Why do dwarves dig too greedy and too deep? Well in this game they don’t dig deep. They dig out.
In today’s world of gaming good arcade games are few and far between but hope is at hand!.“Dwarfs!?” is an arcade strategy game with the option of playing as a tower defence game. During the game you have to explore a huge area whilst protecting your base from the perils of the deep, namely lava and flooding and goblins. The game comes with several game modes from arcade to challenge to tower defence, combined with several difficulty settings it gives a feel of a good well rounded game.
When you first start the game you are presented with the options of which game mode to select. Entering into campaign mode for the first time you will be confronted with the option of challenges and tutorial. During the tutorial you will be taken through the basics of game play which you will use for everything but the tower defence portion of the game. The tutorial consists of a stereotypically voiced dwarf (AwesomeDwarf) who teaches you how to navigate around the map, train combat dwarves and micromanage your current dwarves. After the tutorial it’s a safe bet you might want to try out some of the challenges and see how good you are. Though there are few of them for the time being the bonus challenges for each challenge to get gold and silver awards (2 or 3 axes as its represented in game) are fairly tricky.
Arcade mode gives you the option of picking between 4 difficulties and 4 time limits (from 5 – 60 minutes). For what the game consists of this gives plenty of variety. In arcade mode you put your hard learned skills into practice to climb the leader board.
Skirmish offers a couple of different variants on the arcade mode of the game. These are “dark mode” which slightly modifies the solidify and outpost functions in the game, and creates a “fog of war”. This makes it much harder to guide your dwarves away from possible danger and towards tasty minerals. Also in skirmish is the “endless mode” this is a time limitless mode in which you can play as long as you want. Though I have found that after exploring all the caves on the map there is little else to do but sit and watch the dwarves wander round. “Rush mode” is an interesting concept in this game. You are constantly spawning diggers and have to survive as long as possible. The ways to lose rush mode are 200 diggers dying or your base being destroyed. It’s a fairly challenging mode to play. Skirmish also gives access to the “sandbox” where you can play around with the engine, spawning enemies, allies, or resources as you like.
Base Defend is the tower defence portion of the game. Fairly different from the game in that you are defending against waves of spawning enemies. One benefit from being a dwarf in this situation is that you can dig your own maze for them to follow (limited by how much gold you have)
The score boards give you the option of comparing your scores to yourself, your friends, or everyone who plays. One nice feature of “dwarfs!?” is the codex, this is accessible both in game and from the main menu. It has video and text explaining each part of the game and everything covered in the tutorials.
Dwarfs!? Makes a good pick up and play game, requiring very little time investment to be enjoyable. For anyone looking for a good 5 minute break game or something to do whilst waiting in those long server queues its plenty of fun. The 2d graphics are only spoilt by the need to zoom out to be able to traverse the map quickly. For anyone buying the game the 10-20 minutes you spend doing the tutorial is well worth the time, and makes the game a lot easier in the long run.
The game play is pretty good, though the game starts to drag a little once you have a lot of diggers and few caves left to explore. It would benefit from a mini-map to make navigation around the game easier, but the controls over all are straight forward and intuitive, though you will be cursing the dwarven A.I. Making this a solid 8.0 for game play.
The 2d graphics and animations are well done and fit the game nicely. The downside is the size of the maps, due to the lack of easy navigation you spend a lot of the time zoomed out to try and keep track of things losing all those nice effects. This drags it down to a 7.0 for graphics.
The sound track to the game though light hearted is rather repetitive. It seems that the composer has written a few bars and just put them on a loop, which after awhile can become quite irritating. The special effects barring alert sounds can only be heard when zoomed in close to the area also detracts from the enjoyment of the game somewhat. This gives it a rather poor 7.0 for sound.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.