Legend of Keepers Review – The Skeleton Union Is Strong
Developed by Goblinz Studio
Published by Golblinz Publishing
Available on PC, Nintendo Switch
I’m not a fantasy guy. I say that because Legend of Keepers is a very fantasy game. There are goblins, orcs, and heroic archetypes like rangers and fighters. This is fine of course, but what really drew me in was the not-strictly-fantasy stuff. There are ghosts, skeletons, living armor, Japanese yokai, and even a living gargoyle, which is dope. Legend of Keepers is a fantasy dungeon management sim. You work for a company that provides dungeon services for monsters. You begin the game with a tutorial done by a monster HR person of sorts, who explains what you do for the company.
The game at first appears simple, but is surprisingly deep. Your job is to get a dungeon ready for adventurers. You’re not holding a party for them, but getting ready to murder them. You’ll have a preparation phase where you can add groups of monsters, traps, special spells, and later on, disasters. When setting up your monsters, you’re given a fairly simple roster to start with. I had a big ol’ orc, a flaming skeleton, and some type of poison elemental. As you play through and beat dungeons, you’ll get a choice to unlock new monsters. This is great for me, because I was noticing a trend: most of the time I was offered a skeleton of some sort.
Skeleton choice in Legend of Keepers is a beautiful thing. There are fire skeletons, skeleton scientists, skeleton marching band leaders, skeleton bulls, poison archer skeletons. The list goes on and on. Legend of Keepers really shines when it comes to skeleton choice. So I began my skeleton army, choosing only cool skeletons as my reward for beating levels. The only problem I came across, was that my original roster provided by the game contained non-skeletons. That’s not a huge problem in Legend of Keepers, as there is a black market option, where you can sell non-skeleton or otherwise unwanted monsters.
The game outside of dungeons is a management sim. You’re given a week by week schedule between dungeon defenses that you can use to check out the aforementioned black market, level up your monsters, or go on work retreats or team building exercises (I’m not kidding). As you are running a business, it comes with the standard office rigmarole. You’ll be sending your monsters to go see a therapist just as often as you’ll send them plundering. As your monsters defend dungeons, they’ll start to suffer from burnout. Like any business, your employees need time off. They can be placed in a garrison to chill out while you cycle in fresher, less jaded monsters to do the heavy work. It’s not all bad. If you successfully defend a dungeon, your monsters in the garrison will get a boost from seeing their comrades do a good job. Legend of Keepers is all about healthy work habits.
It’s all very silly. In the first set of dungeons, you’re working for a large centaur. He is the last line of defense if the adventurers push through your monsters and traps. He has a giant health pool, and his stats can be upped via random events on your week by week work schedule, or through rewards from completing dungeons. The farther you get through the game. the more options become available for different dungeon masters. In my time with the game I saw a dryad-like forest enchantress, and a machine focused engineer as choices. Your dungeon master can be upgraded as well as leveled up, and leveling is how you’ll unlock the different dungeon masters.
The aesthetic is pleasing. Crisp and detailed pixel art with backdrops that look like paintings. The world of Legend of Keepers is beautiful. Every attack is animated. Whether you’re firing a fireball at the adventurers, or your skeleton scientist is chugging chemicals so he can projectile vomit at enemies, it’s all lovingly animated. In my time with Legend of Keepers I kept finding new things to enjoy. Setting up dungeon defenses is great, and the random events and upgrades from the schedule board keeps things fresh. All in all, this isn’t a job I think I’m going to quit anytime soon. You can pick up your copy of Legend of Keepers HERE.