Run your own dungeon and defeat teams of heroes in Legend of Keepers, a strategy turn-based roguelike!
Format: PC via Steam
Play time so far: 31 hours
Cost: 19.99 USD
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Legend of Keepers is a roguelite strategy game with turn-based combat. Players are tasked with defending dungeons from heroes, using a variety of monsters, traps, spells, and as a last defense, themselves. Combat is turn-based and pretty simple, with players relying heavily on their strategic setup when preparing for a group of heroes. Between dungeon defenses players can level up their monsters, traps, and dungeon master using resources gathered from defeated heroes, as well as acquire new monsters, traps, and artifacts. Getting a run started is very quick and successful runs usually last about an hour.
There are three dungeon masters in the game, each with a different skill tree and special monster type. The Slaveholder can use creatures (ex goblins, orcs, etc) and focuses on buffing his monsters and himself. The Enchantress can use elementals and focuses on synergizing types of damage and spells. The Engineer can use mechas and focuses on barriers (aka shields on monsters) and traps. All dungeon masters can use skeleton and demon monsters. Heroes can be defeated by doing enough damage to kill them, but also by demoralizing them and causing them to flee. It’s typically easier to make enemies flee with the Slaveholder than the other dungeon masters, but reducing heroes’ morale can be useful regardless as heroes will take more damage at lower morale. Each dungeon master has 5 missions of increasing difficulty, after which players unlock endless and ascension modes for additional challenges. Players also have the option to customize their difficulty or replay missions. Replaying a mission uses the same starting equipment and monsters, but rolls a new calendar of events and heroes.
Most of the strategy in Legend of Keepers is in setting up each dungeon for the specific group of heroes that need to be defeated. There are approximately 10 different hero classes in the game, each with their own attacks, skills, and (for higher level enemies) random passive abilities. Each hero class also levels up over time, so players can watch their enemies evolve. Outside the class system there are a number of unique champion heroes which serve as bosses for the player. Taking into account the strengths, weaknesses, and arrangement of the heroes is crucial to taking down each party. Your burn team isn’t going to do jack against a Pyromancer. Your Skeleton Soldier is a great frontliner, but not if a Magician shuffles him to the back of your formation. Once players set up their dungeon and confirm, no further changes can be made. While most monsters have two skills, and there can be flexibility in spells, strategy during combat is much more limited so analyzing opponents and planning for their weaknesses is a must.
While most of Legend of Keepers does a good job providing information to the user, there are two distinct places information seems needlessly obscured. The first is while making choices, particular during events. Rewards are often shown as an image, level, and name without details on what the trap or unit does. By comparison, artefacts are always explained. As players become more experienced with the game, this is less of an issue as players can memorize these facts, but for newer players it seems an unnecessary omission. Another place is after a successful dungeon run, players cannot look at their current units and traps while picking their reward. Once again, this seems unnecessary, as players otherwise have full access to knowledge about their roster. The next place this bothered me was in picking promotion options at the beginning of a run, such as in ascension. The player is typically given a random artefact at the beginning of the run and while they can see the icon at the bottom of the screen while picking their promotion, they can’t hover over the artefact for information. Once again, more experienced players will have likely memorized many artefacts by icon, but I frequently found myself looking up my artefact on the wiki before picking my promotion. Lastly I was disappointed that ascension ranks didn’t keep track of which dungeon master I’d beaten them with as I’d have liked to keep track of beating each rank with all dungeon masters.
Overall, I’ve had a lot of fun with Legend of Keepers and I expect to have a lot more. I enjoyed the quests to learn each dungeon master and then doing runs or either the endless or ascension modes. Runs were easy to set up, dungeon masters felt meaningfully different, and I enjoyed seeing the enemy classes level up and develop as opponents. However, I felt some information was needlessly obscured during choices and I wanted the ascension to track which master I’d beaten them with. Some players may also be disappointed with the weight of strategy favoring planning versus combat. I recommend Legend of Keepers for strategy roguelike players excited to turn things around and take on the heroes.