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Developers Realmforge Studios firmly cemented their name as the frontrunner in the dungeon building genre with the third instalment of their real-time strategy Dungeons series, Dungeons 3. That’s why there’s much excitement for the upcoming Dungeons 4, which is supposed to be bigger, better, and filled with even more dynamic Evilness to satisfy your wicked ways.
Fortunately for me, I was recently invited to a virtual presentation by the Creative Director at Realmforge Studios, Christian Wolfertstetter. Having witnessed the pure evilness of Dungeons 4, I can now share my insight and prepare you for what to expect.
Dungeons 4 picks up where its predecessor left off. The Dark Elf Thalya returns from a well-earned vacation after slaying her adopted father Tanos, only to be met with her do-gooder step-brother Tristan stepping up to fight for what’s right. Defeating such small fry is easy work for Thalya and she retrieves a powerful gauntlet as her trophy for doing so. Little does she know that one click of the fingers using this remarkable gauntlet would decimate a large proportion of the evil army.
It’s now left to Thalya to rebuild and ensure Absolute Evil runs roughshod all over the good that remains in this world.
What’s clear is that, although it’s nice to familiarise yourself with the main character and the setting by playing previous entries of the series, it’s not essential to enjoy the narrative of Dungeons 4. The story itself seems full of humour and tons of cultural references are seamlessly woven into it. Everything that happens is narrated with incredible wit and dryness too. Even just the brief scenes showcased here possessed enough funny moments to draw out a few genuine chuckles from me.
The campaign spans over twenty missions, with various objectives set out for Thalya – and you, obviously – to complete. Ultimately though, you need to build a dungeon in the underworld in order to nurture and grow your evil horde. This means putting those grubby little snots to work, digging out parts of the environment for you to construct an array of useful rooms there. Rooms such as gobbler farms to feed the horde creatures, a treasury to store gold, and the Vault of Evilness for storing the all-important evilness earned. The Necrodancicon chillout area for keeping the undead’s morale high is a personal highlight for sure as it’s a prime example of the silliness you should anticipate.
Moving on, and with the horde at your behest, you can command the units to attack the goodness found in the lush overworld. To give you an added edge, Thalya has a range of special skills, like the shadow tentacles, to unleash upon any fool who dares stand in your way. Furthermore, up to three perks or passive skills can be equipped for Thalya, which could increase damage and provide cool abilities geared towards specific factions. Decimating heroes and good-natured enemies like the oversized hypno-frog will reward the necessary evilness to expand and improve the dungeon.
There might be unwanted guests in your dungeon, hellbent on damaging the literal heart of it. Whether it’s the pesky dwarves who share the underground area, vicious spiders, or a band of adventurous heroes, the lair requires protection. So it’s a good job you can place all sorts of traps, including the spiked hamster wheel, saw blades, cannons firing explosive beer at trespassers, and more. Heck, the environment is a potential deathtrap with boiling hot lava in some parts that’s just waiting to have someone pushed into it. Due to the ragdoll physics, watching enemies meet their demise in Dungeons 4 is mildly amusing.
The icing on the cake is the fact you’ll have the option to cause mischief alongside a friend in two-player co-op. Not only is it possible to run through the entire campaign in co-op, but you can also drag someone along for more fun on the five individual skirmish maps that will be in place at launch.
Factoring in that the maps in Dungeons 4 are four times bigger than previous offerings, the story has the potential to be the funniest so far, and there’s a great selection of creative new traps and constructs, it actually could be the best instalment to-date. In fact, I’m impressed to the point that I’ll have to fire up Dungeons 3 to tide me over until the release date arrives.
At least there’s not too long to wait before your evil tendencies can let loose as Dungeons 4 is releasing on 9th November for Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, and PC. It’s all going to be launching straight into Game Pass too.
A huge thanks to Kalypso Media for the opportunity to attend the presentation and get a look at the game in action.
Be sure to get in touch and let us know whether you’ll be checking out Dungeons 4 at launch by dropping a comment in the section below!