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What Is Dungeon Inc.?
Dungeon Inc. is a Cookie Clicker–style game for Android and iOS. It is a gold management production game developed by PIKPOK. It currently has over 1 million downloads on the Play Store.
If you are familiar with the standard gold production management format, then the basic format of this one won't surprise you. It has the basic setup that you would expect from a game like Cookie Clicker or Egg Inc.
The objective of the game is to amass as much gold as possible. In order to do this, you must invest in increasing your incoming gold. Despite its similarities to other clicker games, this game does have some unique twists that make it stand out from the crowd.
This is my review of Dungeon Inc. I have amassed a fair few hours on this game and overall think it's worth a play if you are into this kind of clicker/idle game, although it definitely has room to improve.
Basic Game Progression
I will start with the basic gameplay that will attract players to this game. The gold production elements of the game seem to be quite balanced with nice progression. As with most games within this genre, there is an opportunity to reset your gold production for the benefit of permanent buffs to your gold income for future iterations of game play.
One interesting aspect of this basic game play is that Dungeon Inc. does not restrict you on when you should reset your dungeon for these benefits. It instead offers a soft cap, in which it becomes very slow to progress beyond a certain point. You typically know when you have hit this point and need some of the more powerful buffs that resetting your dungeon offers.
To me this is a bonus, as it offers a level of freedom so that you can approach the game in your own strategy. For me personally, I like to rack up as many buffs as possible before resetting, where as others may be more keen on resetting often to have a more incremental approach to the game.
The buffs feel generous and rewarding so that game play doesn't feel flat or tedious, particularly at lower levels.
Heroes and Events
The theme of the game is a monster-run dungeon. The game features events that occur every couple of minutes in the form of raiding parties on your dungeon. You can equip heroes in order to defend your dungeon. If you lose, you lose gold. If you win, you gain gold and experience points for your creatures.
This add a great dynamic to the game that keeps you interested while waiting for your gold to stack up. Although it offers a lot of bonuses for completing, there is no mandatory need to complete these. At times it can feel a bit like a mini-game as the benefits of your creature rarely impacts the performance of your gold production. It would be good to see your creatures having a larger impact on the actual gold production management, of which Monsters Inc. is based.
The game also features online modes such that you can raid other players dungeons and they can raid yours for bonus points. There is a nice reward system based on your ladder position every few days. This is a really nice addition to the game and adds a competitive element that you don't often see in this genre.
The growing trend in modern mobile gaming is idle progression. A very interesting aspect of Dungeon Inc. is the bonuses that the game offers for both active and passive game play.
Many of the dungeon buffs over an extremely large percentage to your income based on your time outside of the game. Strange that the game encourages passive play, right? Whilst you are outside of the game many of the events do not occur. So it really offers some nice benefits whether you want to be more active or more of a passive player.
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As there is a large mix of passive and active play a real positive of this game is that you can play as much or as little as you like and not feel too punished for it. There doesn't ever feel like there are long periods of waiting whilst playing this game but you also don't feel pressured to dedicate your entire life to it either. Very nicely done by the developers.
As already mentioned this game features heroes (or monsters) that defend your dungeon as well as raid other players dungeons. This adds a really nice twist to the typical clicker game and adds a tower defence / RPG feel to the game.
There are not very many heroes and the individual heroes, although characterised well, have few varying effects on the game. It would be nice if the monsters gave a bigger reward to gold production and were more relevant outside of the tower defence side of the game.
That being said, the characters themselves have been very well design aesthetically. The artwork and sound effects are pretty nice honestly and it adds to the whole "feel" of the game.
In a world were eSports is prevalent, competitive aspects of games are hugely important. The modern day gaming crowd loves to be competitive and challenged by other players. Therefore I was very nicely surprised when I realised that this game "like Cookie Clicker" features a unique player versus player aspect not focused on the gold generation.
My biggest disappointment with the online element is that there isn't a great deal of personalisation to the strategies that you can use. There are only a few heroes to chose from so very often you run into the same ones. The only real strategy that you can employ is deciding what order to deploy your monsters. Some extra abilities would be very welcome for this aspect of the game.
The overall theme of a game is so important for attracting and retaining a player base. One thing that Dungeon Inc. has is a defined and well-executed theme.
The artwork, game play, soundtrack, humour, etc. is all really nice and is entertaining to play in its own right.
The general design of the characters and animations in the background build up a whole theme that really works for this game type. It also features its events and "prestige resets" (gold production reset) around this theme which is delivered very successfully.
The game features some good humour, with the whole game based around an evil organisation that is running an insurance scam. Overall the game doesn't take itself too serious and on countless occasions made me chuckle to myself.
The music and soundtrack is not something that is considered incredibly important in this game genre. That being said, the overall soundtrack to this game is great.
It's Not Microtransaction-Heavy
One of the biggest turn offs in modern day gaming is the dreaded microtransactions. This game does feature microtransactions; however, they do not feel incredibly necessary, particularly to the gold production aspects of Dungeon Inc.
There are percentage bonuses that can be unlocked on a temporary basis in exchange for watching an advert, which feels like a good trade off for me personally as opposed to a true micro transaction.
Unlocking and upgrading your monsters is the only thing that paying will help to develop. This will help to develop your raiding and defence team, player versus player, but overall doesn't seem to vital. A bonus in my book.
Conclusion: An Engaging Game With a Lot of Potential
Overall Dungeon Inc. feels like a game which features a lot of good bits from many different genres.
It is interesting and engaging with the many different elements that it covers. It feels casual but with some competitive elements to it. The overall delivery of the game is very good. The artwork and soundtrack really make the gaming experience, whilst the basic mechanics of a gold production game make it fun an interesting for those that enjoy this style of game.
More Development Is Needed
It has a lot of features, but some still feel a bit empty. The raiding and monsters are a great addition to the game, but it still feels as though the game developers could do more with this. Overall I would like to see the monsters add more unique buffs and benefits to your gold production whilst the gold production should have more of an impact onto your monsters. If this is coupled with more strategy to raiding other players bases, it would open up a lot of opportunities for players to pick their own play style rather than following a linear path as the game presents it currently. This would also bring the two halves of the game closer together, in my opinion.
In summary I really enjoyed my time playing this game. The diverse approach to game play makes it feel like you can play as much or as little as you like without feeling like you lose out too much. This makes it great for people with a busy schedule that are looking to fill the gap.