Dungeon Keeper Wiki

Dungeon Keeper was an iOS and Android game set in the Dungeon Keeper universe, released on 29 January 2014. Sometimes referred to as Dungeon Keeper Mobile to distinguish it from the original Dungeon Keeper, it was a freemium mobile massively multiplayer online strategy video game, whose gameplay had a tower defence style, featuring frequent raids of others' dungeons and the defence of the player's. Players could participate in tournaments and leagues online.

The game was announced in August 2013, and the development team wanted to carry over elements from the original Dungeon Keeper games by Bullfrog Productions, especially the humour. Richard Ridings provided the voiceovers, as he did with the previous instalments. The game was notorious for its monetisation of gameplay by relying on in-app purchases, for which it received widespread condemnation. The reliance on in-app purchases also caused an outcry in the gaming public. In the UK, Electronic Arts' advertising of the game was ruled to have misled customers, which forced them to amend their adverts. Electronic Arts also faced criticism over their filtration of user reviews.

In May 2022, it was announced that the game would be retired in August that year.[1][2]


Dungeon Keeper Mobile screenshot

A typical dungeon

The game was based on the classic Dungeon Keeper for PC, and it was made for the mobile gaming audience. With that said, it used touch controls.

Unlike previous instalments, the game was a tower defence game,[3] similar to Clash of Clans.[4] As with previous instalments, the game centred around dungeon construction and management, with players hiring and controlling minions. The Dungeon Heart was the life force, and its destruction ended the game. Imps were the dungeon's workforce, performing tasks such as digging tiles. Rooms had set sizes instead of being constructed by tiles, and minions were summoned manually instead of appearing at regular intervals. Which minions could be summoned depended on the dungeon's composition. Rooms included the Workshop (which produces traps used to defend the dungeon) and the Dark Library.[5] Rooms could be moved without reconstruction,[6] and some had built-in defences against intruders.[5] Minions included Trolls and Warlocks. In campaign mode, major events were triggered manually.[5] At the start, players were given a tutorial by Horny, the Horned Reaper from the previous games.[5] Raiding other dungeons (with the goal of the opponent's destruction) using the acquired minions was a regular occurrence, and players also frequently needed to defend their dungeon from invasion. During raids, rooms could be claimed and used to deploy units.[5]

There were three main types of resources: gold, stone, and gems. Resources were used to construct rooms and traps and summon minions.[5] Stone and gold (stored in a Treasury[5]) are produced by Stone Quarries and Gold Mines respectively.[7] Resources are also found in dirt tiles (dug by the Imps), of which there are three types: Soft Rock, Gem Veins, and Hard Gem Veins, taking increasing amounts of time to dig respectively. The idea of this was to keep Imps busy while the player was away, and to reward players on returning.[8] Imps could be slapped to speed up digging,[8] and Gems could be spent to dig tiles instantly.[5] Gems could also be spent to produce Imps, upgrade rooms, and instantly perform other actions that take time, such as room construction, and minion summoning,[5] and could be purchased using real money within the game.[9][10] Other resources included mana (produced by the Dark Library and used to cast spells (such as Dragon Breath, which conjures a dragon)),[11][5] and combat points, obtained by raiding and defending dungeons.[12]

In multiplayer, players could be a member of a guild, a group that shared minions and co-operated towards achieving goals.[13] Guild Tournaments, in which guilds competed for the rank of Horny's Chosen, were held. Victory stars were awarded based on players' performance in raids. If enough stars were earned, the guild qualified for the tournament. The first five qualifying guilds entered the Horny's Chosen bracket. The other qualifying guilds entered a standard tournament. Guilds were ranked according to victory stars earned. The Horny's Chosen brackets yield greater gem rewards than the standard tournament. Rewards were distributed to guild members according to participation. Guilds that did not win entered a lottery for a gem payout.[14][15] Another feature was the League of Evil, a ladder system in which players were ranked according to trophies earned. The higher the rank, the greater the resource bonus for performing successful raids. As players promoted through the ranks, achievements with gem rewards were unlocked, and players were given all achievements and gem rewards up to that rank if they already qualified for a higher rank.[16][17] Another event was Event Raids, in which players built defences to withstand waves of invaders.[18]


Dungeon Keeper was announced in August 2013,[19] although development began the previous year.[20] It was scheduled for a winter release,[21] and designed for touchscreens.[22] According to senior producer Jeff Skalski, Mythic Entertainment had to make significant changes to Dungeon Keeper for mobile platforms, although there were aspects of the original games from Bullfrog Productions they wanted to keep, such as the humour.[23][24] The intention was to give players an experience of the original Dungeon Keeper.[25] Despite this, he stated that they were not trying to recreate the original games,[26] or the cancelled Dungeon Keeper 3, but rather a mobile game for mobile systems.[23] The colour palette was expanded to make the creatures easier to see on mobile phones. The role of traps was increased, and gameplay was made to focus as much on offence as defence. According to Skalski, the god-view facilitated the porting to touchscreen devices.[23] The development team took into account feedback from fans on the internet, and their goal was to make the game free so many people could play it. Skalski emphasised that the game is built for typical mobile game patterns, which meant that it is supposed to be played for brief periods multiple times per day. He disagreed with assertions that it lacks the humour of the original, due to Richard Ridings (who, according to him, is a fan-favourite) providing the voice-overs like he did with the original Dungeon Keeper and Dungeon Keeper 2, which included over 500 lines of dialogue.[27][28]

According to Nick LaMartina, director of Audio and Media, the team wanted Ridings to emote (he considered Ridings's voices in the original games flat by comparison), so the personality of Horny emerged. Ridings described working on Dungeon Keeper as "a licence to be bad", and was impressed with the scripts. According to LaMartina, the scripts contributed to how good the game sounded. Many people, including himself, the creative director, the producer, and the community manager, contributed to the scripts. LaMartina stated that the collaborative effort is what made Horny the character he is.[28]

Electronic Arts soft launched the game for Android in Canada and Australia in October 2013.[29] The game was released worldwide free of charge on the ITunes Store for iOS and Google Play for Android on 30 January 2014,[30][31][32] and Electronic Arts described the game as "a 'twisted' take" on Bullfrog's game.[33] The game was highly anticipated by fans of the originals.[28][34]

The art took eight staff only 104 workdays to create, and there were 144 art bugs during development.[35]


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
Metacritic 42/100[36]
Review scores
Publication Score
Eurogamer 1/10[10]
GameZone 3/10[37]
IGN 3/10[38]
Metro 0/10[39]
Digital Spy 2/Template:PluralStar fullStar emptyStar emptyStar empty[40]
The Escapist 0Star emptyStar emptyStar emptyStar empty[41]
Destructoid 4/10[42]
4Players 1%[43]
USGamer 1/5[44]
TouchArcade 1/Template:PluralStar emptyStar emptyStar emptyStar empty[45]
Pocket Gamer 3Star fullStar fullStar halfStar empty[46]
MacLife 4/Template:PluralStar fullStar fullStar fullStar empty[47]
Jeuxvideo.com 6/20[48]
TabTimes 1/Template:PluralStar emptyStar emptyStar emptyStar empty[49]

Dungeon Keeper received "generally unfavourable reviews" according to the review aggregation website Metacritic.[36] This was due to monetisation. In particular, critics condemned the time the Gem Veins take to dig, forcing players to either wait hours or even days to accomplish what in the original games take moments, or purchase gems with real money, the prices for which were also lambasted as extortionate.[10][41][39][50] Amongst the most critical of the monetisation aspects were Leif Johnson of IGN,[38] Dan Whitehead of Eurogamer,[10] James Stephanie Sterling of The Escapist, who described the game as a "perverted farce" and "One of the worst examples of a cancer that is eroding the market",[41] Lespol of Jeuxvideo.com, who described the game as "Outrageous",[48] Scott Nichols of Digital Spy,[40] Julian "Jaz" Rignall of USgamer, who described the game as "a sad, knock-off of a wannabe, faux-Dungeon Keeper" due to its free-to-play business model,[44] Miguel Concepcion of TabTimes,[49] Shaun Musgrave of TouchArcade, who stated that fans of the original games would be unhappy with the simplification and monetisation,[45] David Jenkins of Metro, who called Dungeon Keeper "A sickening perversion of the whole concept of video games" for rewarding money and patience rather than thought or skill and cited its incompatibility with older smartphones as a positive rather than a negative,[39] and even Peter Molyneux, creator of the original Dungeon Keeper, who described the waiting times and capitalisation as "ridiculous", and criticised Electronic Arts for getting the balance wrong.[51][52] He also stated that the game "crucifies his patience", and that its free-to-play model is incompatible with the design of the original, which is to play quickly.[53]

Other criticisms included being a Clash of Clans clone,[10] the "babyish" characters and the lack of dark humour and appeal of the original game,[41] and the behaviour of the units when confronting the enemy,[48] Rick Lane of bit-tech commented that the game tries, but fails to imitate the original superficially, and that even the gay colours and humorous remarks lacked the original's air.[50] In addition to the gem costs, Whitehead also criticised the gold and stone costs of upgrades as exorbitant.[10]

Reception was not universally negative. Chris Carter of Destructoid gave a mediocre review. Although he criticised the waiting times and microtransactions, he commented that raiding other dungeons can be fun.[42] Harry Slater of Pocket Gamer described the game as a "well polished Clash of Clans clone", although he criticised the waiting times.[46] Nathan Meunier of MacLife lauded the "addictive" construction and "wacky" humour, but criticised the frequency of in-app purchases.[47] David Oxford of Slide to Play described the game as "not too bad" for a freemium game employing in-app purchases.[54] Stephen Yuen of AndroidSPIN stated in an early review that the Android version needs patience, but praised the graphics and sound.[55] Lespol commented that some of the humour of the original game is present.[48]


In addition to strong criticism from reviewers, the game caused outcry from the gaming public.[20][56] British newspaper The Independent stated that the game's use of microtransactions made it "unplayable".[57] At one point, the outrage was dismissed as the players playing incorrectly.[58] In February 2014, Electronic Arts was accused of censoring user ratings lower than five stars by making those players email them instead.[59] Electronic Arts claimed the practice facilitated feedback,[60][61] but was criticised for making players claim to give the highest rating in order to give one.[62] The practice was criticised for giving an impression of popularity.[63] Electronic Arts claimed that the outcry was mainly due to players' nostalgia for the original games, and pointed out that there were many players who did not have such criticisms.[64]

In July 2014, the British Advertising Standards Authority ruled that Electronic Arts' advertising that the game is free misled customers,[65][66] ordered the addition of fine print explaining about in-app purchases,[66][67] and banned the original adverts.[68] Electronic Arts counter-claimed that in-app purchases are not mandatory and that Gems are obtainable in-game.[69] Responding to the public criticisms, Andrew Wilson of Electronic Arts admitted that they "misjudged the economy", and resolved to learn from them.[70] He also stated that they failed to deliver value.[71] Peter Molyneux stated that they forgot about Dungeon Keeper's spirit, and expressed regret at not offering his input on the game, despite being consulted by the developers.[70] Electronic Arts' head of mobile, Frank Gibeau, also stated that they "innovated too much".[72] Shamus Young of The Escapist cited Electronic Arts' lack of understanding of the market and game design, and poor public relations as reasons the game was not successful.[58]

See Also[]

Dungeon Keeper Mobile Wiki


  1. Finally, this is the end of DK mobile. Keeper Klan (17 May 2022). Retrieved on 29 May 2022.
  2. Dungeon Keeper Mobile is Retiring On August 9th, 2022. EA (May 2022). Retrieved on 28 September 2022.
  3. Vincent Ingenito (7 October 2013). Dungeon Keeper Reboot: The Price of Being Bad. IGN. Ziff Davis.
  4. Mike Fahley (30 January 2014). It's Not Classic Dungeon Keeper, But It's Not All Bad. Kotaku. G/O Media.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 5.9 Eurogamer (10 February 2014). Dungeon Keeper - Eurogamer Let's Play. YouTube. Google.
  6. Debbie Timmins (27 August 2013). Dungeon Keeper Preview Pt. 1 – Rooms and Traps. The Average Gamer. Rock Base Projects Ltd.
  7. EA Mobile Games (19 March 2014). Dungeon Keeper FAQs: Claiming Gold Mines & Stone Quarries. YouTube. Google.
  8. 8.0 8.1 EA Mobile Games (26 March 2014). Dungeon Keeper FAQs: Excavation Strategy & Gem Rewards. YouTube. Google.
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  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 Dan Whitehead (5 February 2014). Dungeon Keeper review. Eurogamer. Gamer Network.
  11. Debbie Timmins (28 August 2013). Dungeon Keeper Preview Pt 2 – Combat and IAP. The Average Gamer. Rock Base Projects Ltd.
  12. Gameplay FAQ. Dungeon Keeper. Electronic Arts (27 September 2013).
  13. FAQ: Guilds!. Dungeon Keeper. Electronic Arts (4 April 2014).
  14. Guild Tournaments 101. Dungeon Keeper. Electronic Arts (24 April 2014).
  15. EA Mobile Games (24 April 2014). Dungeon Keeper: Introducing... Guild Tournaments!. YouTube. Google.
  16. FAQ: The League of Evil. Dungeon Keeper. Electronic Arts (28 March 2014).
  17. EA Mobile Games (24 April 2014). Dungeon Keeper: Introducing... The League of Evil. YouTube. Google.
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  19. Mike Fahley (21 August 2013). Dungeon Keeper Returns... As A Mobile Game. Kotaku. G/O Media.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Alec Meer (1 April 2014). How To Remake Dungeon Keeper. Rock Paper Shotgun. Gamer Network.
  21. Tracey Lien (21 August 2013). Dungeon Keeper coming to iOS and Android later this year. Vox Media.
  22. Ryan Whitwam (20 August 2013). Electronic Arts And Mythic Studio Will Bring The Classic Game Dungeon Keeper To Android Later This Year. Android Police.
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  27. Paul Semel (5 February 2014). EA responds to fevered 'Dungeon Keeper' paywall criticism. TabTimes.
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  29. Tony Zhang (14 October 2013). Dungeon Keeper Soft-Launched on Google Play, Coming to the App Store Next Month. AppsGoer.
  30. Retro Gamer Team (30 January 2014). "Dungeon Keeper Out Now On Android And iOS". Retro Gamer (Imagine Publishing). https://www.retrogamer.net/blog_post/dungeon-keeper-out-now-on-android-and-ios/. Retrieved 4 December 2016. 
  31. Dungeon Keeper By Electronic Arts. iTunes. Apple Inc..
  32. Dungeon Keeper. Google Play. Google.
  33. Tom Phillips (30 January 2014). EA launches free-to-play Dungeon Keeper for iOS, Android. Eurogamer. Gamer Network.
  34. Jon Robinson (2 October 2013). "EA has massive hit on its (evil) hands with Dungeon Keeper". Adweek (Shamrock Capital). https://www.adweek.com/performance-marketing/ea-has-massive-hit-on-its-evil-hands-with-dungeon-keeper/. Retrieved 26 January 2023. 
  35. Peter Lipman. Dungeon Keeper - Mobile. Retrieved on 28 February 2024.
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  37. Jake Valentine (8 March 2014). Dungeon Keeper Review: How EA wanted me to play it [date mislabeled as "February 28, 2014"]. GameZone.
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  43. Jörg Luibl (3 February 2014). Test: Dungeon Keeper (de). 4Players. 4Players GmbH.
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  45. 45.0 45.1 Shaun Musgrave (5 February 2014). 'Dungeon Keeper' Review – The Dark Lord Would Be Pleased. TouchArcade. TouchArcade.com, LLC.
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  54. David Oxford (31 January 2014). Dungeon Keeper Review. Slide to Play.
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  57. James Vincent. "Dungeon Keeper mobile remake deemed 'unplayable' due to in-app purchases", 10 February 2014. 
  58. 58.0 58.1 Shamus Young (15 July 2014). How Electronic Arts Made Dungeon Keeper A Huge Fiasco. The Escapist. Gamurs.
  59. Luke Villapaz (10 February 2014). 'Dungeon Keeper' Review Controversy: EA Responds To Accusation Of Rating Manipulation In Google Play Store. International Business Times. IBT Media.
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  61. Jeffery Matulef (6 February 2014). Dungeon Keeper Android's rating system filters out "1-4 star" reviews. Eurogamer. Gamer Network.
  62. David Hing (11 February 2014). EA filtering non-5 star ratings for Dungeon Keeper. bit-gamer. Bit-Tech.
  63. Timothy Geigner (13 February 2014). EA: You Can Only Rate Our Dungeon Keeper App If you Give It A Perfect Rating. Techdirt. Floor64, Inc..
  64. Mike Rose (6 February 2014). EA downplays Dungeon Keeper free-to-play criticisms. Game Developer. Informa.
  65. Mike Rose (2 July 2014). UK regulatory body rules that free-to-play Dungeon Keeper isn't really free. Game Developer. Informa.
  66. 66.0 66.1 ASA Ruling on Electronic Arts Ltd. Advertising Standards Authority]].
  67. Sam Machkovech (2 July 2014). British regulator: EA "misled" by calling Dungeon Keeper free-to-play. Ars Technica. Condé Nast.
  68. Wesley Yin-Poole (2 July 2014). UK watchdog bans Dungeon Keeper ad, accuses EA of "misleading" customers. Eurogamer. Gamer Network.
  69. Marla Desat (3 July 2014). Dungeon Keeper Ads Misleading, Concludes UK Advertising Watchdog. The Escapist. Gamurs.
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  71. Stew Shearer (26 June 2014). Cash Grab Dungeon Keeper Was Wrong, Admits EA CEO. The Escapist. Gamurs.
  72. Ian Davis (9 July 2014). EA: Dungeon Keeper Failed by "Innovating Too Much". The Escapist. Gamurs.


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