Live the life of dungeon master in Dungeons 3, a game with clear inspirations but takes the management mechanics in an interesting direction. Gameplay includes a vast 20 mission campaign (co-op available) amongst a multiplayer skirmish mode and a survival format in the base game which is expanded further through several DLC releases.
Set in a far off fantasy land players infect the mind of the dark elf priestess Thalya, convincing her to give into her dark urges and conquer the goodly game world and serve as your hero. With this quest in mind you’ll adventure throughout the world facing different situations, defeating leaders of the heroes and ultimately spreading darkness.
Regardless of level a core gameplay mechanic is the use of two separate game maps that splits your underground dungeon and the surface world (inhabited by heroes) with dungeon entrances allowing you to move your units between them. The underground dungeon serves as your base where you’ll build rooms in order to care for the creatures that you’ll recruit to your dark cause.
reatures can be either Horde, Undead or Void which each have their own uses and utilities to consider from combat prowess, production abilities and special mechanics around their death. Adjusting and balancing your army is always a key consideration to ensure you have a balanced fighting force (or imbalanced if that is the strategy you want to pursue).
Each level though requires you to slowly build up your dungeon and creature strength before you can adventure in the overworld. In order to do so you’ll need to mine out gold below ground to build rooms while also raiding the overworld for evil which can upgrade your technology tree for new rooms, creatures, spells, traps and other rooms.
The heroes above ground though won’t just sit back and let you overtake their kingdom though and will send regular raiding parties to destroy your dungeon heart and banish you from the land. While your creatures are adept at handling heroes larger groups will need support from your arsenal of spells and traps.
On top of the core game Dungeons 3 has released several expansion packs to build on the campaign with additional unique campaign levels (although mechanics remain unchanged), added voice acting, new Thalya costumes and new evilness hubs which all feature fantastic designs to make the overworld feel that much more evil as you take it over. These new impressive designs make it even more enjoyable to claim every single point of interest for yourself and watch it transfer into a twisted version of the original landmark.
These DLC include Once Upon A Time that takes you through Fairyland to fight against The Good Fairy. The highlight of which is utilising hordes of explosive sheep to bring down her defences (or heroes that get in the way) in one of the new levels. The timing of when these sheep are utilised are particularly important to conquer the level and varies the mechanics that you’ve become accustomed to previously in the main campaign.
While the second DLC release (Evil of the Carribbean) transfroms Thalya into a pirate with 3 holiday themed campaign levels that see a relaxing trip to the paradise known as Turtoga resulting in smuggling rum and facing off against Cthollho, the tentacle creature. For those die hard Dungeons 3 fans the rum running level in particular is the toughest level to date when played on hellish with perfect timing and planning required to overcome (having a co-operative partner is a must).
The third DLC offers you a taste of playing as the good guys with the opening level requiring players to summon heroes to push back the evilness and recapture the city of Strombreeze. Players will no doubt be thrown off guard by this level which despite not being the core gameplay of Dungeons 3 is well designed and engaging despite not having a base building mechanic.
Instead during this campaign level players will generate gold to spend on recruiting heroes who can be further upgraded at certain weapon racks around the map, choosing which heroes to upgrade is both important and oddly satisfying as you rip through evil creatures with high level wizards who only a level before were the most deadly enemies a group could face.
No sooner have you reclaimed the lands though and you’ll be back in control of your familiar Thalya to reclaim them in the name of evil and resume the established dungeon building formula of the base game and past expansions. Converted heroes are also a staple to these 3 new campaign levels and are central to your strategy in the last level in particular which adds some extra variety to the standard strategies you’ve mastered up to this point.
The pinnacle of the Dungeons 3 experience lies within what we thought was going to be the final DLC, Clash of Gods though. Placing you against the Goddess herself in this expansion to settle the score for once and for all. Unlike the previous DLCs players will also be greeted with a total of 8 fully voice acted new levels making it the most bountiful DLC to date. Under the scenes are even more improvements that make Clash of Gods mechanically challenging and adds more variety to the gameplay loop that you would have by now mastered.
For instance spiders and heroes will now be more aggressive in their attacks by establishing bases underground, meaning that invading heroes and spider lairs can no longer go unchecked as they can quickly multiply. Additionally outposts have been added above ground where you can place your own defensive towers for overworld presence or construct statues instead that offer passive bonuses such as extra evilness generation or no horde payday. Clash of Gods also introduces some fresh spells and traps for you to try out different strategies to those you’ve already mastered.
As if all of that wasn’t enough An Unexpected DLC launched in February 2019 added once again 3 more challenging maps alongside. This time revolving around the story of the Queen of the Forest you’ll once again line up a Dungeon of minions to conquer the land above and dispatch another hero from their throne. A new enemy type known as the Rootling also joins the ranks of enemies although they are little more than an annoyance with limited health meaning they pose little long term threat to players.
Whether you’re managing your dungeon design underground or commanding your party of creatures above ground Dungeons 3 is an enjoyably evil experience. While the core game is a fantastic stand alone experience true evil dungeon masters won’t be able to resist the additional DLC levels.
- Build your underground dungeon and conquer the overworld of heroes.
- Recruit creatures from the Horde, Undead and Void.
- Research spells and traps for further combat efficiency.
- Play through 20 campaign levels solo or as co-op (and even more in the expansion packs).
- Available across Windows, Mac and Linux
- Buy Dungeons 3 (GOG)
- Buy Dungeons 3 (Humble Store)
- Buy Dungeons 3 (PlayStation Store)
- Buy Dungeons 3 (Microsoft Store)
Review Platform: PC