swifty's hq v2.2 > reviews > games > dorf

dwarf fortress

[ Dwarf Fortress]
Year 2022
Publisher Kitfox / Bay12 Games
Genres Civ builder, Sim Strategy
Gameplay Loop ★5/5
Environment Design ★4/5
Sound Design ★4/5
Fun-Factor ★5/5
Replayability ★5/5
Overall ★5/5

god, ok, so what to say about this game? well, it's been in development for like, what, almost two decades? and it has a cult following that honestly promotes it more than most mainstream game fans. there's a reason i have over 574 hours in this thing, now that the steam release has QoL/graphic UI that make it easier to parse for entry-level players.


so the gameplay loop is multi-layered. you generate a world, you pick where you want to live on the world map, you set up your initial 7 dwarves (what a funny gimmick TBH), then embark to make your dwarven empire!

the first steps of gameplay generally are the same: get wood, dig into the earth, make a proper base of operations. you make crafting areas, you make storage piles, etc, and prepare to breach the cavern layers below.

i like how granular the game gets wrt gear, dwarven needs, and stuff like that. it doesnt feel too fiddly and i think it's rewarding when you make a new breakthrough in caring for your little guys, like making a hospital, a nice bedroom design, or making a barracks.

there are season changes, which affect things like visiting caravans, available water sources, temperature, and things of that nature. there's clothing, there's farming, there's combat drills, there's gods you can make temples for.

what i really enjoy the most, though, is probably gonna be the layout design process. generally you want to make a layout that fills space efficiently so that your guys don't have to go that far to do their tasks, like hauling stone or getting food.

the game is so low-energy to play, but at the same time, you'll be playing it for like, hours, once you get into the pattern of it. it's pretty addictive, and gets moreso when you figure out the mod workshop and add some of them bad boys in.


the game really feels well-oiled. there are times the gameplay can get frustrating if your guys don't get their needs fulfilled, and sometimes it can become too micromanage-y, but overall, i really enjoy just letting it run in the bg passively while i do other things (though i tend to tab back in and play fully focused if something starts happening). if the ascii version was too daunting for you, give the steam version a try!