Tripewire, the same looney bastards behind Killing Floor and Red Orchestra, are the ones that made this game. It still has me scratching my head, but I try not to think about it too much. This game, like basically everything else they’ve ever made, is a lot of fun. It is sn RTS simulator that really lets you sit back, relax and control a colony of dwarfs. As per the usual mythology, these dwarfs all seem to be male, though the thought of a bearded woman just kind of creeps me out. Either way, you are talking about a magnificently man-boobed populace out for some digging! Check out more about the game on Steam or the game’s site!
Ale, Gold and a Pickaxe are the three things necessary to sustain life for a dwarf. These beardy little buggers probably eat dirt, since it seems to disappear and mysteriously produce gold. So the game starts with the town hall, which produces the only two types of dwarfs in existence, diggers and warriors. Your town hall sits on the only green patch of land in a massive cavern and just produces diggers via spontaneous generation, most likely using the combination of dirt, gold and ale. As each of these dwarfs magically appears, they begin wandering aimlessly around digging randomly with their pickaxes. At first the game feels like an ant simulator, but then you realize that these dwarfs have no real system and they live only to dig like robots and find shiny objects.
For the most part, this game is peaceful, but there are spontaneous issues you might experience like a subterranean version of Sim City. First there are the natural disasters: lava and water. Both of these have the same ultimate solution, but each poses its own version of the same problem: stopping the flow before it destroys everyone in your colony.
MUST FIND GOLD… MUST FIND GOLD…
That is pretty much a visual representation of what happens every time your dwarfs find water or lava. This is glowing and hot!… but there might be GOLD! The reason you don’t just stop them yourself is because you really don’t know, although the outward signs should be pretty obvious in real life. Of course, it’s a fucking game, so get over it. As your dwarfs dig out into the.. um.. earth.. they will find small pockets. These caves can contain nearly fucking anything: treasure, enemies, lava, water etc. When your dwarfs break through one of two things happens: something comes rushing out, or the digger goes rushing in.
Water is fast, and that is really the biggest challenge that comes with its discovery. Building a wall will be enough to block it off from the front, but a digger could still break through on another side and you’ll be right back where you started. To prevent this the game lets you solidify dirt into rock. With beer-magic, I guess. Once you build the wall, you have to solidify the dirt on all sides of a water cave. Once that happens, you have to blow a hole with dynamite in front of the wall because.. fucking… IT COULD STILL LEAK THROUGH OR SOMETHING MAYBE!!!! Not really, but that is how you effectively trap an underground lake. I thought that dwarfs might use it for plumbing or maybe making ale. Fuck no. They trap that shit off and never fucking talk about it ever the fuck again.
Next is lava, which poses its own collection of threats. Lava moves slow as shit, but it can burn through walls. Normally, when breaking through into a lava cave (after the unlucky digger has been burned to a cinder), I fill up the cave leading to the cave with walls. Why the fuck would I do this, you ask? Well, it’s not in case the digger gets wise and decides to run, though it might be fun to watch him shriek in horror as he realizes the hegemonic overseer has condemned him to death encased in liquid rock, that is not the case. The lava burns down the stone walls, and with the way the dwarfs randomly dig, chances are that the nearest other digger is miles away. I will need to buy him some time to get there and set off the dynamite to trap the lava. The best part is that you lose two dwarfs for sure when finding lava or water. One that finds it and the other that traps it, since the dynamite dwarf runs in like some kind of madman with a heroic martyr complex and kamikazes on it. I guess these dwarfs haven’t progressed past bite-activated igniting mechanisms.
That’s right. Dig to your death, you little maniac.
Dealing with random water and lava hazards wasn’t enough for the sadistic Tripwire team, though. They had to throw in some enemies because, realistically, what kind of game doesn’t have actual enemies? Well, aside from those super-boring simulator games. I gave up on humanity when I saw rock simulator. Anyway! There are goblins, too. They could be just one or two hiding in a cave, or you could find six of them. They are pretty easy to deal with though.
Your town hall will let you generate 8 warrior dwarfs, which you can allow to patrol around your town hall or you can divert their patrol to wander out into the caves. If they get too far out there and you’ve an impending attack, hit the bell to recall your little troops. A base-level dwarf warrior is usually enough to take on goblins one at a time, but if you have a tribe coming, get those fuckers back to base! If they destroy your town hall, that’s the end of the game! Of course, having eight little dwarfs can be limiting if you have a massive army of diggers wandering around an endless map. At that point, you’ll need to create outposts, which expand your warrior army by 4 more dwarfs. Doesn’t sound like much, but the outpost can also train them up so they’re powerful as heck.
Another main feature comes in handy when you discover a shaman, which is a giant goblin boss that has the power to summon goblin minions, perform cone area attacks and change the music into a doom dirge. Often you’ll have to create an outpost just to deal with a new boss. Once you have it in place and the warriors trained up, though, you can fire the whole squad out of a cannon on top of the outpost. This springs a little surprise attack on the shaman and they surround and annihilate him! Make sure you are quick to kill him, though, as he can summon up so many enemies that it becomes impossible to deal with, and you become overrun!
Kill them! Kill them all!
Other than that, this game is drawing arrows for retardedly simple AI and mining gold and minerals. It is a little on the simple side, but it is still a lot of fun. I often find myself wishing there were more to it than just all that, but the endless mode makes it a lot of fun. I feel like there should be a way to trade with other cities, or a way to contact the outside world. There are little objects that randomly appear, too, but it might be more fun if we could actually build a small city that had some purpose? Maybe go to war with some sissy dandelion-eating elves.. mimsy fuckers… If you really look at this game though, there is a dark undercurrent. Think about this a second. You are the dwarfs, living underground on the only piece of fertile land in this entire cave system. You have these goblin, which probably need to cultivate some mushrooms or something to survive, but your dwarfs can just eat dirt, as long as they have their ale. So you go on, killing the goblins and depriving their starving children of food until you have consumed everything. Terrible. Tragic. Oh, well! Let’s go dig for some gold and get wasted on ale! Definitely a lot of fun, and it’ll cost you 9.99$ on Steam. Worth it, I’d say, but I love dwarfs in general. So yea, a little bias there : P