|Genre||Not a dungeon village manager|
It’s been a while since I played a Kairosoft game, not since May with the extremely lackluster Epic Astro Story. It’s easy to say it’s that game that put me off for another six months, but the Kairosoft formula as a whole can really drag on a gamer after a half dozen games.
But Dungeon Village was on super sale at the Google Play store, and it seems like it should be right up my alley: build up a Japanese RPG village which will house an inn full of heroes. Some of my earliest gaming experiences were with Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy 1, the nostalgia of my youth was calling me to a game I could play on my phone in the bathroom.
Dungeon Village was released in March for Android and iOS, this review is for the Android version.
Something that has attracted me to Kairosoft games over the last two years are the different ways the games give you feedback on your performance. Most of the time, you’re just seeing bigger numbers, whether it’s money or people or damage, but sometimes they pull something wonderful off like in Pocket League Story or Grand Prix Story. Seeing all the time you put into the game actually translate into a soccer game or car race playing out in front of your eyes is pretty stellar feedback. Dungeon Village wants to reach those same heights, but fails in the execution.
The goal of Dungeon Village is to attract a variety of adventurers to your town so they can defeat monsters in the nearby field and go on quests to find loot for you. Your own town will level up as it reaches goals and be able to expand its land, earn more money, build more shops, and attract more adventurers.
You start with an inn, a weapon shop, and a flower shop, and can immediately build an armory. The first wave of adventurers will wander in and begin beating on the various weak baddies outside your gate, they earn you money which you can spend on going on quests or building more service buildings, and that’s pretty much the whole game.
Your initial inn is pretty much the only one you ever need, and isn’t special in any way or the focal point of an RPG town like it should be. It’s just a building adventurers go into when they need to rest up and exit when they’re done. Same for the weapon and armor shops, which aren’t there to actually sell the adventurers items, but to sell items to you which you then equip on them manually. The rest of the buildings fall under either a school of some sort to upgrade the stats of warriors who will pay for it, or a shop of some sort to upgrade the stats of warriors who will pay for it. You can also build homes for adventurers who decide to stick around permanently.
The actual village of Dungeon Village has no character or soul. Buildings can be placed basically anywhere as long as they’re next to a road, little rhyme or reason is required for placement. There are some minor bonuses available for figuring out an ideal layout, but not worth the time or effort. This is, honestly, all very typical Kairosoft so I’m not sure why I’m complaining.
The field portion of the game randomly generates monsters that the local adventurers will fight. They’re typically either way too strong or way too weak, so most of the time adventurers are just sitting on the ground recovering. Dungeons will become available that you can send a party of volunteers on, but there’s nothing personable about these either. Little icons just plod along at the bottom of the screen and collect loot and fight monsters. It’s even less interesting than the actual fights going on in the field, which when actual fighting is happening can be somewhat entertaining.
Events can be held to boost adventurer or town stats, and weapons and armor can be purchased for anyone at any time to try and balance the odds against the monsters. Adventurer classes can be changed and medals can be awarded for good service at the end of the year. There will sometimes be a godzilla like monster that invades the field which requires immediate attention, but that is the only semblance of a story in Dungeon Village. The graphics are Kairosoft graphics, cute and descriptive.
This isn’t a terrible game by any measure, it’s more fun than Epic Astro Story to be sure, but Dungeon Village is just another disappointing outing for the developer. There is so much potential in this kind of title, just look at how Recettear successfully translated managing an RPG item shop into a full game. Dungeon Village, on the other hand, has no ambition, no real goal into making this like an actual JRPG village. Kairosoft is just copying and pasting from their previous games and changing the setting.