There are hits on Steam, there are helpful tips, and there’s Infested Fortress: the new strategy game on Steam has 92% positive reviews and players saying it’s highly addictive, but almost no one touches the game when it releases. It feels like RimWorld in a fantasy dungeon. Maybe that’s better, says Schuhmann, author of MeinMMO. Because gaming is addictive and represents a danger to leisure activities.
What kind of game is this?
- Infested Fortress is a strategy game on Steam where you build your dungeon in real time like in Dungeon Keeper. A daily timer ticks continuously, and new days bring dangerous mythical creatures, wild animals, and undead marauders into the dungeon.
- Battles against the attacking hordes of enemies and boss fights are fought using a turn-based strategy as in Baldur’s Gate 3.
- The game has been in early access on Steam since March 2023, but has only been officially released since October 29th. The cost is €19.50, but a free demo is also available to download. The game is available in German and English, but the soundtrack is only in English.
The trailer looks like nothing, but the game has it:
A mix of Dungeon Keeper and RimWorld in a fantasy dungeon
How does the game play? Surprisingly good. Like in the ancient “Dungeon Keeper” or “Dwarf Fortress”, you get your own dungeon, which you can expand by digging and building walls, so you can soon build a massive fortress. With each cell you dig you get new raw materials such as wood, stone, magma, gold, minerals or simply mother earth. Again and again you will discover farm animals in the dungeon such as chickens, pigs or cows, for which you will build farms.
In rapidly expanding vaults you can freely set up rooms and have several business cycles up and running in minutes:
- Then you can grow grain, grains or mushrooms, which can be used to make soup or bread that will help your skinny fantasy heroes make ends meet. If you eat a balanced and varied diet, you receive a bonus to your life points. If they starve, their HP will decrease rapidly.
- You can create different pieces of equipment with different quality levels and thus have a progression system at the beginning: while at the beginning you can only create a bow or a short sword, your heroes will quickly become more skilled and can use stronger materials that you are mine, flaming swords or powerful armor will soon be made.
- You can also build living quarters, training rooms or a dining room.
You should make sure that your fortress is built sensibly and that the rooms are sensibly separated from each other with walls so that the effectiveness remains high: because if you simply arrange all the rooms in a huge open space without any design , the effectiveness of the rooms will decrease dramatically. In addition to long distances there is the risk of loss of effectiveness, starvation and loss of time.
If you build poorly, you will soon have no chance in battles.
A group of heroes like in a role-playing game with objects and abilities
This is the charm of the game: In “Infested Fortress” you are actually constantly under pressure, because enemies are waiting at regular intervals for you to defeat them, otherwise they will rob you, demolish the fortress or simply start fighting themselves.
To dominate the hordes of monsters, you have a group of heroes at your disposal: you start with 3, but replenish regularly. On day 15 you will have around 6 heroes at your disposal, which you can take with you into battle.
Anyone who falls in battle must be replaced. This invites you to constantly reload or even restart.
The collection of heroes is diverse and surprisingly diverse:
- There are tanks that wear plate armor like Champion or Knight.
- Melee fighters such as the Assassin, Slayer, or Paladin (who, strangely, are not allowed to wear plate armor).
- Different types of archers who can also summon pets or set traps.
- With the priest and the monk you have two healers at your disposal; the priest is a more offensive wizard hybrid.
- With Warlock, Frost and Fire Mage you have three magical classes to choose from that are clearly different from each other. The sorcerer is a specialist in draining mana from opponents.
The classes have a comprehensive skill and level system – you will quickly notice your progress in power. While a level 1 priest can do practically nothing except spin his staff and send lightning towards the opponent once per round, a level 5 priest has at his disposal several healing spells, chain lightning and a whirlwind sacred.
It is also important that – as in Monster Hunter – you create new equipment from defeated enemy bosses: a troll like this quickly becomes a special sword, a poisonous manticore becomes a shield.
And animals provide the raw material, leather and meat for the grill.
The Haunted Fortress is addictive, but has almost no players
And is it fun? Indeed, despite its modest graphics, Infested Fortress is very addictive and damn complicated. Even on the second highest difficulty level, the game is a tough nut to crack, even for strategy-savvy players. Because the Haunted Fortress mercilessly punishes weaknesses in dungeon structure or errors in tactics. The game puts the player in front of a steeply increasing learning curve:
The initial idea: “My knight just tanks mobs and the rest does damage” quickly fails when the tank gets mauled by 6 skeletons in one round.
“Kiting” mobs also present difficulties. The game is much more challenging than it seems, because the opponents also use ranged abilities and therefore a skeleton mage is much more protected by magic formulas and more resistant than such a rat skeleton could ever be.
A role-playing game without dialogue, divided into combat and crafting
Because what looks a little rough in the trailer turns out to be a clever and challenging puzzler that offers the full “role-playing” that many are looking for.
A sort of “role-playing game essence” without much dialogue and plot, but divided into the combat and crafting game systems.
The Haunted Fortress has a high difficulty level and you tend to make mistakes, fail and start over.
The game doesn’t appear to be popular on Steam yet, as it has almost no players, despite already having 92% positive reviews.
In March 2023 there were 17 players at the same time. The release of the game is now apparently completely sold out and in the last 24 hours the peak of players was 2.
Very addictive for strategy and role-playing game enthusiasts who place little value on graphics
What do the reviews say? Players rave about how complicated and challenging it is to build an effective dungeon and defeat the waves of monsters the game throws at you.
If you want to give a game that’s like nothing else a chance, you should definitely check out the demo and then decide if Infested Fortress is worth the €19.50.
But be warned: I discovered the game on Saturday and played until 4 in the morning. I didn’t touch it again on Sunday because otherwise it would have completely ruined my weekend.
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Steam: I started out as a lone Viking: 400 years later I have half Europe, 12,300 descendants and a problem