The busy game-mines of Paradox have hauled more announcements to the surface. This time it’s the turn of A Game Of Dwarves, which will arrive on the 23rd, and costs $10 to pre-order. And there’s a bonus of sorts: “Every pre-ordered copy of A Game of Dwarves will include access to the Ale Pack DLC, a delectable and delicious add-on that introduces dwarvenkind’s favorite drink to the game and is a must for maintaining happiness in any well-to-do underground fortress.”
I’ve had a little play of this, so there’s some thoughts on that and the trailer below. (There’s also a livestream tonight at 2000CET, here.)
A Game Of Dwarves sits firmly in a familiar and well-trodden tract of our gaming landscape: that of the kind of management/strategy games Bullfrog made their own. In that regard AGOD has promising ambitions and is prospecting in the sort of area in which many of us wish we could find gaming gold. What I’ve played suggests it will be fairly competent in that regard – you can excavate areas with some freedom and build largely as you see fit (unpickable border rocks notwithstanding) and build largely where you please, with limitations of any given level’s resources constraining your ambitions. It’s sensibly straightforward, too, with entirely comprehensible arrays of buildings, resources, and roles for your dwarves. The UI for digging in 3D space is a bit weird, but I suspect I’d get use to it.
However, I suspect that, even for $10, A Game Of Dwarves might disappoint. Clearly I can’t give you any solid verdict, because I’ve only had a bit of time with a preview version, but I can say this: it’s astonishingly ugly by contemporary standards. And yes, perhaps we will overlook that ugliness if the game turns out to be a builder-masterpiece, but nothing I’ve seen of that building/mining aspect really sings. Combine what we’ve seen so far being a bit pedestrian with a void in the presentation department, and right now it’s looking unexceptional. (It’s not simply that the art is ultra-functional, and that there’s (currently, at least) no real shadows or other lighting.)
What I am saying is: I’d wait for the reviews.