Dungeon Village Review: Fun and Addicting Retro RPG Sim
Do you love Kairosoft sims? There’s more and more people out there who do. The company has an incredible track record of mining different genres and applying their retro-cute management sim game design to each one. Their latest, Dungeon Village, is no exception. It’s colorful, fun, and deceptively simple, and it does a good job of leveraging fantasy RPG elements.
The scenario is nothing new to management sims or Kairosoft games: you are in control of a developing community that you must nurture and grow. In this case, it’s a medieval village you’re tending, surrounded by a hostile and unexplored wilderness. Your town’s economy is build around attracting and outfitting adventurers who defeat monsters, explore locations, and win you gold and items. As you go, your town earns ranks, as is typical for a Kairosoft game. Your ultimate goal is to reach 5 stars, something you do by filling conditions for income, town development, and popularity.
If this all sounds familiar to you, then you’ve probably played Epic Astro Story or Venture Towns. Kairosoft isn’t breeaking the mold here. What sets Dungeon Village apart is its leveraging of fantasy RPG elements, which really appealed to the geek in me. Equipping knights and mages before sending them off to explore spooky caverns and defeat dragons is much more fulfilling than training average citizens to be the best banker or artist they can.
Also not breaking from the Kairosoft mold is the presentation, which features Kairosoft’s bright, retro-bit look and chirpy soundtrack. It’s hard not to smile at times, though I’m sure I recognized elements from older games. There’s only so many ways you can program the same little 16=bit people!
The game controls are also standard for a Kairosoft sim. Most of the things that you do are conducted via a drop-down menu, and any element in the game that you develop or control is tappable to call up that item’s statistics. Like all recent Kairosoft titles, the game can be played in either Landscape or Portrait; I prefer Portrait, and the game feels designed to play in that mode first. This is typical for Kairosoft games.
In fact, if there’s one big downside to Dungeon Village it’s that it isn’t breaking any new ground. It’s the Kairosoft formula. It was also released very close to Kairosoft’s Epic Astro Story and is much the same game as Epic Astro Story, but skinned for a fantasy setting. Kairosoft has done this before, with Oh! Edo Towns and Venture Towns followed a similar development path, as did Grand Pix Story and Pocket League Story. And I get it — they develop a framework and then build different games into it. But I wish they’d at least space the releases out more.
Don’t get me wrong: Dungeon Village is still fun, still addicting, still worth playing. In terms of subjective taste, I like it better than Epic Astro Story. But it is a good game that suffers from being second out of the gate. Kairosoft is milking their formula for all it’s worth, and it’s getting very familiar.
Our Score: 4 out of 5