Dome Keeper is a most excellent strategy platformer we delighted in from the get-go. It’s from the indie team Bippinbits in Dresden, Germany.
This thing is a curious mix of Image & Form’s SteamWorld Dig 2 meets Bullfrog’s classic Dungeon Keeper. And that’s a glorious thing indeed, which means it’s no surprise this is one of the gaming highlights of 2022.
Stop the Aliens (!!!) in Dome Keeper
Right, so as we mentioned above Dome Keeper is a mishmash of genres. It’s technically a roguelike, but also mixes in elements of strategy sims.
On your very first go, you’ll see a dome crashing into a planet. Your goal is then to mine the local area for resources, powering up your dome and engineer as you go along, whilst fending off marauding aliens.
We’re not sure why, but the game had us thinking about the eerie as all hell film Time Masters (1982). But here’s the general gameplay in action.
Looks simple, eh? Well, it’s ruddy tough as nails. Even on the easiest setting you’ll be up against it in Dome Keeper.
On your first go you’ll get whooped. The crucial thing is to learn from your experiences and improve on each go. Our basic guide to doing well is this:
- Move bloody fast and don’t bloody dawdle!
- Dig in patterns—three layers down then dig to the right or left, doing this with each three layers. It’s your best way of finding resources.
- Focus on powering-up your engineer first so he moves faster, can carry more loot, and improve his drilling power.
- Between bouts of #3, make sure you power up your dome. Those alien waves increase in intensity faster than you’ll appreciate.
- Use special powers wisely. You’ll get various options, but we found the teleport is incredibly handy on the bigger maps.
You’ll adapt your own playing style, though, but the key point is—move fast! Early on you really have to get on with it. Otherwise you’re doomed! And if you’re wondering, this is all how it looks in full gameplay form.
Our verdict on Dome Keeper? Bloody awesome, mate! Very addictive indeed. We knew it’d be good, you can just tell with some games, but it hooks you in.
You just have to keep drilling! And the rushes between waves of aliens as you see the little timer counting down… that thrill of taking another rush to get some more resources!
It looks fantastic, has a great soundtrack (see below), and yeah… addictive!
What more could you want? It delivers on its premise to perfection and will have you dreaming about digging stuff up long into the night. And its various playing modes offer plenty of longevity.
The only downside is the difficulty level is a bit steep. An easy mode for more casual players would be welcome. We mean, it’s touch enough on normal!
That aside, Dome Keeper is great fun and will keep you diving back into the caves to keep digging so long as there are hordes of aliens to slay. Hurray!
Dome Keeper’s Contemplative Soundtrack
Dome Keeper’s fantabulous, melancholic soundtrack is from Texas composer Cameron Paxton. It has echoes of the recent Metroidvania Ghost Song.
Synth and melancholia drifts in and out of the game’s intense levels, adding a sense of contemplation alongside brooding moments of menace.
The pieces don’t play that much in the game, often you’re left to dig ever deeper to the tune of your power drill whirring away.
That works very well, to be honest, ramping up the sense of solitude.
The music comes in fits and starts. The game is so fast-paced you’re frantically thinking about what you need to do next, only for some lulling tone to kick it and the right moment.
The soundtrack is something to go off and listen to even if you’ve played the game. As we mentioned, you don’t hear huge amounts of it whilst playing.
Go and hunt it down and listen. As it’s a great piece of work! Much like Dome Keeper.