Dwarfs!? is a game of chaos. The titular dwarfs continually spawn from your bases and then randomly head off in any direction. When left to their own devices, they’ll inevitably unleash some disaster like a flood, lava flow, or monster hive. It’s up to you to keep them from destroying themselves, while simultaneously earning the most gold and racking up the highest possible score for the online leaderboards. Like multi-tasking? If your answer is yes, then Dwarfs!? could be the game for you.
Dwarfs like to dig and love gold which is good for you since gold is the key to everything you do. You can use gold to tell a specific dwarf to go to a specific spot (ideally a spot full of riches), use it to build additional outposts, use it to create and upgrade warrior dwarfs (essential for fighting off enemies), and use it to quarantine off disaster areas. I have heard some people complain about the fact that directing individual dwarfs costs gold, but as long as you let the dwarfs move on their own most of the time and only intervene when you need to (or when it’s profitable), I didn’t find it to be a problem.
The main mode of the game lets you pick a difficulty level and a time limit and then tasks you with gaining the most points possible. Changing the speed of the game doesn’t affect how quickly the time runs out so there’s a balancing act – you want to go as fast as possible to get the most gold and earn the most points, but at the same time, you don’t want to go so fast that you neglect a problem before it’s too late and your tunnels are all full of lava or infested with horrible monsters. The game’s scoring system gives the player points for reaching various milestones as well as certain achievements and there’s much fun to be had just in discovering what actions give the most points.
The game also has other modes like Rush mode where instead of giving the player a time limit, dwarfs are spawned at a very fast rate and the game ends when 200 dwarfs die and Campaign mode which contains short specific scenarios like protect your base for a set amount of time while natural disasters approach from every direction. My favorite mode, however, is Base Defense which is a full blown tower defense game using some of the monsters from the regular game. The catch is that in the first few rounds, the player can use their gold to dig out the path that the enemies will take – creating a well designed route is essential to doing well in this mode.
Between the various modes and difficulty levels, there’s a lot more game here than you might think at first glance. And the option to pick a time limit in some modes is very welcome as it makes the game easy to fit into your schedule whether you have just a few minutes or a few hours.
If you’re looking for a complex mining simulator, look elsewhere. However, if you enjoy fast paced arcade games with a dash of RTS and an emphasis on improving your score, Dwarfs!? comes highly recommended.
Dwarfs!? is available on Steam for $10.