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If you've played Kairosoft's previous titles like Game Dev Story or Mega Mall Story, then you know that the studio specializes in addictive simulations. I didn't expect anything less from the latest release, but I underestimated just how awesome Dungeon Village is.
I love role-playing games, and Kairosoft titles certainly have RPG elements. Dungeon Village goes a step further, ditching the modern framework and surrounding the simulation with trappings that will be familiar to any RPG fan. You start with a small fantasy town near a treacherous field, and you build an array of shops to make your town more appealing to adventurers. These adventurers explore dungeons and fight monsters in the nearby field, and then they come back to store and spend their money in your shops. You then use that money to improve your town, build more shops, and entice even more adventures to use your village as their hub of operations.
Your role is to guide the development of the city, but you also have some interactions with the adventurers. You can't control them directly, so they only have their equipment, character class, stats to rely on in battle. However, you can influence all three of those factors.
By giving adventurers weapons and armor, you can optimize their stats. You can hold village-wide events to boost their maximum HP and other abilities. Lastly, you can change their classes (ideally after they've already mastered another class) to learn new skills and take advantage of static bonuses. Giving gifts also has the pleasant side effect of making the hero like you (and the town) more, so they work harder and eventually ask you to build them a house so they stick around permanently.
Dungeon Village has the same upbeat charm as the studio's other games. The visuals are great in a retro kind of way, and many of the adventurers have names that are plays on recognizable heroes (Like "Gilly Gamesh" and "Seffy Roth"). The lines of dialogue, though sparse, also have plenty of character – like monsters politely introducing themselves before they try to kill all of your adventurers.
Unlike many popular mobile games, Dungeon Village doesn't support itself with microtransactions. Do you need a cash boost to keep your city running? Then earn it or learn how to play better – you won't even find an option to pay real money for in-game goods in Dungeon Village. You just pay your $3.99 to download it and that's where your investment ends. Well, your financial investment, at least. Time investment is a different story. I've put in at least 10 hours in the last week, and I can't wait to beat the game so I can start all over.
Dungeon Village is available on Android and iOS.
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