Back in my earlier years, there was a certain strategy game that saw me spending countless hours perfecting the technique of creating my own underworld of destruction and conquest.
That game was Dungeon Keeper 2, developed by Bullfrog Productions back in 1999 (yeah, those guys that did Theme Hospital)
The ending of the game had the door wide open for a sequel, yet nothing came to my dismay even to this very day. However, a group of fans decided to carry the mantle and create a dungeon management game that could potentially rival that which it aims to spiritually succeed.
Enter War for the Overworld.
If you’ve played either of the original two games, a lot will be very familiar to you. You are tasked with building a dungeon and developing its infrastructure to attract minions and build an army that will eventually destroy any goodly heroes that fancies smiting your evil self.
This is one of those very few games where you get to be the bad guy, and it’s awesome.
In the interview above, I spoke with Josh Bishop, the CEO & Creative Director for Subterranean Games who developed this game. You’ll get a good feel for the game and perhaps a little bit (ok, a big bit) of nerding out on my part at the prospect of playing a game of this nature.
What was especially cool about War for the Overworld is something that has nothing to do with the gameplay itself. They took it upon themselves to enlist the help of the selfsame narrator that guides you through the original Dungeon Keeper games in this very game too. Just hearing Richard Ridings step back into that role once more instantly transported me back to late nights of developing huge super-dungeons with massive casinos and torture chambers. I thought I was a pretty good Keeper to my minions.
As an Underlord, there are similar mechanics that can be deployed to boost the morale of your minions. One such example is the Tavern, where you can supply your minions with *ahem* beverages that should alleviate moods and help them relax. A good tavern keeps minions happy, although I do wonder what happens if they have a bit too much…
The interface is similar and welcoming in my view. One of the great things about how War for the Overworld is set up is that you can very easily play the game using just your mouse. Having since been involved in the likes of StarCraft, where rapid control through the keyboard is demanded, it’s a lot more relaxing to purvey over your dungeon and casually decide that you might go to war. Granted, there are moments where it can get a bit crazy in the heat of battle, however it’s not hard to imagine myself casually sipping a warm cup of tea whilst directing my minions to victory. Bliss.
A new feature that I noticed was the use of Sins. Sins are a currency that unlocks rooms and abilities in a tech tree. This is how the game progressively unlocks rooms as a match progresses, allowing you to tailor your style of dungeon around your preferences. This looks set to be a pretty cool addition, and a natural sign of progression aside from having all the rooms available to build by default. The campaign looks set to guide you through the use of each room and thus the tech tree, but it’ll be cool to see how full multiplayer matches turn out based on tech-tree choices.
War for the Overworld is currently in the final stages of development for a release on April 2, although there’s an Early Access version currently on Steam just now if you missed out on joining in with the Kickstarter campaign a few years ago. As for formats, the game will be playable on PC, Mac and Linux.