This time around on It Came From the Quarter Bin, we’re going to try something a bit different. Twinfinite is a gaming, anime and comics blog so I figured I would branch out and pick up one of the other hobbies. Seeing as how I have yet to stumble upon any anime DVD for less than a dollar, process of elimination turns this into our first gaming post in the series.
Not sure how many of these gaming editions we’ll get out, but a quarter is still a quarter so it still counts.
Why I Bought It
Google was running a special app sale for their 25 billionth download. To commemorate, they threw a bunch of games on sale for 25 cents and one of these titles was Dungeon Village from Japanese developer Kairosoft. Now, Kairosoft made a game called Game Dev Story that stands today as my anti-drug. Who needs dope when you can waste hours of your life micromanaging a game development company?
So any title I can see from these guys looks like it could be worth my time. Really though, the RPG aesthetic grabbed me and I was secretly hoping to see how these guys could make out with their own version of Dragon Quest. Statistics and menus make up for most of what JRPGs are, and that’s practically all Kairosoft does. While I’m not always optimistic of mobile games, this had the chance to be one of the first RPGs I’ve enjoyed on my phone.
Kairosoft is a developer that has been around the Japanese games industry for a very long time. Starting off with PC games and before moving in to the mobile market, Kairosoft quickly set up a name for themselves as simulation game developers. In 1996, the studio came out with The Used Bookstore and then backed it up with the title that made them famous, Game Dev Story, in 1997.
Sequels to Game Dev Story and The Bookstore would follow as well as a Manga sim roughly translated to Narrow Road to the Deep North Manga. With these games, the company had a base in simulation style development. After tinkering with a mobile phone card game called Card Change, the developers had a new avenue to work in. Mobile phone games being an industry that blossomed much quicker in Japan than in the US, Kairosoft really began to make a name for themselves with their ports of their big PC games.
In 2001, they would move on from the PC market and focus entirely on phones. From here the little studio would grow to around 9 developers and produce many different simulation games ranging from game store to race car management. With the push of “smart phones” around the world in the iPhone and other devices, Kairosoft re-branded and opened Kairopark as their iPhone and Android hub in 2008. Titles re-released under Kairopark would be improved and updated for current mobile phones.
In 2010, Kairosoft would attempt an English release of their updated version of Game Dev Story to great success. This opened the market to more ports and the company would begin retooling their older software to American audiences while continuing to work on new games. Dungeon Village would release in early 2012 with an English version coming only a few months later.
What Dungeon Village is All About
You as the mayor of a small village town must transform it from a remote community in to a bustling hub for adventurers. You will only have a term of 15 years and those town people will judge you on how you build their city. Starting with a simple Inn, Coffee Shop, Pharmacy and Armor Shop, this town must then be built up in to something worth while.
To do so is going to take smart planning and manipulation as you send Adventurers out on quests to bring in money and use their hard work to fund better stores, roads and more. Beautifying the scenery and increasing the appeal of buildings goes a long way to build revenue and throwing an event or two really raises morale. Dungeons are plentiful but adventurers aren’t and the only way to save the village from monster threats is to support those who keep it safe.
Is It Good?
Like most Kairosoft games, this is a good simulation game masked with a quirky background. The real question however lies in if it is as good as the game that launched the company. Unfortunately, I don’t think that Dungeon Village is as good as Game Dev Story. That’s okay though because what we have here is solid enough.
Dungeon Village allows the player some breathing room compared to Game Dev Story and that’s where the game gets to be played at your own speed as you try to figure out how to maximize profits. Figuring out how to max out the price on your stores, craft the right items in the Cauldron and build your town up efficiently enough to get to level 5. The variables are what make the game more compelling, even if it slows it down a bit.
Gathering items can be given to warriors, the cauldron and shops for upgrades so balancing everything is a bit more chaotic. There is an appeal in that, but it also makes it so that you need to be following the correct paths from the get go. With a game this long, and with this many variables, it’s a bit trickier to redirect if you fall behind. This is a town building sim, so I shouldn’t be expecting too much. It’s all about hitting goals and advancing society. Goals have to be predetermined and it’s up to the player to gain the means of unlocking them.
This length and straightforwardness makes the first playthrough fun, but diminishes the second and third which is a shame. This is especially true with the recycled and recolored boss sprite.
Maybe all it would take is a tighter set of guidelines with some more variables to explore would have made this truly great. The aesthetics still are all classic Kairosoft and I just about threw my phone up in happiness when I stumbled across the adventurer “Bamza Reoulv.” Little things like that just charm the pants off me.
While Dungeon Village doesn’t live up to Game Dev Story, it’s still a great little simulation game. Managing the town while sending out adventurers to take on enemies like the mighty Dragga is fun and once you add the Cauldron, the game really starts to open up. Its a great way to kill hours of your life and that’s always a success in my book. The Kairosoft games all have a pedigree of great gaming sims and this little RPG city sim is an odd but effective mash up. For a quarter, this was well worth the change.