While at Paradox Interactive’s loft apartments for a preview event during GDC, I had a chance to look at a pre-alpha build of A Game of Dwarves, a game that features relatively simplified resource management and a whole lot of digging.
Hamza covered this game earlier in the year, and from what I saw it seems like A Game of Dwarves still has a bit of way to go before succeeding in following it’s inspirations.
A Game of Dwarves (PC [previewed], PSN)
Developer: ZEAL Game Studios
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
A Game of Dwarves is about protecting a dwarf king while using an ever expanding team of dwarves to develop an underground kingdom through building items and collecting resources. Much of the main gameplay I saw involved digging through blocks of dirt and stone to create underground pockets for your dwarves to turn into rooms for sleeping, gardening, or further looting. In this way, the game so far is very much like a simplified hybrid of Minecraft and The Sims (and more vaguely, Dwarf Fortress).
I was told by the developer on hand that the game features around 80 levels of Earth to dig down through, with randomized pockets where enemies appear or large stores of resources can be found. My dwarves ran into a small dungeon where an orc rested, and my two military dwarves made short work of the orc and looted the place before we continued digging further into the Earth.
The four main resource types I could collect/harvest were gold, food, stone and wood. As you collect resources, you’re given the ability to build items for functional or purely cosmetic reasons. When I had collected enough resources I built a little dwarf room with sad cheap little stone beds and a couple of wall torches, while the developer tiled the main throne room and made it look a little more stately.
Gold is one of the most important resources, as collecting enough of it allows you to spawn more dwarves to do your bidding, whether that be to continue digging, to farm, or to fight off enemies. Of course, as you gain more dwarves you need to make sure they are properly fed and well-rested, otherwise your kingdom will go nowhere due to your own negligence.
Though what I saw of the game was just the very beginning and more of a tutorial than a demonstration of the full game’s progress, I could see how it could be addictive on a very fundamental level. It combines resource management with looting in a way that keeps the player engaged enough to want to see just how large they can make their dwarf kingdom.
If ZEAL Game Studio can create interesting and challenging objectives to accomplish, diverse enemies and enough new items to come across, A Game of Dwarves may be a great fantasy-inspired addition to the few resource management games left on the market today.