Dungeon Lords is an RPG that, like many others before it, borrows heavily from Tolkien. This means elves, dwarves, magic and hordes of goblins giving you a hard time as you save the mandatory world-in-crisis from its mandatory certain doom.
The title can be a little misleading, though. If you were expecting a hardcore Dungeons and Dragons-type affair, with statistics overload and about 2000 variables to the outcome of a fight, you'll either be disappointed, or breathing a loud sigh of relief.
The game's fighting system finds a reasonably comfortable space between click-fest, stat-building and quick keyboard work. Naturally, there are some Dungeons and Dragons dice rolling going on behind the scenes, but Dungeon Lords mixes this up with a Jade Empire/beat-em-up style, offering players with nimble fingers the opportunity to out-manoeuvre or block incoming attacks to some extent. It's a superb idea, but the execution of it feels just good enough, rather than perfect.
This feeling, unfortunately, carries through the entire game. It's quite good overall, but just lacks that certain factor that determines whether you'll be playing until dawn, or getting bored before nightfall.
While there may be a good story in there somewhere, the actual telling of it is terrible. The game's bland scenery, dodgy AI waypointing, and unfinished-feeling game design can be tolerated. But couple this with an uninteresting a rather lifeless gameworld, and the entire premise of the RPG genre goes down the toilet.
Although it may sound like it from this description, Dungeon Lords isn't a complete failure. But it certainly leans heavily in that direction.
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Visuals: Dull, uninspired graphics, no personalisation of characters, repetitive rooms.
Audio: No soundtrack, similar-sounding monster, unprepossessing voices.
Gameplay: Poorly designed and unpolished; feels unfinished.
Developer: Heuristic Park
Distributor: QV Software