HomeReviews4.5/5 ReviewDungeons 4 Review

Dungeons 4 Review

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Having not played Dungeons 3, nor Dungeons 1 or 2 for that matter, I’m clearly the best person to be set the task of checking out Dungeons 4, no? 

Dungeons 4 from Realmforge Studios and Kalypso Media sees us taking the part of an evil force that has to try and recover its most trusted servant, a Dark Elf called Thalya. Playing out as a somewhat strategic game (which is obviously why I was nominated), does Dungeons 4 have enough to keep us away from the other various strategy games available?

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Very much a game of two halves

Dungeons 4 is set up very much as a game of two halves, with us having access to the Overworld, where the heroes live and where Thalya is being held, and the Underworld; the spot where we build our dungeon and forces, hoping to attack the Overworld. In a nice touch, while the two realms look distinctly different, as we attack and take territory up above, the terrain changes to reflect our hold, and hell can truly be said to come to Earth. The creatures that we command, and the heroes that we have to fight, are a very well designed bunch, with quite a lot of variety in the various units obtainable.

There comes the opportunity to choose from the Horde, traditional fantasy monsters such as orcs and goblins, Demons which are a bunch of fire based creatures who can go through ranks of heroes like a hot knife through butter, or the Undead – their main claim to fame being the fact that they don’t need to fear Death! Each unit is well designed and animated, and choosing where you want your forces to go is as simple as picking them up and throwing them. 

And the way that the levels are laid out allows this with ease. The camera is shown from an isometric viewpoint, as you may expect, and while it can only be rotated through a small arc before going back to the usual view, it is easy to see what is going on. The sound is also good, with voiced cutscenes and some very amusing conversations between Thalya and her captors in place alongside the usual range of fighting noises.  

With something like Dungeons 4, you’d expect the story to be a high point. It is in fact pretty simple, to be honest, but more effective because of its simplicity. Thalya is a Dark Elf and a pretty bad one at that, it appears. She has killed her adoptive father, and attempted to kill her step brother Tristan too. However, she fails and instead is captured. It’s here where we come in and whilst we lack a corporeal form, making it difficult to pull off a rescue, we can certainly control the armies of evil to get a rescue underway. 

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Ready to take on the challenge of Dungeons 4?

Gameplay takes place as classic strategy fodder. Each level starts out with a throne room, complete with a large crystal, called the Heart of the Dungeon; this is what we need to protect at all costs. You see, while we are building our dungeon underground, and getting our forces together into a well oiled fighting machine, the enemies of evil are not sitting on their hands. Whether it be Dwarves who are determined to come in and steal the gold that belongs to us, through to incursions of heroes from the Overworld, the dungeon is never truly safe. 

Luckily, as our Little Snots (the workers), dig out the ground in order to make rooms that we need, they also can dig up mana and gold, and so we need a room to store these things in. In order to build anything, or even to get new units, we have to spend resources to research them first, and so choosing which rooms and units to focus on can have a big effect on the rest of the level. Building a treasury is usually a good place to start, and a Gobbler Farm, as the creatures we hire want to eat. Beyond that, the next most pressing thing is a workshop and the researching of traps in order to give unwanted visitors a warm welcome. 

From there it is entirely up to you what to do and how to grow your dungeon, and this is the great thing about this game; the complete freedom to do it your way. Think of it like a fantasy Command & Conquer if you will – time taken to build up your resources is never wasted, and an Orc or Demon blitz is a lot more fun than a tank rush to take out the enemy bases. The depth of Dungeons 4 is where the real pleasure lies, with individual units gaining EXP as they fight and level up. But each unit also wants to have its needs met, from food to wages – if you don’t, units can and will go on strike. 

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Treasures!

Obviously, that last paragraph is all about the story mode, but there is more on offer. There is a Skirmish mode included in Dungeons 4, where the objective is just to have a battle and to see who comes out on top. The same strategies apply as in the main story mode but it is interesting to see how your skills match up. There is also a two player co-op option, where each person builds their own dungeon before trying to wipe the Overworld clean of heroes. 

The freedom that is afforded to you in Dungeons 4, allowing you to win in your own way, is very refreshing. The opportunities for researching and building a dungeon to your liking are great, even if the levels do tend to bleed into each other after a while. If I had one complaint it would be that a bit of freedom on the camera would have been nice, but mostly, there is little to complain about in terms of how Dungeons 4 plays.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Great depth and freedom to build your way
  • Research the things you want
  • Great presentation make playing the game fun
Cons:
  • Camera is restricted
  • Gets a bit samey after a few levels
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Kalypso Media
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), PS5, PC
  • Release date and price - 9 November 2023 | £44.99
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Great depth and freedom to build your way</li> <li>Research the things you want</li> <li>Great presentation make playing the game fun</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Camera is restricted</li> <li>Gets a bit samey after a few levels</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Kalypso Media</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), PS5, PC <li>Release date and price - 9 November 2023 | £44.99</li> </ul>Dungeons 4 Review
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