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Dungeon Keeper Returns

...to iOS. As a free-to-play game. By EA. Yeah, you know where this is going.

Continuing its trend of taking beloved franchises, putting them through the free-to-play wringer and then expecting everyone to carry on as if everything is just fine and dandy, EA has seen fit to bring us a freemium remake of Peter Molyneux and Bullfrog's classic strategy series Dungeon Keeper.

This isn't the first time EA has done this with Bullfrog's back catalog. The last time was with Theme Park, which was a stinking, fetid, moldy old cheese of a game that gained notoriety through the fact that it had individual rides that would cost the equivalent of $70 in in-game currency to purchase. Oh, and it completely removed the whole "business sim" aspect of the original game, turning it into a Zynga-esque tapfest.

Dungeon Keeper is the work of Mythic, who previously brought us the execrable Ultima Forever. It at least has a smidge more depth than Theme Park's mobile incarnation in that it's ripping off the Clash of Clans "midcore" (yes, that really is a word that the people behind these games use) strategy-lite model rather than the utterly depth-free FarmVille model, but it's still riddled with wait timers and premium currency -- even the tutorial urges you to make use of "gems" on more than one occasion, otherwise the already tedious, handholdy process it drags you through takes even longer than it already does.


And it's a shame to see the game gutted by a freemium model like this, because some of the ideas are sound -- if not exactly in keeping with the original game's vision, nor particularly well-implemented. You dig out a dungeon, you place rooms that unlock defensive structures and other goodies, then you either work your way through a campaign, sending your minions into rival dungeons to win cash, fame and glory, or battle against other players.

It's just a shame that all strategic depth has been sucked out of the game, only to be replaced with something that pays the most basic of lipservice to its source material while attempting to extract as much money from you as possible. And, this being an EA mobile game, you can, of course, spend up to $100 on it in one go if you really have nothing better to throw your money at.

In case you want to punish yourself and sully fond memories of the original game, here's the App Store link. Or, y'know, you could just get the original or its sequel on GOG.com.

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