Sometimes, the simplest ideas are the best.
Dome Keeper certainly fits that bill, anyway. Tasked with being the titular Dome Keeper, it’s your job to keep aggressive alien forces from attacking your dome. It’s equipped with a gun and, providing you live long enough, it can be upgraded in a myriad of other ways. But the living long enough is key.
There’s no way out of your dome: it’s completely sealed from every side – except underneath. An underground opening allows you to dig and, having a jetpack and a drill strapped to you, means you can move and dig easily in any direction. By digging you’ll find resources which will allow you to upgrade both yourself and your dome. And rather than those resources being added straight to your inventory, you need to manually carry them. You can only carry so many, and your speed is impacted if you’re overloaded, so it’s a balancing act of how much time you have versus how many resources you need before you face the next wave of enemies.
You’ll want to consider your upgrades carefully as they can mean the difference between life and death. Upgrading your dome’s defences is important because as the game progresses, those attacking aliens really up the ante. But equally, you’ll want to upgrade your drill to more quickly dig through tougher layers. You can also increase your health, the speed of your jetpack, how many resources you can carry at once, the power of your dome’s weapon, and more.
Perhaps key to real success in Dome Keeper, though, comes with the upgrade chips you can find by digging. These give you meaningful upgrades that completely change things up, like a second gun that automatically stuns enemies, or a transporter that allows you to instantly move from a dig spot back to your dome. Finding a chip will give you a choice of three upgrades, but the choices you’re given are random.
Since it’s a roguelike, getting your dome destroyed means Game Over. And if you’re not careful, that can come very swiftly. You can repair your dome after an attack, providing you’ve got the required resources – but resource placement is random. It’s possible you can dig and dig without finding anything. And with waves of enemies coming in every few minutes, you don’t get much time to keep searching. Skill plays a part, of course, but your fate can also feel down to luck depending on how successful your mining has been.
The ultimate goal of a run is to locate a master upgrade of sorts, unleashing a powerful, deadly attack on all enemies in your vicinity. Locate it and bring it back to your dome, and you’ve completed a run. There’s plenty of reason to keep jumping back in, though, thanks to multiple difficulty levels and various starting perks that unlock the more you play.
Don’t let Dome Keeper‘s simplicity put you off: in fact, it’s that simplicity that makes it so great in the first place. Free of bloat and complicated mechanics, this game of survival against the odds will keep you coming back for more. And more.
Dome Keeper Review: GameSpew’s Score
This review of Dome Keeper has been facilitated by a code provided by the publisher. It’s available on PC.