I really appreciate when developers attempt to mash up different genres to create something new. Sometimes it turns out terribly, but my new favorite games are often a mash-up of one or more ideas to great something new. Dome Keeper is such a game.
Dome Keeper is a tower defense game with roguelike elements. In it, you play as the eponymous Dome Keeper. Your goal is to protect your dome in a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by horrifying creatures. You’re dropped in from orbit with little instruction. In fact, Dome Keeper has minimal to no instruction on how to play. But it’s simple enough: dig, find resources, and use those resources to upgrade your Dome Keeper or the dome and its defenses, because there are lots of monsters coming, and you’ll have to fight them off.
Between waves you have to dig into the ground, ever deeper, as you attempt to find gold and other resources that will upgrade or heal your dome. Once your dome is shattered, your run is over. But you can upgrade your dome’s defenses to give yourself a better fighting chance. There are also items you can find in the ground that you can add to the defense of the dome, or give you advantages like the ability to ping for minerals in the earth, or have a creature that can dig for you. In the normal game mode, once you dig deep enough to find the relic (and return it) you win.
Dome Keeper has a great gameplay loop. Monsters will regularly attack your dome, so you only have a little bit of time to dig mines underneath your dome to gather the resources you need for upgrades or repair. It turns each moment of your “down time” into a risk versus reward decision. Even if you find a huge cache of resources, you still have to drag those resources back to your base–and you can only carry so many. How many you can carry, and how fast, is dependent on upgrades. Of course, do you want to spend your valuable materials upgrading your capacity to mine, or your base defenses?
As of right now, there are only two types of domes in Dome Keeper, and one type of player character with a second “coming soon.” There is a significant difference in the way the two domes operate, and each has their own skill tree. The laser dome’s primary defense is a slow moving laser, while the sword dome has a giant sword that you can use to slice at enemies nearby, or launch at further away enemies.
It’s a bit of a bummer there is only one type of Dome Keeper available to play as. In fact, the entirety of Dome Keeper seems a bit lacking, content-wise. I saw most of what the game had to offer within the first couple of hours of gameplay. Perhaps developer Bippinbits will continue to release updates to help flesh out the game’s content.
Despite being light on content, Dome Keeper is a great, novel twist on tower defense and roguelike games. It has an amazingly compelling gameplay loop that compelled me to test out different strategies. Unfortunately, I feel like I got most of what I could out of Dome Keeper in only a half dozen hours or so. I’ll definitely come back to it once it has more content.
Dome Keeper is available now for PC via Steam.
A Steam key was provided to us for this review