Goblin Keeper – Game Review

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Do you remember the game Dungeon Keeper? Do you miss it as much as I do? Since Bullfrog went belly-up in the financial crisis that took the life of many games companies, such as the worlds oldest digital games company Atari, the development of the third installment got cancelled. No other company wanted to buy the rights to develop it.

Then Night Owl Games came to the rescue! Along with Gameforge they developed Goblin Keeper, a new take on the classic style. It is a mix between the patience driven Facebook games, such as Backyard Monsters or Edgeworld and the classic Dungeon Keeper, where you have to think strategically and resources are scarce and far between. You have to build alliances to be able to withhold the other players, you have to loot other players dungeons and you have to defend yourself from other looters. You have to decide what to upgrade and what could wait in order to keep the balance between eat or being eaten.

This is not another Facebook game, you won’t be bothered with requests every 5 minutes from your friends, this is a completely stand-alone installment, but still played on your browser so there is no need to install anything on your computer.

Morph's dungeon after one hour of gameplay
Morph’s dungeon after one hour of gameplay

When you first start to play, you get a tutorial that goes is very in-depth and teaches you everything you need to know. It took me about an hour to complete, but I was multitasking. You don’t need to sign up for the tutorial and when you do decide to sign up it will give you a small bonus as well as the ability to save your progress (this is done automatically). It doesn’t need anything other than your mail and a password.

Once out of the training wheels, it will ask you to go to the Overworld and this is when the real fun begins. When you have reached the Overworld, you will be able to see and be seen by other players, your dungeon is no longer a secret so it’s time to put on the generals cap and start planning your attacks, defenses and upgrades. What I found hardest at this part is the resource management, since you gather resources at an almost realistic speed. To get the upgrades, builds and defenses you need, you would need thousands of resources, but at the beginning you can only gather what you have in your own dungeon and that gave me around 50 of each resource per hour.

However, do not despair, you have many options to get resources, from paid boosts (costs real money), to transmuting resources into other resources (also costs), to raiding other players and steal theirs, to creating alliances with your friends and other players and trade between you. You do also have a marketplace, where you and others can offer leftover resources for trading, but you need to dedicate some of your workers and the speed you can bring the resources home is determined by how many workers you have, what rank they are and how far away the trading player is from you.

All of this makes the game seem almost realistic, but completely fantastic at the same time. Just like Dungeon Keeper you need to build your rooms and depending on what you choose to build, you’ll attract different kinds of monsters and you need to keep them happy by giving them food, paying them gold and giving them something to do. You also need to train them to make them last in the potential battles you have ahead of you, but doing so also makes them demand more to be happy so you have to choose wisely if you want a few creatures with higher rank or a lot of low-rank creatures.

Something new in Goblin Keeper is that you don’t necessarily need to expand your rooms to make them better, you can upgrade the rooms instead. Every upgrade increases the capacity or ability of that room and it is wise to keep your rooms up to date when you can. You only have a certain space to store things in your storage, so you need to either upgrade it, build addons in the form of lockers and chests or simply expand the room, but that takes valuable space away from the other rooms.

There is one more thing that I think pushes this game over the edge into complete awesomeness, and that is the musical score. What do you do when you have a mountain full of goblins and you are the king, but want to spend the money and resources developing the game and not the music? You take the most appropriate and probably one of the best songs ever written: Edvard Griegs In The Hall Of The Mountain King. Yes, you heard it, the game is scored by the master of music himself, over a hundred years after his passing. Music from the grave to match your underworld domination!

Goblin Keeper can be found for free here.

Due to many people coming here looking for Goblin Keeper guides, I’ll link the best resources I’ve found for help with this game:
1) The Goblin Keeper Wiki Here you can find everything you need to know about the game mechanics, like all wikis the articles are written by the players and will therefore hold relevant information

2) Goblin Keeper FAQ The most frequently asked questions are answered here

3) The Goblin Keeper Guide A thorough guide if you missed anything from the tutorial.

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