Dungeon Overlord on Facebook: Villainy and tedium go hand-in-hand
Being the band of stalwart adventurers does become a bit stale after awhile, doesn't it? Well, developer Night Owl Games is right there with you in its first social game under Sony Online Entertainment, Dungeon Overlord. In this property management-meets-strategy warfare Facebook game, players assume the role of overlord, leading a fledgling dungeon of goblins, orcs, warlocks and ogres out from under their mountain and into the surface world in hopes of domination. However, being the villain is not even close to as easy as its made out to be in the movies. As much as I hate to use this terribly annoying word, this social game is not for the "casual." Let's just say Saruman had it easy with Isengard, OK?
Find more of our impressions of Dungeon Overlord after the break.
The game's lengthy tutorial begins inside the bowels of a fiery mountain, directing you to build your minions places to eat, rest, work and research new technologies. Like most property-management games, players must construct buildings in a grid format, but what's interesting is that buildings can expand indefinitely as long as they're connected to the original building. That being said, there's really only a need for one building of each type including farms, taverns, libraries, dens and mines. Each of these buildings either produces a certain unit or provides said units (or yourself) with a necessary resource. It may sound complicated, but it all comes together to make a cohesive system once the ball gets rolling.
For instance, minions cannot work without Food, so it's necessary to have a Tavern. On the other hand, they also need sleep, so you'll need a Den for them to rest in. Without these two buildings, nothing will get done. Like in the mines, for example, where goblins harvest Crystal, Gold and Iron for you to create new buildings, upgrade existing ones, and craft decorations in the Crafting menu with. Crafting is somewhat unique to Dungeon Overlord in the strategy PvP sub-genre. Crafting items, traps for invaders (more on that later) and other decorations requires the same resources as those used to create buildings. However, they're necessary for survival, forcing the use of resources into a conscious decision.
Though, there if there is one resource that will dictate your progress more than anything, it's Research. Done by Warlocks in the Library, Research allows players to discover new units to create, new buildings to construct and the ability to Raid other players and villages--the core of Dungeon Overlord. Once you're able to create Orcs, the brunt of your raiding parties, it's time to give the surface world a visit. From here, players can attack villages for resources or even other players' dungeons which will likely have the same defenses as your own.
While the game has immense charm, beautiful artwork and runs almost without a hitch in its beta phase, it suffers from the same issue all strategy games do on Facebook: it takes entirely too long to get into the meat of the game. Plain and simple. Building up even your first squad of Orc warriors will likely take hours if not days. However, Dungeon Overlord does keep things interesting and goal-oriented with quests.
This seemingly never-ending series of tasks will reward you with extra experience points, precious resources and a sense of direction. Just follow the quests and you should be fine, but don't expect to be out of the dungeon and into another player's within a day. This game is clearly not for those who are looking for that quick daily gaming fix.Things become somewhat claustrophobic and tedious in Dungeon Overlord before it gets better, but like we said, being the surly, maniacal villain isn't easy.
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