Real-Time Strategy games for me is something that I always seek out. Being a huge fan of Westwood Studio’s Command and Conquer franchise and of course Blizzard’s Starcraft and Warcraft franchises, I have been swimming in those waters for more years than I care to count. Days and days have been lost in a fog to these games and I have no regrets. So, when I heard that developer and publisher Pineleaf Studio was creating a new 3 player coop-RTS game titled DwarfHeim, my interest was piqued.
DwarfHeim is not your classic RTS. Yes, you still get resources, build your base, and either attack or defend, but it takes cues from different games as well. They dwell in other genres to create a game that has great potential with very interesting ideas. As a player, you get to be one of three types of roles including the Builder, the Warrior, and the Miner. Each one has a corresponding set of tasks and this can be a great thing if you and your two co-players are on the same wavelength. You need to constantly be in contact with your two teammates, so you know what you can and can’t do. An example of this would be, how many resources can I spend as a builder to make sure the miner and the warrior can also do their thing.
The 3 classes each played out their own way. The builder role is just what it sounds like. Make sure you have enough food, wood, and lodging for your troops to march into combat and survive. Later in the game, they are also responsible for making the buffs to help tilt the side of battle into your favor. The miner role gave me the idea of being in a factory-like game where I must manage resources, forge metals, and such so they can then be used by others. The warrior role was the most thought-provoking class to play. You must know where the enemy is or where they may be going so you can plan accordingly.
The Warrior role for me was the funniest to plan and the action was a blast. It had the feel of almost a tower defense game with dozens of goblins and trolls determined to ransack everything in sight. The graphics being cartoonish like the old-style Warcraft 3 game, gave me that nostalgic feel as I destroyed every single one of them.
Now there is some downside to playing this coop-RTS, and that is communication or the lack thereof if no one pays attention. All 3 roles use the same resources and that can be a huge issue if you don’t communicate well with one another. Many games have gone down in a blaze of betrayal if no one wants to communicate and make the balance fair. Also without communication, it seems like the 3 players are all doing their own thing. So, one player builds, one mines, and the other fights and at times it felt like there is no comradery and it is just a standalone game that can bring about boredom and wanting to quit. Luckily with Discord, there are a lot of decent players and a great community so hopefully, this shouldn’t happen very often.
Being that DwarfHeim is still in early access, there are a lot of bugs and issues that pop up. Gratefully, the community is doing what they can to alert the developers and they are working hard to correct the issues as they come. While I was playing, I had 3 patches in as many days to help correct issues that have come up. For me, this is a great thing to see and you got to show love to a community that is trying to make this work.
DwarfHeim is a breath of fresh life in a very stale and almost desolate game genre. Being that this is still in early access, I say be patient and keep the developers up to date on anything that you come across. I really think this has a very good start to be a new way for PVP RTS’ and could actually spawn a whole new gaming world with the right tweaks and motivation. If you miss the classic style RTS with a new twist, then I’d say go ahead and give this game a chance.
However, this is nowhere near a finished product and I don’t want people to think that it is. If you are the kind of person that doesn’t do well with playing through bugs and trying to help the game become the best that it can be, then hold off on paying for it at this time. DwarfHeim has two different editions now for early access on Steam: Standard Edition for $24.99 and the Founders Edition at 17% off right now for $33.18.
This preview was written based on a digital early access copy of DwarfHeim for PC provided by Merge Games.