by Marjolein Verheij
reviewed on PC
Digging around (cntd)
You start each level with up to 10 dwarves, but not all of them are available right away. A spawning pool provides access to Hemfort where you can hire additional dwarflings who can be assigned new roles immediately or given some time to run around and gain a little experience… doing nothing but eating and sleeping. The latter seems the smart thing to do as unassigned dwarflings level up far quicker than those that have a task assigned right away. If you want more dwarves in your settlement, you can upgrade the spawning pool against an atrocious amount of money. Keeping track of so many dwarves can be somewhat chaotic, though, plus you will need to make sure there is enough food around for everyone.
The game can be controlled entirely with the keyboard or mouse but I ended up mixing both. Using the mouse to command, build and move the camera and the keyboard to move up and down the levels, I quickly got the hang of managing my dig site.
Having status bars both at the top and the bottom of the screen took a little more time to get used to. In all honesty, I didn’t really notice all the information available in the top bar until I was quite far into the game. Your dwarves will give you audible feedback which I found out after a few of them accidently starved to death because I hadn’t noticed them getting into holes they couldn’t get out of. It took me a while to learn to recognise the various sounds that meant that – something – bad was going on and then to check the top bar to tell me what it was. Once I learned to understand these signals, the bar proved useful in providing information about dwarves getting into trouble and about enemies popping up somewhere that needed killing.
The top bar also shows how many dwarves you can control and to which classes they are assigned. By clicking on the icon for the warriors the camera will focus on the first warrior, click again, shows the location of the second, etc. This game in hand during attacks as I could locate the warrior farthest away from the fight and teleport him straight to the place the action was taking place.
Outside of the campaign, custom games can be created setting all sorts of options such as the amount of resources, enemies, hidden rooms and more. In these games, the overall goal is to find and activate four crystals but when that goal is completed you can continue on playing if you wish so. The same is true in the campaign levels. As levels are generated randomly, you can replay a level multiple times without knowing where your goal is hidden.
While pretty much every level feels similar to the previous, there is a strange attraction to go back and dig deeper. The threat of repetition looms overhead after your fourth dig, but never really hits home. All said and done, A Game of Dwarves is a fun game that will keep you pushing around your dwarven underlings for many a long hour. So start digging that Dwarven Kingdom, you know you want to.
Easy controls, fun gameplay, good value for the low price.
Animations could use an upgrade, some pathing issues cause unwanted blockages.