DwarfHeim: A Steam Review

I always love a good Strategy game to kill some time, whether it be the classics like Warcraft 3 (not Warcraft 3 Reforged) and StarCraft, or even Age of Empires 2 Definitive Edition and StarCraft 2. Setting up your base, upgrading your abilities and technology, and even going for domination by setting up your elite army are always addicting and empowering. I love spending hours even in Civilization not just trying to win, but setting up my cultural peaceful existence unlocking world wonders. I was excited to be able to try something new out like DwarfHeim, and the results were extremely pleasant despite the rough start. DwarfHeim is a co-op RTS that is class-based and filled with dwarven shenanigans. It was developed by Pineleaf AS and published by Pineleaf AS and Merge Games. You can only experience this dwarven-filled adventure on PC though for $24.99.

Starting in Dwarfheim was a bit rough and there were quite a few bugs and crashes that left me restarting the game. First and foremost the game is extremely unique compared to other turn-based strategy and real-time strategy games. This is because the game is primarily a cooperative game, whereas other RTS games are heavily equally geared towards the single-player and multiplayer experience. There is no story campaign for Dwarfheim, and none coming out as far as we know in the future. The only options for single players are sandbox mode and 1 vs AI to practice, which is very unique as far as any real-time strategy games go. This brings up one other issue, for if you want to play multiplayer I highly recommend finding friends. I went to queue for multiplayer and ended up waiting over 20 minutes every time and eventually gave up. You also get a choice of units to play per each mode that you can attempt to lock in, which are Miner, Builder, and Warrior.

The gameplay itself is insanely fun and a bit dumbed down compared to other real-time strategies for the most part, yet some parts can become very intricate. For instance, the upgrades for abilities are limited, as well as building options like your standard lumbermill and barracks. However, on the flip side, the game shows its dwarven roots when it comes to setting up your mining in the underworld. To get certain resources such as steel ingots, you have to strategically set up your forge to make them with the transmuter. Only certain ore and coal can enter this to create certain ingots, but to separate them you need a splitter to avoid sending incorrect ore or ingots that specific way, otherwise you need to clear it out. You get different structures such as a rock crusher, ore sorter, forge, and warehouse. They all must be specifically set up to get all the resources you need to create other buildings, units, and upgrades. The possibilities for setups can be endless, which makes playing heavily miner-based so exciting!

Some more practical issues I have with the game are issues that I never expected to have in my gaming career, and that is the lack of tutorial. Usually, I am great at figuring things out with any game, but I love tutorials for any strategy game, especially when it comes to PC due to the endless key bindings and structure uses. The reason I had a rough start, as well as other people with Dwarfheim, is the overall lack of explanation. The tutorial shows you how to move your units, attack, some building, and how to navigate the underworld. However, outside of that, there was little to no explanation. I found myself looking into the key bindings often to figure out the simplest things, even down to rotating objects to set up my base. Most of the setups such as the forge and structure setups I had to figure out myself or look up guides that people made on YouTube or Steam to help others due to the lack of instruction. The other reason this is a problem is that I spent a good amount of time trying to find a slow-paced option to learn the game, which leads me to warn people to avoid 1 vs AI until they know the game and stick with single-player sandbox mode. 

All in all I do enjoy this game, and like any RTS I found myself hooked once I got through digging up key bindings and guides to learn everything. I do hope the developers will add a better tutorial in the future, but all in all, it is a solid strategy game. I do hope the player base keeps growing so the queue times drop for those who have no one to enjoy this specific genre with, and that the developers also look into a possible campaign mode. I loved the overall art style and music, and this game feels like it would be a great candidate for a strong story. There are some kinks and bugs to work out but overall this game is solid and worth syncing a lot of time into.

DVS Score- 6/10

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