Of all the great Bullfrog games – and there were many – Dungeon Keeper is arguably the most beloved. Many a developer has tried to recapture the feeling of "Evil is Good." Dungeon Overlord from Sony Online Entertainment and Night Owl Games has the same hopes, but in a multiplayer casual environment – which, as it turns out, may have been too lofty and difficult a goal.
My first encounter with Dungeon Overlord brought memories of late-night gaming sessions spent torturing minions rushing back. Overlord is spot-on accurate in its attention to detail, witty animations, and subtle manipulations of creatures. (Shock an orc, anyone?)
Though the theme is drawn from Dungeon Keeper, the gameplay of Overlord feels similar to Kingdoms of Camelot – or, even more accurately, browser-based titles such as Evony or Ikariam. Players start by building their dungeons inside volcanoes, harvesting the necessary resources to create a lengthy list of items and supplies that grows longer with each level. Over time, the player can move into dungeons in other volcanoes (those that spawn different resources), trade for his needs, or begin a campaign of raiding other players to keep in stock.
But despite the similarities, Dungeon Overlord misses the mark that Kingdom of Camelot seems to hit so well. It’s highly polished, well-written, has incredible art direction — and yet it simply feels like a game intended for another audience. Given the amount of work that obviously went into Overlord, and the storied pedigree itdraws from, we got in touch with Chris Mayer, CEO of Night Owl Games, to talk about the design decisions behind their first (and SOE’s sixth) Facebook title.
Subscribe to Daily Browser Games News!