The sense of humor in the hero imagination has always been one of my weaknesses as a reader and as a player. Terry Pratchett taught us in his Discworld that a monkey can be the librarian of the largest collection of magical books in the world, and that the worst enemy you can find is a tribe with teeth and lots of small legs. In Simon the Sorcerer (1993) there were striking demons or dwarves with TBMs.
Maybe there is a little bit of all these memories in Legend of Keepers, a resource management and tower defense title in which we play an evil master of the dungeon (what a missed opportunity to find the Spaniard as the master of the dungeon) that he has must continue to protect the treasure from the die-hard heroes who are looking for it and manage its employees, all of whom are evil monsters typical of the fantasy genre. It’s not the first foray into the genre for the folks at Goblinz Studio, who released their first “dungeon” tactical game in 2016, Dungeon Rushers. In addition to the humor I was aiming for, many of the mechanics who used them at the time now appeared perfected in Legend of Keepers.
At the beginning of our new job, a person in charge of Inhuman Resources gives us a brief explanation of our functions in the form of a tutorial (it takes about 5 minutes) that illustrates the style of play in a very simple way. No more is really needed because the mechanics are simple, but to master them and get the win, a very good strategy is required. A number of events are held during the weeks (or shifts) providing us with new resources, training, and people for the task. There can be positive events (e.g. winning by betting on a boar race) or negative events (e.g. ranch vampires showing up to collect). For the most part, you will have to make decisions that we won’t know until later if they were critical to negotiating the next wave. There is an important component of chance in every game, as depending on these intermediate events we have more or fewer resources available to organize ourselves.
The system is very simple to understand, but quite difficult to master: every now and then a group of more or less experienced heroes will appear (the higher the rank, the greater the difficulty and the better the reward for their defeat). When the heroes arrive, the defense of the dungeon is organized, with several different rooms where obstacles can be placed for the enemies that are attacking us. In some cases we can set traps, others are the realm of spells, and others focus on causing environmental damage. Most important, however, are the monster rooms, in which we place our forces so that the heroes encounter them in turn-based combat. With the resources of gold, blood and tears available, we will have to hire the monsters that will protect the dungeon and the traps that we will place in the rooms. These creatures have attributes of physical damage, elemental damage, and moral damage because we don’t always have to eliminate the heroes by killing them. If we let them flee, we will also receive special resources and victory gold.
It’s okay for our staff to die during the fights, as they keep resurrecting at the end of the fight, even though their motivation is compromised (they don’t like to die, understandably) and if all motivation points are lost, we will lose the monster. So it is best to have a spare set with some soda monsters to swap out with our owners, giving them peace of mind. After each level (or each treasure guard campaign) we receive experience points that we can spend on attributes of the master. This gives us small improvements, e.g. B. lowering the cost of monsters or getting more gold from fallen heroes. In addition, there is no element that feels new in the games and repeats them after a few sessions. Perhaps the main incentive is to unlock the archive of the artifacts that we happen to receive with the battles.
Unfortunately, the main problem with the title is the same process that is repeated over and over again on each of the three available masters that we have at our disposal. The gameplay repeats itself after completing the master’s first arc and hitting the next with no variation other than aesthetics. There are hardly any changes to the dungeons and most random events repeat sooner rather than later. It takes a lot of resources to train a single unit that we have and the reward is to increase some stats by a tiny percentage, which then doesn’t make much of a difference in combat. And despite the fact that there is a good team of monsters defending the dungeon, in the end we will always choose the ones that have the most health points and do the most damage. The rest is really dispensable.
And how do you feel after holding out wave after wave? The truth is it was a game we enjoyed more in short sessions as the system lends itself to that. Every mini-secondary event between fight and fight brought us a smile at the humor that “Discworld” exudes, even though that formula is exhausted in the end. Technically, it corresponds completely, both in terms of sound and graphics. We only had a minor bug in the version of Nintendo Switch that we had access to for analysis. For lovers of the tower defense genre, Legend of Keepers is a novel option that takes hours to master. Perhaps, however, she could have given the system a little more depth and made it more varied.