lot of jumping back and forth since the presence of your army outside of the Dungeon will not stop various Heroes from trying to reach your Dungeonheart. Thankfully, the cranky The narrator will notify you if something important is happening in either of the worlds, and such spells as Portal will allow to quickly throw the armies from the Overworld back down if the Dungeon is under attack.
However, by the last, 20th mission in the campaign, players might feel that altogether the gameplay is a bit repetitive. Despite different objectives and certain limitations from time to time, you’ll be doing exactly what you just have been doing in the previous level – building and upgrading the dungeon from scratch (or next to it if you had some pre-built rooms in the beginning of the level). However, this problem is not new to the Strategy genre, and the game remains fun despite it.
A Beautiful Evil
Another really shining side of Dungeons 3 is the game’s aesthetics. The colors, sounds, music, and visuals all compliment each other and create a surprisingly beautiful scene altogether. The game also offers small touches, like the change of music from quiet and peaceful to more dark and demanding upon switching between the Good and the Evil locations and the transformation of the local flora and fauna represented by roses, lilies, tiny birds, rabbits and unicorns into the vicious dark lifeforms such as giant spiders, carnivorous plants and much more as the area is afflicted with Evilness.
Players can also make use of the new skirmish mode and the random map generator to extend the game’s longevity for themselves. And if the campaign felt way too easy for you, there’s the Hellish difficulty. And it is truly hellish.
Dungeons 3 is a solid Dungeon manager that will keep you entertained for many hours between the fun gameplay, loving the attention to the details and endless puns and jeers of Thalya and the Narrator towards each other and famous franchises. If you are tired of the paladins and people who play them, this is the game for you.
Also, it is quite rewarding to see how the meticulously set up traps like the Flamethrowers take care of anyone who tries to threaten your Evil rule. Bwuahahaha!