#40: Tetris and Dungeon Keeping?

TODAY: Grab your VR and marvel at the wonders of Tetris Effect – Revisit this Dungeon Keeping classic and become the greatest villain – Let us know what you’re playing this weekend, and thank you for all the fantastic feedback, you’re truly helping us shape the future of DailyBits.

Blast From The Past

It’s good to be bad in Dungeon Keeper

When I first laid eyes upon Bullfrog’s Dungeon Keeper it was as a birthday gift from my dad. At first I wondered what the heck it was, and thought it was one of those DOS-based shooters like Hexen or Doom. I could never have imagined how much joy I was about to get out of slapping imps.

The entire genius of Dungeon Keeper is that it turns everything on its head. You’re not playing the goody two-shoes hero plunging down into the dank and dark dungeon to slay monsters. No. You’re the Keeper of the dungeon and you’re building it, attracting and managing frightful creatures, mining gold to pay their wages, and of course preparing for the inevitable showdown with the local forces of good. It was such a refreshing spin and didn’t take itself too seriously.

Each level you start by staring at the Dungeon Heart, which can take quite a bashing from heroes or creatures on a rampage, and so it goes without saying you had better have it well protected. From there you’ll start to examine local surroundings and use your floating hand to mark out dirt blocks for your imps to dig out. As you expand you’ll start plotting where rooms will go, what defences you might build and of course be looking for another gold vein to flood the treasure room.

“Your creatures are under attack!”

It’s the dungeon’s creatures that are the real star of the game and there’s quite a wide array of choices from the more mundane spider and fly, to demon spawn (which become dragons for some reason) and even ghosts! Just because you’ve attracted these creatures doesn’t mean your job is done either, because some types really don’t get along with others. Spiders and flies for instance, and the fat bile demon with the skeletons. You can even convert heroes into your thralls with enough torture though you’ll need to be liberal with healing them until they break.

A special spell called possession lets you actually ‘possess’ a creature in first-person to explore your dungeon, and even attack enemies, as otherwise creatures do want ever they want. It’s what I originally had thought the game was all about before getting the surprise of my young gaming life at age 11. The perfect age to learn about sticking it to the forces of good, imp slapping, chicken slapping, gold hording and getting narrated to by the awesome voice of Richard Ridings. “Your minions have a craving for chocolate.”

“You have conquered this realm!”

You progress through a picturesque and disgustingly peaceful realm by building your dungeons beneath their lands. Once you’ve had enough time to expand out, level up your creatures with training and hopefully learn some spells in the library, you’ll get waves of heroes trying to break into your labyrinthine creation and destroy your heart. Finally you’ll get the “Beware; the Lord of the Land approaches” message and it’s the level’s boss. He’s tough, and will likely be flanked by his friends who come in all shapes and sizes.

It’s a fantastic ‘god game’ that lets you revel in being bad and enjoy every bit of it along the way. From the fun of building your heavily fortified dungeon, to exploring out into the dangerous corners just beyond your reinforced walls, and taking the fight to dungeons of even rival keepers or heroes. There are just so many aspects you can love toying with individually. Don’t forget to hunt for that special hidden box that lets you take your favourite creature with you into the next level!

Where to get Dungeon Keeper today

Having originally released for MS-DOS, Windows 95 and macOS back in June 1997 the game is certainly long in the tooth. Fortunately the dark gods are with us as Dungeon Keeper Gold can be readily purchased from EA’s own Origin store, or from GOG.com. In fact if you’re a subscriber to Origin Access then you already have the game to play, and even its sequel. If you’re looking for a modern take on the setting, then this spiritual successor – War for the Overworld – will be well worth looking at too.

Game Spotlight - Tetris Effect

Tetris Effect Is Even Better On PC

(Resonair & Monstars/Enhance Games – PC and PlayStation 4)

If you’ve ever played a Tetsuya Mizuguchi game like Lumines or Rez, you’ll know what happens when you combine a great puzzle game with musical elements. Tetris Effect is Mizuguchi’s take on Tetris – a mind-bending experience that tries to immerse you in fully three-dimensional worlds that are shaped based on how you play. This might sound crazy to people who haven’t seen the game before, which is exactly why you need to check it out.

The name Tetris Effect comes from “a real-world phenomenon where players’ brains are so engrossed that images of the iconic falling Tetrimino blocks (i.e. the Tetris playing pieces) linger in their vision, thoughts, and even dreams.” When you clear a line in Tetris Effect, the backgrounds react by shimmering. Clearing four lines will result in a much bigger reaction, causing an explosion of effects on your screen. This experience is then amplified even further with the Zone mechanic that allows players to slow down time if they find themselves in a tough spot. Upon entering the Zone, skilled Tetris players can use this opportunity to clear more than four lines, granting a huge bonus to your score.

Experience Tetris like never before

There are over thirty unique stages to experience: taking you through the depths of the ocean, the seemingly endless stretches of the desert, and all the way to outer space where you can see astronauts on the moon. Again, all you are doing gameplay-wise is playing Tetris, but you are taken on this sightseeing journey the entire time. After you complete the game’s Journey Mode, you have the option of playing traditional Tetris modes like Marathon, Sprint and Ultra if you want to play the game normally. These modes also feature Tetris Effect’s crazy effects, though you can tone down all of the explosions in the settings menu, if necessary.

Though Tetris Effect has been available on PlayStation 4 since November 2018, it has only just been released on PC. As of right now, you can only purchase the game on the Epic Game Store as it is a timed exclusive. Unlike the PlayStation 4 version of the game, Tetris Effect on PC boasts a wide variety of features that are not possible on consoles. In addition to the unlocked resolution and uncapped frame rate, players have the option of playing on super high-resolution displays (4K and beyond) as well as having support for ultrawide monitors. The developers have also increased the texture and particle effect options for players with powerful computers. To top it off, on PC you have the choice of playing the game on any VR headset you can get your hands on. From our experience, the game looks and runs perfectly on the HTC Vive.

Tetris Effect is a must-play title for anyone that considers themselves even a minor fan of the Tetris series. Whether you first played Tetris on the Gameboy or you have battled your way through the gauntlet in Tetris 99 on the Nintendo Switch, we can safely say you have never played a Tetris game like this before. The game does its best to immerse you in the experience in an effort to put the player in an almost tranquil state. You don’t feel the pressure of having to clear Tetriminos as they fall, you simply feel relaxed as you journey through all of the different stages.

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