by Marjolein Verheij
reviewed on PC
Welcome, princeling, are you ready to discover the world?
A Game of Dwarves starts you off as a princeling dwarf, heir to the throne of Hemfort and – by all accounts – a spoilt brat without any kind of ambition. Your father loves to tell stories about The Great War, a war that took place a long time ago and pitted the dwarves against Goblins, Orcs and Mages. Despite the help of the Elves and Dragons, the dwarves lost a big part of their kingdom and now occupy only a single province. The king, keen to take back the lost lands, splits up the Dragonhammer Clan and puts you in charge of a small group tasked to restore the Dwarven Kingdom to its former glory. But before you can follow in your father’s footsteps, you will have to prove that you are ready to rule and willing to work hard in order to gain your people’s loyalty and respect. Whatever you do, I can tell you that it will involve lots of digging into soil and rock.
Harm looming in the depths
The game’s campaign spans 12 levels that are divided up between 6 zones. The first zone introduces you to the game with two tutorial missions named The Backyard and The Trial. The Backyard is where you will learn how to build a base, how to command your dwarves and how to cater to their basic needs: energy, hunger and joy. You dig out new rooms, place crops for food, add tables and drop a bed or two where your dwarves can rest up from all the work they are doing. But tables and beds don’t build themselves and crops don’t tend to themselves either. You will need to assign a worker to harvest the plants and a crafter to build any furniture and decorations that you add to your underground fortress. Lastly you need to assign some warriors to stand guard over the others and protect them from the harm that is sure to come eventually.
In The Trial you’ll use the scholar class for the first time. This dwarf will help you research techs that will give you advantages in different areas, like softer beds (so dwarves won’t need so much sleep) and gaining experience faster.
Each level has a main quest to work towards, often along the lines of finding a treasure chamber or defeating the mage boss that inhabits the level. Besides the main quest, there are King’s Quests; one or more optional quests that can be completed to increase your experience points and gain access to a variety of bonuses that, once chosen, will carry over from one level to the next.
Digging is done by simply clicking on a block and waiting for your diggers to get to work. Different types of blocks yield different types of resources such as stone, iron, marble and obsidian. Blindly digging around the vast blackness of a level would be a little demoralizing, so to help you dig in the right direction, question marks indicate rooms in the vicinity. Some of those rooms will be occupied by Goblins, Orcs or other villains that need to be defeated before you can safely continue your digging operations. Rooms may also feature a stone tablet with a hint about which way to go next in order to find your end goal.
It pays to take some time dig around before getting that far though. Stopping to decorate the rooms that you carved out of the soil will make your dwarves happier, but more importantly, it will give your scholar some time to get the research done that you will need to buff up your warriors for the final fight. The deeper you dig, the stronger the enemies get and the faster and tougher your warriors will need to be.
Easy controls, fun gameplay, good value for the low price.
Animations could use an upgrade, some pathing issues cause unwanted blockages.