Dungeons 3 is the new strategy simulation game developed by Realmforge Studios, as a sequel to their previous Dungeons 2. Following on from the Ultimate Evil’s domination of his land, we travel far across the seas to conquer new lands. Taking control of new heroes, minions and abilities to take down the annoying Good. Just like Dungeons 2, we play the evil side of the game, changing from the very first game of the series.
The game starts off giving us a brief recap of Dungeons 2, where the Destructive Evil had conquered all of the lands he walks on. Setting his eyes to his room, the Bored Evil has nothing to do with no more conquest at hand. After so much time of wallowing the Eureka filled Evil finds that a continent lies across the ocean, ready to be conquered. Putting his minions to build him ships he sets off an army to take over the new world.
Sadly, minions are terrible at building ships and each attempt at voyage is met with disaster. The intelligent Evil then sends a portion of his power across the ocean in the form of a shadow, to possess a new vessel to do his bidding. He finds a Dark Elf named Thalya who suppresses her Evil side, corrupting her and turning her into his new lieutenant. From here we control both our Dark Elf, the Disembodied Evil’s hand of darkness and countless minions. Taking control of the new land whilst taking out the Good that prevails there.
Throughout the story you will receive monologues and dialogues from both the Narrator and Thalya, having a bit of back and forth to develop their characters and keep the player entertained. These talks can be rather funny, pulling on nostalgia when they reference your favourite show or game, but it does become a bit grating when the comedy is forced on you for hours on end. The focus on comedy does distract from the story somewhat, as at times it feels like they do not care as much for the story and setting as they do for cheap laughs.
Each mission in Dungeons 3 lasts between 30 minutes and 1 hour depending on how long you spend on setting up and the mission itself. The full game ships with 20 missions, totalling up to 20 hours of gameplay. I got up to about 28 hours, from playing the tutorial missions and main missions combined, though I do prefer to amass large armies before an attack. Thankfully Dungeons 3 gives off many signs of an addictive game, especially when I was up till 3am some nights with it.
This time can be extended, by completing both of the 2 challenges in each of the missions, from completing it within a certain amount of time, saving prisoners, having a larger army made of 1 type of unit and using specific powers to kill heroes. The challenges are indeed challenging, especially when it comes to the time-constrained ones.
The gameplay of Dungeons 3 is split up into 2 halves, the production and underground segment and the RTS over-world. Whilst you are underground in your lair you will be building rooms, passageways and traps. In the lair you can train new minions, mine for gold and mana as well as generally improving yourself or that of your army. In the over-world you will control a group of minions, from singular units like Goblins to hordes of undead. These units are controlled by selecting them with the left click and right-clicking on places to move or attack.
Underground you will be building Hideouts, to allow your Horde units to sleep, Graveyards for undead and Vortexes for Demons. If you have these facilities your units can heal underground. To allow them to level up past level 4, you will need Ale for Horde units, Mana baths for Demons and Shrines for Undead. Levels increase the health, damage and defence of your units. Besides these facilities you can also build Workshops to get toolboxes and tinkers caverns to build traps.
In the Over-world you will need to be taking over fonts of Evilness, to generate evilness every few seconds, Hero camps, to stop heroes from spawning and bases from the enemy. Each mission comes with some additional tasks, like destroy towers, stopping food deliveries and the like. To complete a mission you will need to complete the main objective, mostly to kill a lieutenant or all opposing forces.
In Dungeons 3 you have 3 main resources at hand, Gold, which is used to purchase minions and build rooms, Mana, to summon Demons as well as healing them and to use spells, and finally Evilness which is used with Gold to upgrade minions and facilities in the tech tree. Gold is gained from gold veins, Mana is found in the underground and can be generated by 2 demons at a Mana shrine room you build and Evilness is generated by fonts of evilness in the over-world if you control them, or through turning heroes into undead within your prison rooms. Evilness becomes a bit useless towards the later levels and end-game, as I found myself constantly at 10000 of the stuff, where my gold was suffering near the low 1000s.
As you progress through the game you will also be able to summon Titans, coming in 3 different forms, 1 for each type of unit you can summon, undead, horde and demon. These are mostly just pricey units that can deal or take a lot more damage than normal, helping to boost the power of your armies. These units are best suited for the player to control, especially the defensive Titan to force them into a defence stance.
Besides the main campaign, you can also select skirmish mode, to fight it out against a normal mission style level in 1 of 3 maps. You can also select Endless, to fight a never-ending map against heroes who constantly teleport into your dungeon. Or you can select Survive, to fight against increasingly powerful heroes, ending with 20 waves of such beings.
Overall thoughts and feelings
The music in Dungeons 3 is very fitting, going for a fantastical orchestral sound, with plenty of violins, drums and energetic tunes. There are action-packed tracks for battle and times of urgency to mellow music for times of peace and construction. Sadly, the more I played the more problems I found with the music switching, as hitting your little snots to speed them up will change the music to battle, when no battle is being fought. The sound effects are well made, with some comedic twist thrown in for good measure. There are some parts of the game where sound effects are repeated too often or are spammed, especially during ranged combat and mass building, this annoyance is increased even more when wearing headphones.
Dungeons 3 has a consistent incline in difficulty, with adding in a few levels that force you to win with a certain unit or amount of units, similar to other RTS games. The units are well balanced, but it still falls behind in their ranged department for balance, as with many other games, ranged units can kill many waves of heroes without taking any damage. There are also sometimes where I wish there was a speedup button, due to the wait required at times to build up your forces.
As I continued playing, I found more and more bugs, nothing game breaking or horrible, more pathing issues. There were many times where my units would get stuck on a tree, go inside the walls of the dungeon, or Thalya walking over pits. They are easily fixed by forcing them to move in another direction, but it can get a bit annoying at times when your army is 15 units large.
Overall Dungeons 3 gets an 8/10, it was surprisingly very enjoyable, keeping me up till many a late hour in the morning. The game still has some problems like unit pathing, unit balance and adjusting of sound effects. The story is straightforward, leaning a bit much on its comedic approach to Evilness and the jokes thrown around here and there. It makes plenty of references to other media, like Warcraft, Lord of the Rings, Vampire the Masquerade and general RPGs. If you were a fan of Dungeons 2 you should enjoy Dungeons 3, though the graphical style has changed a bit over the years. Fans of RTS games should also really enjoy this game.