Impire: Does This Ring Any Bells?

Sometimes good can come from renewing games. This is one of those times.

Created by Cyanide Studios and released February 14, 2013, Impire seems hauntingly reminiscent of another game that likely ignites a little happiness, that is if you were a Bullfrog dev fan. Although the game came out a few months ago, I’ve only recently found the game and ever since playing the first couple of levels, I’ve noticed that the game is nearly a reboot of Dungeon Keeper 2.

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The basic gist is that you play an arch demon summoned by a wizened old warlock looking to take over earth one dungeon at a time. Right off that bat you might be thinking “Hey! I was supposed to be an arch demon! From the looks of it I’m just a stupid little imp!” Well that’s the case at first but as the game progresses you actually grow in size and your appearance changes, which helps provide incentive for the player in an otherwise weak story. The whole thing is largely based around the warlock who summoned you, becoming your master. You do his bidding and a lot of the orders that come from him seem almost based on whimsy rather than having an actual point. This, however, plays to the game’s strength because at its core, Impire is a casual strategy with cheesy, but endearing dialogue and art.

This Sounds Familiar…

Now, I mentioned Dungeon Keeper 2 for a reason and that’s because the core game play and setting is IDENTICAL to that of Impire. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike this rehash because, intentional or not, it really does Dungeon Keeper justice. Sending around your little imp minions to dig out a new room was so satisfying in Dungeon Keeper 2. Although the imps seem to magically create the room instead of digging out each individual tile, the game is a ton of fun and really brings me back. The polish on the graphics engine also serves this well as it’s very nice to see the detailed textures of the rooms and how they clearly differentiate between a basic imp lair and a more detailed torture chamber.

Additionally, the nicely polished mechanics honor the battles that take place between warring dungeons. Now this is a bit different from Dungeon Keeper 2 in that there is not necessarily a “good” dungeon (with paladins, clerics, etc.) and a “bad” dungeon, but the combat effects and style are the same and, while simple, they add a fun action-oriented element to the game.

You’re probably thinking “Hey! What about the game, Dungeons? That seems pretty popular on Steam too!” Well I don’t know nearly as much about it because I just couldn’t get into it. It had a similar play style and purpose, but the setting was just plain different. It lost the comedic relief and became a darker game overall. Maybe I’m biased, but I prefer to stick with a lighthearted casual dungeon maker that I can laugh at and blow off a little steam. What do you guys think?

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Designer, opera singer, gamer, and pug lover.