Dwarf Quest is a turn-based dungeon crawler in which your stout dwarven hero engages in some rather brutal fights with an axe (or two) in hand. You’ll control his actions from an isometric viewpoint, with each room being displayed as a grid of tiles for you to move between with a tap of your thumb.
Due to the nature of the combat, Dwarf Quest expects players to fully explore each level and hoard as many potions and other consumable items as they can, or they’ll soon encounter some problems. Early battles may not pose too much of a threat, but once you stumble into a room full of ratmen, or one that’s guarded by the particularly nasty minotaurs, you’ll want to be prepared.
It’s not a “roguelike” game, but it does bear some resemblance to that merciless genre. The sometimes unforgiving level of difficulty will either appeal to you, or could just as easily be a complete turn off. That very much comes down to your individual taste. This is maybe the most apparent when you are defeated by an enemy, only to respawn in the previous room, and realize you simply don’t have enough consumables to make it through the fight. If you run into this situation, you’ll have to hope you missed something in a previous room, or simply restart the level from scratch.
Along with potions, you’ll also want to collect a healthy stack of battle cards, which provide temporary buffs to your dwarven explorer when used in combat. These can be large boosts to your attack or armor that lasts just a single turn, or smaller improvements that are maintained throughout the entire fight. The two boss fights are unbeatable without these battle cards, and so thankfully a recent update allows players to purchase them from time to time, using gold that is found after defeating enemies or opening chests.
A taller hero could see over this wall.
The levels are pre-made instead of randomized, and gold and consumables have been carefully placed to ensure that players don’t become the victims of bad luck. Restarting a level should therefore be a result of reckless inventory management, rather than not being able to find enough items. On the flip side, the preset dungeon design doesn’t encourage replayability.
We encountered some issues while playing through Dwarf Quest. The game has a tendency to crash when loading new areas, although thankfully our progress was saved and it was usually just a matter of relaunching the game. We also ran into a persistent bug that made the in-game text display improperly.
Dwarf Quest still needs some work to warrant its $2.99 price tag, but we’re hopeful that Wild Card Games will endeavour to fix these issues. They do seem to be paying attention to feedback, as Version 1.1 of the game was a direct result of listening to players. If the problems mentioned above are taken care of, Dwarf Quest will offer around 90 minutes of challenging entertainment that should appeal to more experienced dungeoneers.