Sunday, 14 July 2013

Dwarf Quest Review

Dwarf Quest is a dungeon crawler with a turn-based combat system. Playing as Morrin Firebeard you could not have a more classic Dwarven name. Using a simple, but effective system Dwarf Quest pits our hero against monsters, traps and bosses throughout his journey. While Dwarf Quest harkens back to old school dungeon crawlers can it stand up in modern times?

First off, Dwarf Quest is not a game with a grand story. It is, however, one with a loose story that gives you a bit of background. You are playing as Morrin Firebeard as he journeys through The Foundry on this year’s tournament. Along the way poor Morrin discovers nothing, but various creatures with pointy weapons and the corpses of his friends. The reasoning behind this brutal tournament beyond me, but it works for the premise of the game.

Dwarf Quest's graphic are not the most polished. However, the enemy models are quite detailed and varying. I like to think it was the developer’s choice in making the rooms look very similar in order to enhance the feeling of being a lost in a dungeon. If this is the case it is executed perfectly. Even with the ability to see where I had been previously, Hansel and Gretel style, I still felt a bit lost at times. Atmospheric would be a good word to describe Dwarf Quest's graphics, if a little uninteresting at times.


Combat in Dwarf Quest is turn-based. Each action performed uses up one of the dots above each characters head. These actions include: moving, attacking, blocking and using health potions, but not battle cards. Blocking makes shields appear above Morrin’s head equal to the number of dots he had left and reduces the amount of damage he takes. The same is true for his enemies. The real strategy comes from utilising blocking, attacking and moving to the best of your advantage. Certain encounters are trickier than others forcing you to alter your tactics.

Throughout Morrin’s journey he finds a range of items. These span from your ordinary health potions and treasure chest keys, to battle cards. Battle cards buff Morrin’s abilities in a range of ways. They can fully heal him instantly or make his next attack really pack a punch. They can really make a difference in Dwarf Quests more difficult battles and especially in both boss battles. Using a battle card can really turn the tide in Morrin’s favour and should be used accordingly. You find them frequently in crates and chests and even though there is a shop to buy them in, you rarely need to.

Now, onto the shop. What would you normally expect a shop in a dungeon to like? Well, whatever you were expecting I bet you were not counting on it being a coffin. The first few times I saw it did not even realise it was a shop and passed it up wondering "What am I meant to do with all this gold?”. Anyway confusing store managers aside the battle cards can be a tad overpowered, but they can also really make a difference in a tough fight so be sure to stock up.

Now we come to the issue of balance. Dwarf Quest is, unfortunately, riddled with these. Firstly, at the beginning of the game blocking means you take no damage. So it is easy enough from this horde all the health potions in case you need one - which isn't very often to begin with. However, once you progress far enough, finding a shield and another axe, blocking becomes less viable. So you would assume equip the shield, do a bit less damage, but stay alive easier. Wrong. By this stage unless you have two axes equipped the enemies will not take any damage. Puzzler, no? We it goes on. Even with enemies being able to hurt you through your guard they rarely pose much of a threat. this is due to the ample numbers of health potions and battle cards you find. However, in spite of all this Dwarf Quest is highly addictive. I simply could not stop playing even though I found myself complaining about all these balance issues. When it comes down to it, Dwarf Quest is a highly enjoyable dungeon crawler with an interesting combat system. Would I have like some things to be a bit more polished and balanced? Yes. However, with a second one on the works maybe these will be addressed. 

I would say that Dwarf Quest is worth a play. It is a fresh dungeon crawling experience and is unlike many other games today. I am definitely looking forward to the second one.


 - Gamplay 4/5

 - Graphics 3/5

 - Story 2/5

 - Enjoyability and Addictiveness 4/5

Overall 3/5

General Information

Game Name - Dwarf Quest
Developer - Wild Card Games
Genre - Action, Adventure