We’re Going Underground: KeeperRL

If someone has made a game that mixes Dwarf Fortress with The Sims, I haven’t played it yet. I really want to play it though. Instead of mountainhomes and goblin raiders, there would be suburbs and plagues of hipsters. The beautifully ugly dive bar on the corner is reconfigured into a barista training school, where the only skill taught is ‘nonchalant superiority’. People would still lose their minds if they didn’t have enough chairs but instead of sealing themselves in a room and engraving, they’d hit the streets and form vigilante gangs.

KeeperRL is not that game but it is one of my favourite current DF-lites, with a strong Dungeon Keeper vibe as the name suggests. I’ve written about it before and an updated alpha release and crowdfunding success are reason enough to return to the underground.

Here’s the changelog, with two updates since our last coverage.

Friendly and unfriendly vaults with dragons, etc. Found when digging
deep into the mountain.
Day/night cycle.
Dwarf town moved to the top level.
Vampires have night vision.

Three new music tracks.
Graphical decorations of UI.
Barricades and bridges.
Torches and lighting.
More interesting elf behaviours.
Locking doors.
Combat balance improvements.
Improvements on how minions pick equipment and consumables.
Keeper can work in laboratory.
Keeper becomes more powerful when leveling.
Fixed a bunch of crashes and bugs.

“With dragons, etc.” really should have been the name of the second Hobbit film.

KeeperRL doesn’t have ambitions to be as wildly complex as Dwarf Fortress (nothing in gaming does, surely?) but the most recent update should bring about the need for new building strategies. The interface is one of the best things about the game, which is rare in tile-based indie management sims. I do like a good interface.


  1. deej says:

    Love this game. Though it can get a bit hard sometimes. I currently mix it up between this 2D game and the new 3D Dungeon Keeper game War for the Overworld.

  2. miki151 says:

    “KeeperRL doesn’t have ambitions to be as wildly complex as Dwarf Fortress” – How do you know? :P

    Thanks for the write-up!


  3. Einhaender says:

    Dwarf Fortress kinda spoiled me.

    Whenever there’s a game like this, I get the urge to play it. But after a while I’ll just get back to df to get the “full package” even though these games might have a different direction.

    It’s a bit like eating a burger somewhere, while you have all the ingredients to make an even better one at home.


    It’s the only way.

  4. Gothnak says:

    Not being able to understand anything in DF, i just tried this out.

    I built a small base, got some Gnomes, an Ogre and researched some weapons. Went out into the world butchered some elven children in their sleep and then found a Lizardmen village. Got as far as the shop where someone set off a gas trap which sent me to sleep while poisoned, game over.

    i thought it was pretty fun, but at the same time, thought i had seen a lot of the game in that quick 20 min playthrough.

  5. DrollRemark says:

    That, or “The Hobbit: Hey Here’s That Dragon We Cock Teased You With Last Film!”

  6. MrFinnishDude says:

    Yeah, it would be utter insanity to even think about anything being more complex than Dwarf Fortress.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      Dwarf Fortress: the game which grinds to halt under it’s own complexity because everything runs in a single thread so people think it’s way super complex when it’s just really shitty software design.

      • Amun says:

        If Toady weren’t such a nice guy (in my mind at least), I would be working on an open source clone.

        • harley9699 says:

          Is there still nothing that comes even close…and non-ASCII? (released and not alpha)

          • DantronLesotho says:

            My thoughts reading your comment:

            “Is there still nothing that comes even close?”
            “…released and not alpha?”

            IMO nobody knows when to finish these kinds of games because they want -everything- in them like DF does.

      • DoktorV says:

        You do realize DF has been in continuous development since before multi-core processors were available in consumer-grade computers, right?

  7. DantronLesotho says:

    Finally someone else draws the comparison from DF to Sims. My girlfriend showed me how to play the Sims one time, and was like “you have to tell this person to make breakfast, and then they will get sleepy and want to lay down. Then you have to put a shower and a toilet in the bathroom so they can do both. You can have a dog follow them around but you have to make sure it’s fed and gets out of the house, and then you can go to work for the rest of the time, etc etc” and it struck me that The Sims is Dwarf Fortress with shopping malls.