You're wandering through a rural town with only a few buildings, and it's obviously been here for a long time. There's the weapons shop, the armory, the inn which costs you 19 gold for an evening's stay, and a quick bath in an oversized washbasin that hasn't seen a cleaning since last century.

A few simple flowers dot the edges of the town's path, dots of color bobbing in your vision as you look out towards a wide open field. Smiling slimes crawl happily through the grass outside the city limits, waiting for you to stab them and gain a few paltry coins from their gelatinous bodies. Soon, you'll save up enough gold to make your town bigger and better, and the adventurers will learn of its name.

If this all sounds eerily familiar, it could be for two reasons: You've already played Dragon Quest, or you're hitting that same point with Kairosoft games that I am: complete and total oversaturation. I really tried to judge Dungeon Village [$3.99] on its quality and ease of gameplay, but let's face it, there's only so much city building one can do before you need to go get up and do something else. Anything else.

This is really not about Kairosoft's games not being cute. Dungeon Village is really cute. Using the same management system that started with Game Dev Story [$4.99 / Free] and has continued throughout all of their titles, it challenges you to construct and maintain a thriving city that adventurers will want to come and stay in between quests (and possibly live in, if you're lucky).

Much like the system in Epic Astro Story [$3.99 / Free], you will be able to assign a team to leave the town and go investigate the land to get their hands on treasure and gold while they fight enemies. When they find loot such as weapons and armor, you can sell it in the stores in your town, making it a more appealing place for adventurers to visit.

You wil be able to build all sorts of additions to your town while you manage these quests and hold events to boost the town's popularity. Shops like Combat School and Magic School will be available later down the line, and you can use these to soup up your adventurers' skill sets so they can take on bigger and better quests. As usual, Kairosoft gives nods to classic RPGs of the past with tongue-in-cheek names; your first adventurer is named "Clown Stripe." I admit it, I giggled.

There is one new addition,which allows you to toss items into a giant cauldron and make new goodies. While it's a nice touch, it doesn't cloak what's at the heart of this game, which is basically the same formula wearing yet another new mask. I noticed reading the iTunes reviews that a lot of people were foaming at the mouth for this one, so clearly, the audience is not sated yet, but I admit I've had enough.

That being said, Dungeon Village is still a well-made, fun game that will offer plenty of gameplay for the price. It definitely feels like their most streamlined version of their formula so far, and comes strongly recommended if you haven't done the Kairosoft thing to death yet. But if you've had enough of the sim formula from Kairosoft  you may want to give it a rest, lest you end up as burned out on it as I am.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • http://www.facebook.com/calvinchew Calvin Chew

    Have played Game Dev. Story and that other one with the shopping mall, and I've gotten sick of the formula. Will be passing this most likely...

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5FLRQI2X2LU3IHMCG7HEAEFD5I Cat Astrophy

      You actually played the only 2 good ones imo

  • Tara Teich

    I actually don't mind the formula.  My issue was that this one has very little replayability.  I managed to get through all the content on the first play through.  No real reason to keep playing just to top a score, I usually replay until I've unlocked everything possible.

  • Press2Play

    kairosoft please make a real rpg where the character can freely roam, i dont care if you use the same graphics as long as i can control my character and have a real adventure.

    • KenGriffeyIII

      That's not really what they do though. That's kinda like asking PopCap to make a game like Skyrim.

      • Noah

        Can that happen, please?

      • KenGriffeyIII

        Ha ha that would actually be pretty awesome.

      • http://profiles.google.com/sokolov22 Derek Chin

        PopCap Skyrim would turn every soccer mom into a hardcore gamer.  I am not sure the world is ready for that.

  • Ryan J Gill

    Kairosoft....let's face it...you have to pick one or two genres you prefer and stick with those KS games (I stick with Game Dev and Epic Astro). I would like to see them innovate, I think they have potential to take it a step further.

  • Muhammad Hanafi Abd Latif

    At last, a reviewer spill it out.  I have waited long enough for them to realized that kairosoft is just reskinned the same game over and over again with a little tweak to their formula.

  • Zephiros

    I've bought every single game from Kairosoft, and this was the one I was expecting the most. Loved it like I loved every single one before it. Recommended

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YSYYB7PKCRIMLNBDJNUTEMWSAQ Steve

    I would love thier games if they put more work into the graphics when playing on an ipad, they all look pretty bad at the moment

  • alyfantis

    Anything less than 12 stars is to little for this game.

    (Yeah, their games are all kinda reskins but I could play this game for an eternity without getting sick of it.)

  • Garrett Granger

    I felt burned out about Kairosoft games for the last one, Astro Story, but this one has me completely hooked. Not sure if it's the setting, which I'm partial to, or the mechanics, but this is solidly in the top 3 Kairosoft games for me.

  • ngajoe

    ...And I pretty much buy every one of their games the instant it comes out. Not tired of it yet. I always enjoy trying to solve the economic puzzle presented in each one. Strangely, I couldn't figure this one out. I thought Epic Astro was their best to date.

  • John Doe

    $3.99 for this fun a game?  Why can't it be free instead?  That's where most_uniQue comes in :) awesome gameplay for a free download!  Now that's fun!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/G2YKLWVKEF7DBEAQFG32MSXQYA Jags

    Touch Arcade is a great site for articles and info, but I gotta be honest, their ratings usually are a bit off.  I find 148apps, and appspy to be more accurate in their game ratings.  This is how I see it, if Touch Arcade gives a 5, that means it deserves a  3.5, if they give it 4.5....for some reason, this is where they are spot on, if they give it a 4, that usually means  it deserves a 5, if they give it a 3.5 that means it deserves a 4. 
    A 3 star rating on TA means the game deserves either a 4.5, or it acually sucks and deserves a 2.
    Anything below a 3 star rating is controversial and will not discussed in this explanation.
    Now once you become familiar with this system, it becomes much easier to understand their rating system.  But then again it's also much easier to just go to appspy or 148apps for reviews.......sorry TA

    • Noah

      Ohh, I hadn't heard of 148apps before. See ya Eli!

      • Noah

        Oh My God. Just checked out that site. It's horrible... like it was made in 1998. Too many contrasting colors! I'm sorry Eli... please take me back. I'll never leave you again.

  • http://twitter.com/gebbuxton Geb Buxton

    It's a fun Kairosoft game with zero replay value. They really need to learn the value of a little extra development time to implement leader boards and achievements - the games would be soo much better then. I recommend it, but only knowing that when you are done, you will most likely be ready to move on. Without an easy way to compare scores, we are all playing in isolation from one another....

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.orth.927 Michael Orth

    I find it a bit strange to moan about being oversaturated with Kairosoft games and at the same time giving Pocket Planes a 5 star rating.

    Sure, some KS games are plain boring and after the fifth reincarnation you really know the formula. On the other hand, if PP would have been released by Kairosoft, everyone would say "that's their weakest so far".

    But hey, it's NimbleBit and for free.

    • http://profiles.google.com/sokolov22 Derek Chin

      As always, it is prudent to point out that different reviewers reviewed those respective games.

  • http://twitter.com/Sephi_Toderas Paul Toderas

    Academy/Venture/Edo were really boring and somehow the same. The others I quite enjoyed. Game Dev is the best still. 

    This one is also nice, but after year 15 there's nothing new. 

  • darkcheetah

    I have to ask...do people complaining about Kairosoft's similarly made games play and complain about any of these titles...Streetfighter...Tekken...Call of Duty...Battlefield...any FPS for that matter...any RTS...any Dungeon Crawler. I mean most of the popular games out are rehashes so why all the hate at Kairosoft?

  • adambates84

    Totally agree the kairosoft formula is getting a tad old and as much as I like dungeon village I can't see myself buying more of their titles unless the put in a few changes to freshen them up.

  • http://profiles.google.com/justinbeech justin b

    I am not a rabid kairosoft fan, some of their games hit with me and some miss. the racing one was a miss (I expected a hit) this one is a solid hit.
    they get a bit old because, when they hit, you put so many hours into them!
    I just can't play the many freemium games with insatiable demands on my wallet. cant and wont. (tiny tower, trade nations, etc etc)

    At least with a kairosoft title for 3 bucks you get everything and 10 hours in, you are still seeing new stuff (even if the bg tune hasn't changed).

  • xzeldax3

    I see alot of people complaining that Kairosoft games are just rehashes of themselves, they need to make iPad versions, and other things. I don't expect the average iPhone gamer to know this, but every Kairosoft game is a port of a game made for PC in the 90's. They probably thought it would be a good fit for the mobile market and it was. People saying that the art style is just a stupid "fad" are very ignorant. Kairosoft is just bringing its relatively unknown games to a wider audience.

    Sure, they could add achivements and other iOS features, but they are probably on a budget and want to make a profit. You know how it is in Game Dev Story, you got to cut corners on a tight budget. I don't actually know if Kairsoft is low budget, but I am assuming.

    By the way, they did experiment with GamerCenter for Game Dev, so there's a little ray of hope for future updates for their titles.

  • http://www.meadiciona.com/charles_anjos Charles Albert

    The Gamedev and the Mall were the best - hell, the GDS was my particular stash of digital crack for a good, not-productive week. The others fall pretty short near these two, I wonder which case this one follows

    • http://profiles.google.com/sokolov22 Derek Chin

      For me, it's Hot Springs Story and this one.  Game Dev Story is a close 3rd though.

      • http://www.meadiciona.com/charles_anjos Charles Albert

        goddamit, how could i forget hot springs, this is nice too

  • jakeliu

    They should make it cost only a dollar, I won't buy same game formula with different skin more then a dollar. (Average spend $3-500 on app store every month) so I'm not cheap lol

    I buy almost all their game, but what is the point replay same thing over and over again?

Dungeon Village Reviewed by Colette Bennett on . Rating: 4