I really wanted to like this game, but it just wouldn't let me.
The concept of the game is simple: You dig tunnels to create a dungeon maze and populate it with monsters so heroes can't get to the evil Badman and drag him outside. Creating tunnels is easy, as is creating the basic monsters. The basic monsters job in life is to move nutrients and mana around in the soil. Once a patch of soil has an abundance of nutrients it can be dug out to create a more powerful monster.
The first major problem is the ecology doesn't sustain or even build very reliably or quickly. The basic monsters are just as likely to leech out patches as they are to build them up. Multiple monsters in an area can end up working against each other and just shuffle resources around rather than building them up, whereas a single monster is unlikely to build up resources fast enough because...
The second major problem: You have very little time to prepare your dungeon before heroes invade it. It's especially funny that the game tells you how to summon the heroes faster at the beginning of the second level, when you've barely had any time to carve out any space, much less get any monsters combat-ready.
In summation: The concept is simple to grasp, the controls are easy, but the game is very hard, very unforgiving, and winning feels more like a matter of luck than strategy. If the game's concept sounds appealing and you don't get frustrated easily, go ahead and give it a shot. Otherwise, give it a pass.
Perhaps I'm simply missing some core mechanic, but the game simply feels too...random. I've seen monsters that could have saved me, walk off in the direction AWAY from the hero, evolutions that hurt more than helped (more on this later), and getting the slimes to put all the nutrients onto a single block can be infuriating (to say the least).
The biggest problem with this game however, is the previously mentioned "evolution" system. Here is how it works: If food is scarce, a monster will reproduce less and have a slower metabolism. If it has too many predators, it will develop defensive abilities, such as poison (this is VERY bad for your lizards). The problem? The conditions aren't exclusive. The game might decide to give you a food evolution, right when the monster that eats the evolving creature is having a population boom. Also, when a creature evolves it goes up a level. This SOUNDS good, and is in fact useful for helping kill those pesky Heros. One tiny problem though...if a monster becomes too strong it will kill off its predators, causing them to starve/die out. Wich then kill off the REST of the monsters that eat THOSE monsters. So if your slimes evolve a lot (which they will), you might end up in a dungeon full of nothing BUT slimes.
Also, since the game is only 5 stages long, the difficulty curve JUMPS after every stage.
I love, like and dislike this game all at the same time (a 7.5 rating really). I love the game concept and design. Building dungeons is fun and easier to do from a side perspective. The difference in this title from Dungeon Maker series is you worry more about monster spawning and feeding than overall dungeon making since after you build an elaborate maze you realize you need to “hack” away walls just to feed the monster food chain. My largest dislike was the time limit for dungeon creation during the campaign mode. I felt I was just making a maze as fast as I could with limited time for strategy or real monster spawning since the “good” monsters come from feeding off the lower monsters and starving other monsters to morph into different strains.
I would have liked a different view of all the monsters and what their life level is and food level, which would then allow me to alter their food and levels without just destroying bricks. The free play mode was great but it would have been better to start sending in the heroes “X” amount at a time to see how long your dungeon lasted (like a tower defense game). I was on the edge of purchasing this version, just as I was Dungeon Maker 2, but I found myself enjoying my long time passion for Monster Hunter Unite as well as Metal Gear. I foresee a third version of this title and hopefully a monster and hero editor and network player options.