23 people found this review helpful
Recommended
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 4.1 hrs on record
Posted: Oct 14, 2019 @ 10:06am

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Legend of Keepers: Prologue is a newly released free demo of the full game, which has yet to be released on Steam. While the premise can be found in Reverse Crawl in that you are the boss of a dungeon and are in control of a dungeon's monsters to fight off the adventuring heroes. The gameplay is totally unique, so just try it out to see if it's for you.

Let me try to tell you a bit about its gameplay, and maybe a few things that are not explained very well in a very short tutorial. (Though I do believe that the game is fun exploring and discovering it on your own as well.) I just hope to maybe make it a little less confusing to some people.

This demo is completely playable and rather fun, with plenty of things locked away and reserved for the full game. But you can go through an entire run with the demo. Each run is a calendar year, and each action takes up a week. Your role is the final boss at the end of the dungeon, and each time adventurers venture into the dungeon, you choose minions (your employees) and traps to set out to deal with the heroes before they could reach you.

The combat is two-phased, as you know which heroes are coming into the dungeon before they start exploring. You can see their armor, health, elemental weaknesses, and where they attack. So you get a selection of your own minions that you can choose, and you can place them according to their own weaknesses, strengths, attack patterns to maximize your ability to deter, kill, or demoralize the heroes to the point that they run away. (Don't worry if your MC/boss doesn't earn experience at the end of a fight, this shows up at the end of a run.)

As we have seen with several high-profile dungeon crawlers, our heroes have two stats that can be drained to 0 in order to get rid of them. They have health and morale, so physical/elemental damage and fear, respectively, can each individually stop the heroes in their tracks.

You only face heroes once every few weeks, while the other weeks you are given 1-3 choices of events, in order to deal with random serendipity or mishaps that are going on constantly in the dungeons. You can pay money to train minions. You can go to the engineer to upgrade your traps. You can buy things from a merchant. You may have a vampiric tax collector coming along to ask for money or take some of your blood. You may be able to loot and pillage a local town and gain money/artifact, though with risks. You may have a slave trader wanting to sell you a minion for cheaper than usual. You may have a random employee fooling around with your traps causing one to be unusable. You may have to deal with a strike situation of enemy minions. Etc. etc. ...

Of course these things are mostly random and often you are not given the choices that you would want to see. That's the nature of a randomly generated path, you take what you are given and do your best with it.

Most of the things above cost currency. I say currency because there are three currencies in this game, blood, tears, and gold. Blood is earned by killing heroes, tears by scaring them to flee the dungeon, and gold from various sources, including dungeon encounters. The currency will help you improve your team of minions/traps, as well as setting curses on unsuspecting heroes, but it's only part of the whole RNG game.

At the end of a calendar year, a group of champion heroes comes along led by a much tougher hero, and this is effectively the final boss of the run.

From that point on, you move on to the next run, which is a fresh year. This is where you see why the game has a rogue-lite tag attached. You gain experience as a final boss of the dungeon during the previous year's work. Leveling up will give you upgrade points that you can then apply to a meta-upgrade tree. You will be able to really move up the ranks and wreak more havoc and faster, depending how you go about using your points. These can be reset, so you can play around with the meta progression system however you want to explore and find your own interests.

It would appear that there will be three classes for you to choose from when the full game is released.

I can't wait!

Controls
You only need a mouse. It looks from the demo's settings page that the developers are working on gamepad support as well.

Graphics
Very nice pixel art. There's not a lot of variation, but the sprites have good animations, as do their attacks and spells.

Music
To be honest, I didn't pay that much attention. It didn't strike me as anything too special. The sound effects felt right at home in a dark and eerie dungeon.

Audience
I do think that this game has a lot of potential and its turn-based system makes it easily accessible to anyone. When it comes to rogue-like and rogue-lite games, many people have issues with the RNG. But that's the nature of it, your runs are never going to go how you expect or want them to, and you just take the cards that you are dealt and go from there. It's very fun using limited resources to maximize your strategy, often to see it crumble before you had a chance to put it to good test. For example, a minion you specifically placed for see how its attacks would work against the heroes, but the minion died before it got its turn.

A single run takes about an hour, give or take 15 minutes. Once you get used to the game, it might be a bit shorter, but there is some serious thinking and considerations at every step. And I realized as I played through a few times that my mind becomes accustomed to one part of the game but then I start to learn and focus on the next thing that I completely neglected up to that point.

Pricing
The demo, titled Prologue, is completely free.

Conclusion
Legend of Keepers: Prologue is just sitting there on Steam, waiting for you to play it. If you want to consider buying the full game and are reading this after the game is released, definitely play this first anyway. It's free and one of the best and fun demos I have played in a while. There is not much in the way of bugs, and I am sure there will be plenty of improvements and balances for the full game. I really look forward to the full game!

I received the product for free, as everyone else on Steam can play it for free as well. I did not receive any compensation to write this review. The opinions represented here are entirely my own and were not influenced in any way.
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