We Are the Dwarves is an action-based tactical adventure, which plays from an isometric perspective, similar to Diablo. You also have the ability to rotate the camera. The game comes from developers Whale Rock Games.
The story is about Dwarven stars that are slowly dying, meaning the Dwarves are at risk of facing extinction. The game sees three Dwarf soldiers sent on a quest to find a new star. The three Dwarves, the Forcer, Smashfist and Shadow venture into unknown lands and environments, and face a variety of foes.
The game focuses a lot on planning, strategy and beating enemies in your way. The three types of Dwarf offer different playstyles. The Forcer is good at ranged attacks, the Smashfist is good for melee combat and close proximity fighting. Shadow also attacks from distance. It was fun to use a range of attack methods against the various enemies. You have to be aware of your surroundings, as well as the bad guys, as you can fall to your death. You also have the ability to shoot enemies, so that they fall off the ledges around you.
The Dwarves are suited up for battle, which is going to be tough. I found that I died a lot in this game. There are checkpoints throughout, where you can restore your life bar. Planning attacks against enemies is vital as they can inflict heavy damage. The suit you wear protects you from incoming attacks, and each dwarf has different skill tree systems. The sill tree focuses on things like damage, healing and movement. Upgrading you character and being selective about what attack strategies to use is vitally important in order to survive.
The game has an interesting mechanic, which I really enjoyed and thought worked well. If you hit the spacebar, the combat goes into pause mode, which is actually just super slow motion. This is great as it gives you a chance to survey the battlefield and plan your next attack. The enemy AI is actually pretty decent, and varied in terms of interaction. Some enemies can more easily sense movement, noise and even scent.
The dwarves have a good range of attacks, which can be used with the QWERTY keys. These are things like long ranged bows, shotguns and other attacks. This is important when there are greater amounts of enemies. I found it particularly effective to use the shotgun, as it has a wide attack range, meaning you can damage more than one bad guy at once. The game is about finding the best way to approach a situation and how to control it. Heading straight in, all guns blazing never normally ends well. It’s best to carefully inspect and area first, locate the enemies and then plan you route of attack. This combined with the attack choices, mean there’s a range of ways the scenarios can play out. It’s also important to keep your spacesuit repaired, as they can offer bonuses such as healing and armour.
I really loved the variety of the gameplay, and the obstacles in the game keep you on your toes. I have to say I did find the game a little frustrating at times, but mainly due to the difficulty. I can’t stress how important being aware of your surroundings is. There are dangerous swamps, pits, traps and deadly plants along the way. That’s not to say though you can’t use these situations to your advantage. Careful positioning and movement can lead to enemies falling to their death of die in other grizzly ways.
The overall presentation looks great. The game has a sleek-looking HUD and interface that works really well. The game runs well, with minimal glitches and framerate drops. The environments are varied, full of obstacles, enemies and are really well designed. The game is played from a top down isometric view, which is like Diablo, but you also have the ability to rotate the camera around your character. This comes in extremely useful when wanting to survey the area and see what dangers lurk around the corner. The sound design is also well done and creates a fantasy-like atmosphere.
Overall, We Are The Dwarves offers some very challenging moments. The game may look like games like Diablo, but its by no means a hack and slash style game. This requires careful planning, thought and consideration when it comes to attacking enemies. The story is a little on the light side, but it makes up for it with intense battles and well designed environments. You will die a lot in this game, but ultimately it’s a satisfying experience.
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