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Dungeons 4 Review | A Treasure Hoard's Worth of Dungeon-keeping Fun

92
Story
10
Gameplay
8
Visuals
9
Audio
10
Value for Money
9
Price:
$ 45
Clear Time:
22 Hours
Dungeons 4 puts the "master" in Dungeon Master. This game has everything from the endearing sarcasm that oozes from every line of dialogue to the goofy but oddly fitting design of every character. Its gameplay is no low-level monster either, effortlessly blending complex strategy with intuitive design to deliver a dungeon-delving experience worth its weight in loot. If you're looking for a charming, fun, and endlessly quotable RTS, then Dungeons 4 is the game for you.

Dungeons 4 is an isometric, dungeon-keeping simulator and the latest installment of Kalypso Media’s Dungeons series. Read our review to see what it did well, what it didn't do well, and if it's worth buying.

Dungeons 4 Review Overview

Dungeons 4 Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
Checkmark Top-notch Voice Acting and Hilarious Dialogue
Checkmark Stunning Visuals That Don't Sacrifice Performance
Checkmark Gameplay Is Worth Its Weight in Loot
Checkmark Pacing is Inconsistent

Dungeons 4 Overall - 92/100

Dungeons 4 puts the master in Dungeon Master. This game has everything from the endearing sarcasm that oozes from every line of dialogue to the goofy but oddly fitting design of every character. Its gameplay is no low-level monster either, effortlessly blending complex strategy with intuitive design to deliver a dungeon-delving experience worth its weight in loot. If you're looking for a charming, fun, and endlessly quotable RTS, then Dungeons 4 is the game for you.

Dungeons 4 Story - 10/10

The term "unconventionally fun" comes to mind when describing the story of Dungeons 4. Players would be forgiven if they thought this game was yet another high-fantasy snooze-fest, as the game was mostly marketed to be lighthearted with its humor. Fans of the Dungeons series would be delighted, however, to find that its latest installment is as self-aware and sarcastic as ever. This focus on comedy doesn't detract from the story either, as the game still delivers a fun twist to an otherwise saturated genre of video game storytelling.

Dungeons 4 Gameplay - 8/10

Dungeons 4 delivers exactly what it says on the tin. You want dungeons? You get dungeons. You want hordes of minions reaping in hoards of treasure? You get hordes of minions reaping in hoards of treasure. The game takes the simple concept of dungeon management and expands on it masterfully by throwing in just enough fun features to keep things interesting without bogging down players with needlessly complex game mechanics. The game still is an RTS, however, and with the genre comes the inherent difficulty of micromanagement. Combine that with the gameplay's pacing issues with general progression, and you've got a less-than-perfect but amazingly fun game.

Dungeons 4 Visuals - 9/10

Even though it presents a high-fantasy aesthetic - a design language with a penchant for taking itself too seriously - Dungeons 4 is not afraid to be goofy and nonchalant with its visuals. The monsters are comically proportioned, the resources are stacked cartoonishly, and even the dungeon rooms look like they came from a mobile game. Amazingly, none of these affect the game's stunning visuals, as the purposefully goofy aesthetic strangely works with the game's overall tone.

Dungeons 4 Audio - 10/10

The game's audio was graced by the incredible voice-acting performance of Kevan Brighting, who easily stole the show and earned Dungeons 4 a perfect score for this criteria. Couple that with the game's tabletop fantasy-worthy soundtrack, and you've got a combo that would blow any dungeon master away.

Dungeons 4 Value for Money - 9/10

The game offers plenty of story missions and infinite free play content for its middling price of $45. Seasoned RTS players, in particular, would find the most value in what the game has to offer, as its increasing difficulty and addicting gameplay loop scratch that ever-growing itch to optimize that few modern RTS games could ever reach. $45 is simply too good a deal for endless dungeoneering fun.

Dungeons 4 Review: A Treasure Hoard's Worth of Dungeon-keeping Fun

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Dungeons 4 is a British sitcom, a classic RTS game, and a mobile game ad rolled into a surprisingly fun little package. You'll never expect such a high-concept fantasy game to be so self-aware and sarcastic, yet here it is, somehow managing to find yet another absurd name to call your character by every time it comes up. It truly is a hilariously fun and satisfying bundle of energy that keeps on giving the more you play it.

As an isometric RTS game, Dungeons 4 holds its own against the titans of the genre like Anno, Age of Empires, and Starcraft (being descended from a well-respected classic itself). The gameplay keeps the best parts of Dungeons 4's predecessors, like room zoning and the minion abuse mechanic, while still adding a neat little spin with the inclusion of the new Dwarven faction and lava-themed traps. The overworld received a much-needed expansion, covering an area never before seen in a Dungeons game. Even Dungeons 3, which had the greatest overworld experience before this game's release, pales in comparison to the sheer scope of Dungeons 4.
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Dungeon excavation, building, and micromanagement were extremely satisfying, especially since the game showed no dips in performance even while on the highest graphical settings. I certainly thought that the game would struggle a little, especially with its massive overworld, constant asset simulation, and countless entity pathfinding. But that wasn’t the case; the game simply refused to drop a single frame. All in all, it ran like a freshly sharpened spear through an unarmored adventurer - surprisingly smoothly.

The series has also never looked this good. Judging from the quality of its animations and models alone, it was clearly optimized to meet the standards of the new platforms it was released on, which included the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S. Despite this clear visual update, it still maintains the unapologetic goofiness that the Dungeons series was known for. It's great to see Kalypso Media give the fans what they want without resting on their laurels and not innovating.
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And if you're not gawking at how beautiful the game presents itself, you'd be laughing your socks off at the amazing writing that comprises this game's story mode and script. It is equally intriguing and hilarious without compromising one aspect for the other. Very few RTS can boast a story, much less a compelling one. Dungeons 4 stands out in that regard.

Of course, no Dungeons game is complete without the incredible talent of Kevan Brighting, who reprises his role in Dungeons 4 as the cheeky narrator who constantly pokes fun at the evil-to-be. His performance is the real highlight of the game's amazing audio. But to give credit where it's due, the game's composers also did a bang-up job with its soundtrack, which evoked a truly malevolent vibe that carried much of the game's atmosphere.

Pros of Dungeons 4

Things Dungeons 4 Got Right
Checkmark Top-notch Voice Acting and Hilarious Dialogue
Checkmark Stunning Visuals That Don't Sacrifice Performance
Checkmark Gameplay Is Worth Its Weight in Loot

Top-notch Voice Acting and Hilarious Dialogue

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Top-notch voice acting and hilarious dialogue aren't qualities one would usually associate with real-time strategy games. Oftentimes, the focus of an RTS is its complex yet rewarding gameplay. If you think about it, Dungeons as a series is an odd duck among its peers because it really has no business going this hard with its comedy voice acting.

I promise you'll get more than your fair share of chuckles from this game. Everything from the intro narration to the in-game blurbs your minions make and even the story dialogue gives off a nonchalant but enjoyable vibe that'll keep you entertained through the tens of hours you'll undoubtedly spend with this game.

Kevan Brighting, a veteran voice actor of Stanley Parable fame, ties a neat little bow of sarcasm over the whole game with his performance. You'd be pressed to find another game with voice acting and comedy as superb as Dungeons 4's.

Stunning Visuals That Don't Sacrifice Performance

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The game looks amazing, not just because of its iconic art style. It truly is fearless with its depiction of standard fantasy tropes, using blocky World of Warcraft-esque 3D models in one scene and stylized 2D drawings in another. It culminates in a unique, nonsensical, casual vibe that is foreign to the genre, but not at all unwelcome.

In addition to the game's great art direction, it also animates its assets surprisingly well, even for things you wouldn't expect would be animated. Moving lava floors, coins stacking high with every drop of loot, flecks of stone and dirt flying off of excavation sites, swirling masses of demonic energy around demon portals, are all animated beautifully without dropping a single frame. Truly remarkable.

Gameplay Is Worth Its Weight in Loot

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Much like a newbie adventurer trying to balance their stats to get a balanced build, Dungeons 4's gameplay straddles the line between casual accessibility and competitive complexity. This is largely owing to its intuitive and humorous tutorial that spans several campaign missions. Said tutorial concurrently educates RTS newbies and veterans on the ins and outs of the game, making it way more fun for those who just got into the genre while still teaching the experts what's new for this installment.

In addition to accessibility, high-quality game design adds greatly to Dungeons 4's gameplay value. The gameplay loop of amassing strong minions via dungeon development and unleashing said minions on the helpless overworld never gets old. Every game mechanic flows smoothly into the next, and you'll rarely ever find yourself with nothing to do. You'll be finding your own solutions to the problems thrown your way, and with the sandbox approach that most RTS games use, replayability is off the charts.

Cons of Dungeons 4

Things That Dungeons 4 Can Improve
Checkmark Pacing is Inconsistent

Pacing is Inconsistent

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Individually, the game's story and gameplay are nearly flawless. If you put those two together, however, you'll find that they don't always coincide in pacing and tone. One moment, you're breezing through the forces of good as a powerful sorceress, and in the next, you're slowly hacking away at the dirt. The dissonance between the story’s urgency and the gameplay’s sluggish pace (it is an RTS, after all) can be jarring sometimes, which doesn't take too much away from the game's quality but is still worth a mention.

Is Dungeons 4 Worth It?

It Would Be Worth It Even If You Paid A Bit More

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It's a bold claim to make, but I think it's an accurate testament to this game's quality. The game offers so much in the way of entertainment, gameplay, comedy, and aesthetic value that its $45 price tag makes it look like an absolute steal.

I would highly recommend this game to any RTS fan, or those looking to get into the genre. It's no classic, but I have no doubt in my mind that Dungeons 4 is a classic in the making.

Dungeons 4 Overview & Premise

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Dungeons 4 follows the story of Thalya and her misadventures in pursuit of her adopted brother, Tristan. Her incompetence eventually leads to the downfall of the Evil Dungeon Boss from the previous game and her own kidnapping, which you, the player, must recover from. As you chase down the captured Thalya, you'll be building up your army underground in a well-stocked, well-built dungeon, waiting for the day when you can rise back to the power that was so wrongfully taken from you.

Will the Review-reading Evil be able to claw their way back to infamy, or will they be stuck as a measly dungeon boss until the end of time? Find out now in Dungeons 4.

Dungeons 4 FAQ

Will Dungeons 4 have Co-op Multiplayer?

Yes. Dungeons 4 will have co-op multiplayer available on release. All campaign and skirmish maps are available for co-op multiplayer games, which are exclusively PvE.

Is Dungeons 4 available on the Xbox Game Pass?

Dungeons 4 will be available on the Xbox Core and Xbox Ultimate Game Pass upon its release on November 9, 2023.

Dungeons 4 Product Information

dungeons_4_title_card
Title DUNGEONS 4
Release Date November 9, 2023
Developer Realmforge Studios
Publisher Kalypso Media
Supported Platforms PlayStation 5, Microsoft Windows, Xbox Series X|S
Genre Simulation, Strategy, Adventure
Number of Players 1-2
ESRB Rating E (Everyone)
Official Website Dungeons 4 Website

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