By releasing a new version of Dungeon Keeper for mobile devices EA have essentially torn the throbbing dungeon heart out of this classic game. How? By copying the pricing structure which has been a major bugbear to me that is inherent in most supposed ‘free to play’ games and essentially pouring a vat of syrup over the original fun gameplay.
Anyone foolish enough to play this mockery of a game is faced with a dilemma – either wait for ages for stuff to get built or upgraded, imps to cut through hard rock seams, and minions to be trained etc. or spend real money on gems which come in short supply for free but can be bought and used to speed time up. For me it was not a difficult choice – I wasn’t willing to give EA a single penny. I decided to be patient and try and eke out that free fun, but I would have rather spent a few quid to buy the game if it didn’t involve this ‘buy this stuff to progress at a quicker rate’ revenue raising technique.
It’s a crying shame and knowing EA I doubt they will do anything to fix this game despite gamers across the world bemoaning the design and original chicken kicker Peter Molyneux chipping in his four penneth worth. For those who don’t know, Molyneux created the original game and then grew to gamer stardom as the chief creative behind the Fable series. From what I read on the BBC news yesterday, he doesn’t like what they’ve done either. Any FIFA fan will tell you that there’s no such thing as a free lunch from EA. They are a business and they intend to make money; even, it seems, at the cost of despoiling a classic.
I don’t want to play Dungeon Keeper by dipping in and out of it based on a calendar reminder saying that perhaps if I log in next Thursday my imp might have finished digging out a chunk of rock. Dungeon Keeper worked so well in its original form and subsequent PC based iterations because of its immersive gameplay, not because you could schedule it in around other stuff. I recall fondly enjoying wasting hours on the game and don’t remember once being frustrated by how long it took to do anything.
It was a blessing in disguise when Dungeon Keeper last night reset itself after two days of play and I ended up being invited by Horny to start from scratch. I uninstalled the game and by doing so protected what was left of my fond memories of the original.