Dome Keeper Reignited My Love For Long Play Sessions

Last week, I saw a whimsical advert for Dome Keeper. Pixelated gameplay was set to NSNYC’s Pop and I was sold. I’m a simple man, okay? I bought the game while it was on sale and then promptly forgot about it, as is the fate of 90 percent of Steam games. Luckily for Dome Keeper though, my girlfriend got sick while we were staying at my mum’s. Jewish mums are pushy, so when she ordered me to tend to my partner while she made some chicken soup, I listened. A day of staying in bed and nursing the fever was the perfect opportunity to give it a go. I logged over 12 hours that day.

I haven’t had a gaming day like that since I was a teenager on summer holidays. Apart from nipping to the shops for some medicine, all I had to do was take my partner’s temperature, refill her water, and give her cuddles until she fell back asleep, not much else you can do for a fever. She slept through most of the day, only waking occasionally to request fruit, so I had plenty of time to get stuck into the dome-keeping action.

The game’s premise is simple: you’ve landed on a hostile world and need to dig for a relic that will help defend your dome against the waves of insectoids attacking it. In between waves, you dig to obtain materials needed to upgrade both your miner and your dome. If you played Motherlode on Miniclip back in the day, then it’s a lot like a refined version of that.

I was instantly enamoured by the retro look and simple mechanics. I started strip-mining like I learned in Minecraft, leaving a two-block slice of earth between each 2D tunnel so as to maximise the number of blocks I was uncovering to spot minerals quickly and easily, and the laid-back music and delicate clink of the materials I gathered helped lull me into a meditative state that made afternoon turn into night in the blink of an eye.

The difficulty and unlock curve were both perfect, keeping each run fresh as I started to play on larger maps. There are different dome types, laser and sword; three gadgets, shield, repellant, and orchard; and two different miners, engineer and assessor. I’m crap with the sword dome, finding it far too quick for me to be able to aim accurately, and the assessor seems like it’ll be a very handy avatar in the hands of someone far more skilled than I. I am now a repellent apologist however, as its slowdown ability is so much more useful than the shield’s minor damage mitigation.

As well as figuring out the best starting configuration, there are upgrades you can find during runs like Drillbert and Drilliam, adorable creatures that dig for you, a gravity elevator to throw resources into for quick hauling, bombs to clear spaces quickly, and more. There are also loads of cute little cave-creatures that amble about in the tunnels you create, and helpful secrets you can find while delving into the depths below your dome.

I sound like I’ve been playing this game for weeks, but I just played one really long day of it, and I miss gaming like that. As I’ve gotten older, I’m finally able to buy all the games I want, but I have far less time to play them all. I miss the days when my friends and I would log onto Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 at midday and play through till the small hours of the morning. On the weekends when I should have time to do that, I have to do housework, shopping, socialise a bit, and play for a few hours at most, but last Saturday I just sat in bed going, “there, there,” every time my partner awoke from her fever dreams.

Fortunately, it was only a 24-hour issue and my girlfriend is back on her feet, but it made me realise how much I’d needed that time to just zone out and get stuck into something. Dome Keeper was the perfect game for this scenario, as I could easily pause it to get her another bowl of soup or a clean spoon for some cough medicine, but when I played I was so engaged I didn’t notice how much time passed.

I’m not going to wait until my mum sends me to my room to have another day like that. I’m going to make sure I take some weekends for myself to regress to my teenage state. I may not do another 12-hour session, but six hours seems like a good starting goal for this Saturday.

Source: Read Full Article