Following my rediscovery of my old obsession with Dungeon Keeper II, I decided to check out War For the Overworld (pretty much a modern DKII clone / spiritual successor). It instantly pulled me in, and I immediately beat the main campaign plus the Heart of Gold expansion campaign.
I feel like they really nailed the personality and humor of the originals. This was something that I was most concerned about, to be honest, but they did it. They even have the “Vincent Price Narrator” character (as I call him).
They also added a bunch of their own lore which I like. I like how the “Underlords” are dark ethereal beings from outer space. I also really, really like the Cultist unit. They’re pretty much this game’s version of the Warlock, and as you’ll recall I was obsessed with the Warlock and would not be content until my dungeon was packed full with a kabillion Warlocks. Well, my interactions with the cultist unit have been following the same pattern:
Top ten reasons I like the cultist unit:
- He’s funny
- He tells me (the Underlord) that I’m lovely
- He greets me and bids me good morning when he wakes up
- He admires how big and strong I am
- He is nice to me and flatters me
- He is the intellectual workhorse of the dungeon, pretty much does all the non-physical work that needs doing (performs dark rituals, researches tech, studies artifacts, etc)
- He very politely asks me to tuck him into bed, but then immediately feels too shy about his request and retracts it
- He really, really likes it when I possess him. He REALLY likes it. Like, it is the best thing that ever happened to him or something
- He likes pretty much anything and everything that has to do with evil and being subservient
- He is the best
You think I’m joking about the cultists like whoa?
You think I would joke about a thing like that???
I’ll admit that some aspects of the game are a tad clunky, but it is an indie game. Your units’ AI, for example, can be frustrating. I frequently have units wander off and get lost, and then get angry at me that they are hungry and didn’t get paid. But unfortunately, unlike in DKII, you cannot pick up your units unless they are on your territory. I understand why this is, and it makes sense that they did it to address gameplay balance issues (so you can’t just rescue all your units in the heat of battle, etc). But this side-effect of it is annoying. Whenever a unit got lost and scared and hungry and cold in DKII, I’d just swoop in, pick it up, and drop it in the nice happy dungeon with all the amenities they love. But in WftO, I can only look at them sadly and hope they eventually find their way back home.
I pretty much just seal all my guys in my dungeon and never allow them to go outside so they don’t wander off and get lost and frustrated, but of course whenever I need to rally them to invade the heroes, I have to let them outside. So everybody goes and has a jolly good time battling heroes (I love that the monsters all sound so ecstatic and fervently raucous whenever they go into battle), and when all the heroes are dead I take down the rally flag and MOST of the critters make a b-line for the dungeon. But some of them want to check out the new area or see if there’s anything cool in the hero structures, and they linger. But then they forget to go home and eat or something, and they get all pissed off and blame me for it.
There are, however, two additions to this game (not present in DKII) that I really like:
- Beasts don’t get salaries (because what would they do with it) or need the same amenities that intelligent creatures do
- You can put creatures in a “peace band” so that they will ignore any battle-rallies and continue to work in the dungeon. I can’t tell you how many times I wish I had this in DKII! It is good to always keep a couple of cultists and foundry-workers (chunders etc) in a peace band, so operations don’t screech to a halt once you order everybody to march off to battle
All in all it is a wonderful, addicting, hilarious game and I would highly recommend it!
I only have one complaint about the game, which is that they happen to use a somewhat nasty ableist slur A LOT. Like, a lot a lot. Especially on any level with the dwarves as the main hero-enemy. I felt kind of embarrassed to play it whenever the narrator would say the m-word over and over and over, that I actually turned my sound way down on those levels because it made me feel really weird. I feel like they could have just as easily called the dwarves “half pints” or “short stuff” or something and it would have had the same impact, and I think it would have been much funnier. So if you are bothered by things like that, keep this in mind if you’re interested in playing the game.