You are Morrin Firebeard, a fearless Dwarven warrior whose goal is to hunt down and kill the undead wizard Azar…you know, all in a day’s work. As you may have gathered, you’ll slay monsters, loot treasures, and explore dungeons in the process. So what is “Dwarf Quest” and how is it different than the other turn-based RPGs out there? Before we answer that, I’d like to thank Dylan Nagel from Wild Card for providing me with a free review copy.
The main menu allows the player to start a new game, continue an existing save, view credits, or quit. I didn’t see anything on the main menu that allowed me to adjust game options, though I was able to set screen resolution and toggle fullscreen via a window pop-up prior to the game’s launch. Upon starting a new game, you’ll be immediately briefed as to who you are and why you’re doing what you’re doing. To sum it up, you’re one of five contestants that are participating in “The Dwarf Quest.” Each are tasked with descending into the underground levels of an ancient foundry and making it out alive.
The first five minutes of the game or so will take you through the motions and allow you to get used to the interface. The interface itself is easy to understand, with everything lined up along the top of the screen. You’ll be able to see your health and how much gold you have at a glance, as well as have access to a mini-map overlay and an inventory / card selection screen. There is a pause button, which allows you to safely go back to the main menu all the while saving your progress.
When you’re alone in a room, you’ll be able to click on spaces to move and interact with the environment in real-time. When you’re not alone however, the game switches gears and throws you into a turn-based combat mode. Dots appear above the player’s head, indicating how many actions they can take before their turn ends. Likewise, dots will appear over the enemy NPCs to give you an idea of what they are capable of on their turn. I found that I really enjoyed this feature, as it added strategic depth to battles. When facing more than one creature, I often stopped to see how to go about attacking while minimizing the damage I’d take from a counterattack.
Your inventory screen is broken up into two sections: inventory and battle cards. The former gives you a list of the physical items you are carrying along with a brief description of what they do. Your starting axe, for example, does four damage. You won’t see anything complex in terms of stats…that is, you won’t see a stat sheet that contains attributes like dexterity, intelligence, strength, and etc. There’s no level up mechanic either, meaning that your character only improves by what he finds in the environment. Battle cards can be found and used to provide bonuses during combat. Some cards provide a bonus for one attack while others last the entire combat session. You can buy cards at alters with the gold you loot.
As far as content goes, the game is broken up into nine different levels, featuring a total of two boss fights. The levels are scripted and not randomly generated, so you’ll experience the same level designs every time you play. This fact disappoints me, as the game would increase its replayability tenfold with the addition of randomly generated levels. At present, the game can be finished in about an hour or two. To be fair, the developer has mentioned on numerous comment threads that a patch was in the works to add this feature at a later date.
“Dwarf Quest” is a fun and strategic game that will make you think. The features and gameplay mechanics are simple, but they’ll still give you pause as you attempt to figure out how to play out your actions in the best possible manner…almost like a puzzle. Reasoning out when to play battle cards and when to hold onto them, for example, is one dilemma you’ll face as you consider your strategies. The graphics are pretty and the music uplifting, so no complaints in that department.
The game could be improved with randomly generated levels and perhaps some new content by way of a sandbox mode or a level editor. There’s also the lack of a level up mechanic, which is commonplace in most RPGs nowadays. While “Dwarf Quest” is a good game, it lacks some key features that could make it better. Considering that the price is only $3.99 however, I’d say that the game as-is reflects the price appropriately. “Dwarf Quest 2” was recently announced, so it’s possible that we’ll see some of these aforementioned missing features there. Despite its shortcomings, “Dwarf Quest” is worth checking out.
Final Verdict: 7/10
You can learn more about and purchase “Dwarf Quest” by visiting the following websites:
You can help bring the game to Steam by voting for it on its Greenlight page, here:
You can watch video play sessions here: