With millions of fans and millions of clones, Minecraft is one of the biggest influences on modern game design. You can’t blame developer Zeal for taking on the indie juggernaut, but you can thank them for doing it with some style and originality.
Besides having one of the best names ever, A Game of Dwarves is promising because it blends influences from past favorites alongside recent ones. If you have an affinity for games like The Sims or Dungeon Keeper, you’ll want to keep an eye on these funny-looking, bearded men.
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Building upon their 2D dwarf farm, Dwarfs, AGoD expands on the idea while bringing the concept into 3D. In this retail update, players build a dwarf colony from an isometric view.
You employ dwarves of different types (e.g., warriors, diggers), build and deck out your own underground kingdom, and complete tasks within the world. These objectives range from defeating a goblin base to acquiring a set amount of gold in the depths below.
A Game of Dwarves is a very simple game, but there are some nice production touches to it. For one, I’m a fan of the colorful, Super Mario World-looking world map that links areas. I also like combining objective-based gameplay with leisurely customizing your smelly dwarven cave.
I don’t think AGoD will set the world on fire in the way Minecraft will -- for one thing, the game won’t even have multiplayer support until a post-launch patch -- but it seems like an interesting concept that can at least claim to be more than a Minecraft clone or not one at all. Good on you, Zeal!