Legend of Keepers is a roguelite dungeon management game with turn-based battles. This time, you are the bad guy and have to take out the heroes.
You start with “Slaveholder” one of three leaders the game has to offer. You can unlock the next one by leveling up the slaveholder to level 5, and the last one by leveling up enchantress to level 6.
Every leader has five missions to do. Each mission is around 40 weeks long. You have starting monsters, traps, and sometimes artifacts. Legends of Keepers basically works like a dungeon crawler but you are the one who needs to build the dungeon and defend it against three heroes who attack your dungeon.
For that purpose, you have several monsters and traps to use. Each dungeon has several rooms. You can’t decide what exactly you want to put in which room, it is predetermined.
For example, there are two rooms for monsters. You can decide which of your monsters go in there, but not if it’s the first, second, or fifth room. Every Dungeon has two rooms for traps and two rooms for monsters. Your Leader will be in the last room, waiting to finish off these heroes. There are also a few other rooms, depending on the difficulty setting and exact dungeon (a room for disasters, or special ability of your leader, etc.).
If you start, you will see how heroes enter your dungeon. When they reach a room with your monsters in it, the turn-based battles will start.
Speed decides which monster or hero starts their turn and so on. Monsters have one, two, or three attacks to choose from.
Don’t be afraid if your monsters die: this is how the game works. It is intended for your monsters to die often. You will defend your dungeon mostly in the second battle or later when the heroes reach your leader.
Keep in mind that turn-based fights aren’t the main mechanic of Legend of Keepers.
Defending a dungeon will grant you gold, monsters, traps, artifacts, or upgrades. If the heroes beat your leader the run is over and you lose.
If one or more monsters of yours die, they will suffer motivation. Each monster has several of them, if they have zero left, they need 10 weeks to recover. If you put them to rest before they reach zero, they will recover faster but you can’t use them in a dungeon while doing so.
Aside from dungeons, there are several encounters like special happenings, a doctor, a merchant, a workout, and a lot more. You can for example buy traps or monsters, level them up, heal your monsters’ motivation instantly, send three monsters on a special mission to gain some rewards, sell them, and a lot more. There are dozens of possibilities.
There are three currencies in the game. Gold, blood, and tears. You gain blood mostly by killing heroes and tears by scaring them out of your dungeon (if they reach zero morale).
Aside from missions, there are two more game modes available.
The second game mode is called endless. Like the name says, your run is endless here (well, it ends if you die!).
The last one is called Ascension. It’s basically a challenge mode and works like covenant ranks in Monster Train. You start your run with one debuff (for example Enemies have 10% more HP). If you win, the next one will have another debuff on top of the one before. The third one will have another debuff stacked on them and so on.
Every run grants your leader EXP. At each level, they gain one talent point which you can spend on a talent tree. There are several buffs or abilities to choose from.
The game doesn’t really offer a story but there are short messages from your superior at the start and end of each mission, as well as in special happenings. The writing is pretty funny overall and loosens up the otherwise dark atmosphere thanks to the sounds, music, and overall look of the game.
What changed during Early Access?
I played the game since it came out in early access. It changed quite a lot and in some ways sadly to the worse. The good thing is that they added a lot of content, like dozens of monsters, traps, artifacts, a new leader, and even two more game modes but they also completely overhauled how the game works.
Back then, there weren’t missions. Just one run with three difficulty settings. A run took two years, 52 weeks per year and it was pretty hard but not unfair. Now, a year (mission) is rather short compared to that and WAY easier. I played all five missions with one leader (level 0), won every mission on the first try and it took me roughly 5 hours.
Before, I played roughly 18 hours to win one run with slaveholder and one with enchantress while leveling them up. It felt challenging and pretty balanced IMO.
The game is fun but it changed for the worse. It was a challenging roguelike before and is too easy now. It’s like they wanted to appeal more to casuals instead of genre veterans to gain more sales and it works. Sales are high and average reviews on steam are very positive.
Don’t get me wrong: Legend of Keepers is a great game with lots of content and a fresh concept in an otherwise generic genre. It is still fun and thanks to the ascension mode, there is something left of what it was before in regards to difficulty and addictiveness but you need to unlock it first by playing all five missions of every Leader first, which sucks.
I still recommend buying the game right now. You can spice things up with higher difficulty settings but also ease it up with a lower difficulty setting.