King of Simulation Games
When it comes to simulation games, no developer in mobile gaming does it better than Kairosoft. They’ve been at it for 25 years and have released dozens of quality titles. Whatever your niche is, chances are they’ve made a game centered around it.
Dungeon Village 2 is their latest offering, and Android users have an English version (Sorry, iPhone users). As the resident Kairosoft lover, I had to give it a look.
Build the Best Town
Dungeon Village 2’s gameplay splits between killing monsters and exploring dungeons and town management. Your village starts as a zero-star village, with the goal being to get it to five stars. This is attained by building more facilities in your village, housing more adventurers, completing quests and boosting your town’s popularity. There is a wide variety of facilities for you to fill your village with, like weapon shops, inns, and pizzerias.
As you play the game, you’ll earn a currency called town points. These can unlock various things in the game, including new facilities. Facilities will level up over time which increases their profits and appeal.
Attract New Adventurers
You start Dungeon Village 2 with a team of only an adventurer, a florist and a farmer. However, as your town gets more popular, new adventurers will come to town. By making them happy you will convince them to stay in town by building them their own houses. Doing so increases their productivity and makes it so that they never leave the village. The best way to convince adventurers to stay is by giving them presents.
Each adventurer has a job, and every job has advantages and weaknesses. Adventurers have six different attributes, and these will be higher or lower depending on the adventurer’s job. Each also gives a unique beneficial effect to that character. These can range from increasing attack power while using certain weapons or earning more money per month.
Every character starts at level 1, and once they reach level 10, they will master their job. Upon mastering a job, a character will get a mastery bonus, and you will unlock their job. After unlocking a job, you can have characters switch jobs.
Gotta Ride Them All?
Every adventurer has four stats: HP, Attack, Defense and Magic. Your primary way of increasing these stats is through weapons, armor pieces and accessories. You primarily unlock new and more powerful items by finding them in dungeons. When characters move into your village, they will also give you items. After items are unlocked, you can purchase them from the shops and equip your adventurers with them.
The secondary way of making your characters stronger is by pairing them with monsters. Once a monster tamer visits your town, you have a chance of taming enemy monsters you defeat. If successful, you can link this monster to one of your adventurers that will significantly increase their power. Once your monster’s happiness reaches 50, your adventurer can ride on top of them, making them even stronger.
Lots of Cuteness, Little Balance
Many monsters in Dungeon Village 2 are recycled from some of their previous games and still possess Kairosoft’s trademark charm. What they also possess is entirely too much power. When a new monster appears, it is almost always overpowered and prone to 1HKOing most of your adventurers.
Making it worse, new adventurers always come to your village at level one. This makes them a gigantic pain to level up in the beginning because they’re way too weak. As a result, the sense of progression in this game is pretty poor.
The adventurers in this game operate largely independently of you. You send them into dungeons or on quests, but they freely roam the upper world and fight monsters. They go into whatever shop they want, buy whatever they want and equip and use items all by themselves. This is both good and bad.
For whatever reason, melee characters will buy and use weapons for mages and vice versa. There’s no way of preventing characters from using items in battle, things that you might want to save. When you start up quests or dungeons, adventurers will randomly join the party.
You can’t remove members, which means you might end up with numerous weak characters going into a high-level dungeon. In a way, it makes sense, but at the same time, it conflicts with the management aspect of the game.
Too Much Waiting
Dungeon Village 2 often revolves around you waiting for things to happen. Everything from monster types and dungeons to new jobs and weapons, you need to wait for them to unlock. There’s no blacksmith who can research and craft new weapons and no ability to have recruitment drives for new characters.
Many gamers like being let loose in a game world and having the freedom to do what they want. In Dungeon Village 2, so much stuff is unnecessarily gated, and I think it’s a terrible design choice.
Not Kairosoft’s best
I typically grade Kairosoft games based on three criteria: Gameplay loop enjoyability, balance between gameplay loops and replay value. And when it comes to Dungeon Village 2, it doesn’t get high marks in any of the three. Kairosoft repeatedly has issues when it comes to games with branching gameplay, like Beastie Bay and the Dungeon Village titles. These games tend to miss the mark in both areas whereas games with one gameplay focus excel.
All in all, Dungeon Village 2 isn’t a bad simulation game, but it certainly won’t make my list of Top 5 Kairosoft games. I had fun with it, but it won’t be a game that I’ll be rushing back to anytime soon.
Is It Hardcore?
Poor monster balancing, lack of agency and too much of the waiting game drag Dungeon Village 2 down. Instead of being lifted into the Pantheon of best Kairosoft games, these issues drag it closer to the abyss.