Part management sim, part role playing game, Dungeon Village by Japanese developer Kairosoft delivers a remarkably robust mobile gaming experience, with plenty of nods to classic RPG games of yore that are sure to make players smile. Dungeon Village thrusts you into the role of city planner, not of an average ‘burb, but a bustling role playing game village, complete with inns, weapon and armor shops, training facilities, and more.
The isometric landscape cheerily presents the inner workings of a standard role playing game watering hole, with retro inspired sprites and a vivid throwback color pallet. Don’t let the simple, cartoony graphics fool you—Dungeon Village is a rather complex game. There is always something going on. In addition to constructing and managing a town, the game challenges players to attract adventuring heroes from around the realm, and to keep them dropping their hard-earned gold in your coffers.
Yes, as in any RPG, gold is the name of the game. Manage your town with skill and you’ll find knights, rogues, and wizards flocking to your streets. Allow your town’s offerings to grow stale and your inns and taverns will be left empty, with high maintenance bills waiting just around the corner.
The game calls on players to strike a balance between town expansion and tending to the needs of adventurers. Early stages place the focus on setting up your town as a service center for basic adventuring needs. As your Dungeons and Dragons-esque hamlet blossoms, the spotlight turns to guiding the fantasy heroes who meander in and around the newly built town.
The vagabond adventures will eventually discover caves and dungeons on the outskirts of town, and players are charged with assigning quests for the computer-controlled bands of heroes to complete. Outfitting adventures with choice gear will increase their odds of success, and the more glory won in and around your village helps to ensure that the heroes stick around for more dungeon-clearing action. Play your cards right and a few legendary heroes may even decide to take up permanent residence within your city’s limits.
Dungeon Village does a great job of plucking the best tropes from the RPG tradition, blending all the elements found in dungeon crawling games into a sort of love letter to the genre. Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest (the Coke and Pepsi of Japanese RPGs) are clearly the chief sources of inspiration. Adventurers questing around your village fight Dragon Quest-looking slimes, while Final Fantasy’s famous floating white finger cursor servers as the primary interface pointer. The plethora of fancy weapons, powerful magic, and wacky inventory fillers (Example dungeon drop: “Frozen Potato”) are spot-on homages, and sometimes playful parodies, of the gear found in the game’s console brethren.
Dungeon Village carries a premium price tag–selling for $3.99 in the Apple App Store and $4.99 for Android devices–however, laden with above par graphics, console-worthy music and sound effects, hours of nuanced gameplay, and a high degree of replay value, Kairosoft’s good-natured and addicting ode to role playing adventures is well worth the cover charge.