If you liked the Towns game I looked into and Dwarves as playable characters, then A Game of Dwarves is a no-brainer. I’ll admit that I think most games/movies are a ton better with Dwarves, so when the idea of a game with the same generic idea as Towns (a game I thoroughly enjoyed) was filled with Dwarves instead, I couldn’t resist!
*Read the system requirements if you are looking at picking this game up. The forums already have enough people with Windows XP who can’t run the game.
A Game of Dwarves has a fun story mode that it doesn’t feel tacked on in the least. That’s impressive since they could have just delivered a sandbox experience and left it at that. It begins with you as the Dwarven prince from Hemfort that doesn’t really know the value of a dollar and is apparently lazy. He hasn’t earned his beard yet, according to his father and that is where the story starts. In a fatherly way of teaching his son how the world works, he does what any respectable father would do. He kicks him out and sends him into battle (obviously).
After doing the tutorial and the first “mission”, you come realize that your quest is larger than just learning the actual cost of a running a kingdom. Many years back the Dwarven kingdom was more prominent until it was ruined by a couple of evil mages. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to go forth and defeat the mages and reclaim your homeland! Along the way you, as the Prince, start to understand your father’s intentions even if you’re leery of them and just want to prove your father wrong about you.
While you’re undertaking this journey you have a few different kinds of Dwarves you can employ to fulfill your objectives. Most are self explanatory… actually I think they all are. The different types are Digger, Worker, Military, Crafter, and Scholar. All Dwarves that come into the level, after the beginning, start as Dwarflings and level up (slowly) as they wander around and look at and experience things. You choose what occupation they will be for the rest of their lives. I wish you could change their jobs once they’ve been selected. Unfortunately, the only ways I’ve found is to teleport them into a hole and have them starve to death or into the hands of some goblins. Both are painful to watch, because it’s just so wrong. Come on man, just suck it up and live with the consequences because killing Dwarves is just wrong.
While the story mode doesn’t feel tacked on, but feels useful, it can be repetitive to some. It’s true, there are very obvious similarities between levels. It’s a game of digging and building and getting the bad guys. I guess in some games it feels a bit more obvious. I just don’t seem to have a problem with it so far.
Controlling your Dwarves is fairly easily. For the most part, they move where they feel. When you say “Dig.”, however, they ask (not out loud) “How deep?”, when you say “I’ve just teleported you into a group of enemies, please kill them.” they say “Yes Sir!” Other than that, it’s all pathfinding and they do it fairly well. If there are bad guys on the map with a path to them, your fighters will go into action. This also makes you contemplate how you build your base and tunnels to make sure you have quick access to food, bedding, and to where the action is. The last thing you want is to need your fighting Dwarves to come to the rescue, but need them to run a marathon to get to the front first.
You also have the traditional randomly generated map play in the Custom mode. Here you can dig, build, research, and farm to your heart’s content. The only issue I can see here is if you choose incorrectly, job wise, then you only have the option to kill a Dwarf off and not just toughing it out and finishing the level. This is where you will also access all of your DLC. Some DLC can be used in Story mode, but the latest Star Dwarves DLC can only be used on the custom maps. This is the more traditional fun sandboxy experience. If you want to enjoy yourself here, remember you’ll need to exercise your creativity, because if you’re not trying to design a sweet dwelling for your Dwarves, then it can just feel like a pointless version of the story mode.
Over all, I’m loving A Game of Dwarves. I think this is going to be the first game where I try to get all the steam achievements as well. I may keep you updated. We’ll see how nice I’m feeling.