A wicked turn-based RPG villain simulator that brings a distinguished new meaning to the title “Dungeon Boss.”
A suitable working environment is hard to find. It’s even harder for a boss to maintain it, especially if the workers are expected to lay their lives on the line against pesky adventurers. In Legend of Keepers by Goblinz Studio, you’re hired as a contract dungeon boss to help Corporate protect its assets. It’s up to you to motivate your employees, balance your budget and keep those looters away from the gold. Thankfully, you’re one of the best around.
Taking the mantle of supervisor means making tough decisions. Each level starts you off with a set of minions and traps to deploy in whatever contract you decide to take. The dungeons are sectioned off into small rooms and most of them house a specific type of encounter that you set up. Designing a dungeon that can stop the enemy in their tracks is the name of the game, so you’ll always want to carefully check out the enemy party before you confirm your choices. This is especially true later in the game when your enemies gain access to camping rooms and other boons. While traps and spells are mostly one-shot effects, they soften up the enemies for the real threat: your monster employees.
Battles are fought in a turn-based Darkest Dungeon style. This is complete with standard RPG fare such as buffs and debuffs, along with both HP and morale bars for the foolhardy invaders, which gives you multiple ways to stop them. Each death squad you make will consist of 3 employees and each playable boss starts with a host of evil minions to command, with more being obtainable as you progress the corporate agenda of each level. The pixel art aesthetic shines most in these sequences with beautiful animations that showcase the carnage perfectly while bringing each character to life on screen. This is backed up with some meaty sound effects and some great voice lines that immerse you in the dark aesthetic of the game.
When you’ve successfully defended your dungeon, it’s back to the office to manage the agenda. Your budget consists of the acquisition of blood upon killing enemies, sweat that’s earned by scaring them off, and good, old-fashioned gold. When you’re not fending off adventurers, you’ll be making sure employees aren’t getting overworked, organizing company outings, fending off tax collecting vampires, or any other multitude of issues that arise in the office. These are paid for by the assets in your budget and diversification of them is necessary to make good management decisions.
These events are varied and offer a wide variety of gameplay interactions to spice up office life. These can be training sessions to make an employee level up or missions to dark sanctuaries where wicked spells are cast upon incoming adventurer parties. There are also plenty of office happenings and water cooler talk to tend to, with some having hilarious or brutal results. Whether it be a fight between employees you can break up (or encourage), or one of your administrators approaching you for a test subject for traps, you’ll always want to make the right decision for you and your workers.
While good planning and preparedness are rewarded in spades, creating a plan around the rogue-lite randomness is where the challenge lies. While Legend of Keepers does a great job of easing you into each level, proceeding through the agenda can quickly go awry since poor decision-making isn’t always apparent. Each decision must be carefully considered if you want to make progress at a reasonable rate, as often your mistakes aren’t felt until they’ve piled up at the end of the level.
This can make learning painful, especially since your boss dying at any point of the level means you have to start it all over again. You will learn to carefully consider each decision you make to progress through each stage. This dynamic fits perfectly with the professional tone of your NPC interactions in the game, for better or worse. Upon completing every stage for a selected boss, you’ll unlock their Endless and Ascendency modes for an added challenge or endless gameplay. These modes are great and offer some of the better experiences in the game, making them rewarding to unlock and play.
Legend of Keepers is a unique blend of gameplay elements. When it works, it nails the fantasy of being a boss in a dungeon, using your keen planning to lead your minions to battle and fend off idiotic scavengers from your corporate cache. If you don’t know exactly how to navigate the agenda, however, the learning curve could prove to be a bit harsh. Since small mistakes take experience to spot and avoid, your first few defenses will most likely end in frustrating failure. This is especially true with the unpredictable rogue-lite elements shaking it all up with each new run. For those willing to stick it out through a few losses, Legend of Keepers is a fun and unique RPG/sim experience with a killer aesthetic.
– Fantastic pixel art
– Great sound design
– Deep turn-based combat featuring a huge roster of monsters
– Immersive and addictive gameplay loop
– Tough learning curve
– No mid-level checkpoints
4 out of 5
Steam review key provided by Homerun PR. Legend of Keepers is Out Now!