Sating My Dirt-y Desires: A Game of Dwarves

Roller Coaster Tycoon for Dwarves

What’s as fun as a rollercoaster to a dwarf? A mineshaft. How does one create a mineshaft? Digging. This game is, obviously, about digging your way to building the biggest and best mine in the history of Vanaheimr. This game plays heavily off of the original Norse myths surrounding dwarves and that is something that I truly appreciate. They drink ale, dig, craft and enjoy all things valuable.

The play of the game is easy to get the hang of, mostly just consisting of clicking around blank space to get the digging going and the furniture built. The challenge comes both from the various monsters that lie hidden within the stony, dirty depths and the fact that you, as a ginger-dwarf prince, must keep your fellow ginger-dwarfs happy, well fed, and well rested while conquering the depths of the earth.

Free Play vs Story Mode

Usually I would say that free play in world building games is far superior to questing, but the tasks that this game sets for the player are far more fun to run through than just endlessly digging and creating a master mineshaft. Perhaps that comes from my preference for elves and the things that they prefer to do (appreciate, not acquire), but the story is quite fun and worth every bit of attention one can give it.

Axe to Axe

Fighting in this game is something of a hopeless endeavor at times. The fighters do what they will whenever they can get around to it. This means that if your fighter is hungry or tired that it will fail to go protect you and your people. This can usually be fixed by teleporting your dwarf militia to the front lines, but the fact that they still just walk to the area of interest instead of running is a bit annoying. There is also the issue that if you dig a tunnel that weaves too much, it will throw your fighters off the scent of a good fight. A digger may uncover a group of trolls that teleport around your lower mines, killing your fastidious forces but the fighters will only become aware when they are in a certain proximity to the offenders. While this is fairly realistic, it’s unwelcome in a world where almost everything else is not realistic.

Aside from all of that, there is no way to control your fighter. The fight will only be as effective as your fighter has had the chance to fight or whap his axe against the training dummies.

These two things are counterbalanced with the patrol flags and the fact that you can upgrade your fighters to be very skilled masters of their art. This makes for quick dispatch of enemies later on in the game, but difficult times if you happen upon an underground settlement well beyond the levels of your fighters.

Time Spent, Not Wasted

The game has taken many nights from me and I do not regret a thing. The game is fun, plain and simply, and you are missing out if you think that the game looks too old or unpolished.

- Katie Hanson