We Are the Dwarves (PC)

I was looking forward to some light-hearted, relaxing gaming after sinking over a 100 hours into X-COM 2, then revisiting Dark Souls for “fun”. That’s not the experience I found in We Are the Dwarves. We Are the Dwarves is very, very difficult; aim your Dwarven boom-stick a little off to the side of your target, and you’re dead. Fire your gun while standing a little too close to the ledge and forget to mind the recoil, and you’re dead. Use your rocket-propelled Dwarven charge, and the intended enemy moves one step left, and you’re dead. Despite controlling fearless Dwarves wielding brutal-looking hammers and some kind of awesome space shotgun, if you go into this game swinging wildly, guns blazing, you’re asking to die. And die you will, until you figure out how you’re supposed to play. Even then, you’re going to die some more.


Dwarves ain't got time for genres

We Are the Dwarves, from Whale Rock Games, is a difficult game (no pun intended) to shoehorn into a single genre. It is best described as part action-adventure, with some RTS, RPG, and MOBA elements thrown in. There’s stealth, some hack-and-slash, and a whole lot of strategy. The basic premise is pretty simple. Three Dwarven kingdoms are flourishing in their own unique ways. Everything is groovy until they realize the stars are going out, which basically spells doom for all Dwarves, regardless of what kingdom they belong to. In a last-ditch effort to perpetuate the race, a Dwarf is sent from each kingdom on an interstellar mission to save his people. On the way they cross into a space anomaly (don’t they always?) and crash land on a strange world. Now they have to salvage their ship and get the hell out of Dodge, since (space)-Dodge is absolutely chock-full of things that want to kill them. And they can. And they will.

The three aforementioned Dwarves all play very differently. There’s the brutal Smashfist, an angry Dwarf with a pair of ferocious stone axes who is more suited for group battle than one-on-one combat. He has a variety of upgradeable area-of-effect attacks including a “Dwarven Roar” that scatters enemies or knocks them off cliffs, and a berserker attack where he flails his axes around like a kid playing a fighting game with the XBOX KINECT. He can also turn to stone or fire form for additional damage, invulnerability etc. There’s Forcer, the no-nonsense elder Dwarf with a space shotgun who is better suited for singular surgical strikes, and there’s also Shadow, a ninja-assassin-space-Dwarf. And yes, he is as awesome as his description makes him sound. Shadow can teleport around the level from, well, shadow to shadow, killing from the darkness so the rest of your Dwarves can avoid fighting giant swarms of enemies.


Keep your friends close and get as far away from your enemies as you can

And the enemies do come in swarms, and in a variety of nasty flavors. There are enemies that charge you, enemies that explode, enemies that fire at you from a distance, enemies that knock you off ledges, and of course there are enemies that fire at you from a distance, then charge you while knocking you off ledges and exploding. They are varied in appearance and have a variety of skills and abilities, some of which you can view by holding your cursor over them and pressing the left Alt button, which shows their cone of vision and how they will be alerted to your presence. Some enemies are alerted to your presence by smell, some by sound, some by sight, and some by all of the above. Unfortunately, this is where I ran into some problems.

The system for alerting enemies is ambitious and well thought out, but the execution is often lacking. On a particularly rough segment I reloaded my game over and over, trying to figure out why sometimes creeping close to a particular enemy would elicit mild curiosity which was quickly forgotten, yet other times my presence would suddenly cause widespread alarm that would almost immediately result in my grisly death. Sometimes I would be able to move neatly into cover, just avoiding the patrols of some hideous space alien. Other times my Dwarf would stupidly stand right behind the rock I was obviously supposed to hide behind while I clicked furiously on just…the…right…spot, trying to hide even as the enemy sounded the alarm and I was torn to pieces by interstellar mutants. And once that alarm goes up, good luck.

In most games I get irritated when I’m spotted and pursued, then the enemy forgets about me as long as I can stay away from them for longer than 10 seconds, despite clearly being right around the corner. I understand that a game has to be fun, but usually this comes off as ridiculous and takes away from the immersion. In We Are the Dwarves, I prayed for this handicap to no avail. The only benefit of my enemies’ relentless, dogged, never-ending pursuit is when I’d basically kite enemies over to an unlimited health stone, set my heels against it, then swing away like I was stuck in a phone-booth full of bees while jamming the button to heal over and over. Something tells me that the developers weren’t planning on this being a viable strategy, but sometimes I felt like it was the only strategy, especially during those segments I had to play over and over. Unlike games such as XCOM or Dark Souls, most of the time when I died I didn’t really have any clearer idea of how to handle the situation on my next attempt - or my next one, or my next one, or the five or ten after that. It’s too bad, because I can often tell there is a “solution” somewhere, but I’m just not getting it. This can make the combat feel somewhat stifling at times, because it seems like I’m failing due to not “punching in the right combination” instead of innovating and experimenting to get the job done my way.

One way the game helps you deal with the difficulty is the surprisingly robust and detailed information you can collect in your in-game journal as you traverse the galaxy. Manage to survive an enemy or environmental hazard once or twice and the game will cough up some valuable information… if you can avoid being killed over and over by said hazard.  And most times you will be. Still, the journal is a nice touch, and a good resource for when you are stuck in an endless death loop, and it helps you to understand the beautiful world you’re exploring.


A Galaxy of Peril

The world (or galaxy) the Dwarves visit is varied, beautiful, and of course, deadly. The art style is very pretty, and the levels are usually quite different from one another, and with good reason. This is a fictitious sci-fi fantasy world in an unknown universe, so the art team really got to cut loose with enemies and level design. In addition to the near-constant threat of falling to your death (and you will, a lot), the environments themselves feature a lot of interesting and cool-looking ways to kill you. There are giant Venus flytraps, insta-kills from flying debris (in a particularly painful zero G level), exploding alien eggs, deep waters, plants that alert nearby enemies to your presence by flapping and screaming when you come near, giant monsters that pop out of the scenery to take a swipe at you, hatching alien eggs that both hurt you and spawn interstellar horrors… the levels are generally pretty packed. The Dwarves themselves look menacing in their sci-fi fantasy space suits, and their attacks light up the levels with brightly colored explosions and attack animations. The game has a great look, but I cannot say the same for the sound.

The sound in We Are the Dwarves is mostly crisp and varied. The aliens tweet, chirp, groan and scream, and even the flora have sounds all their own. The music is pleasant and quickly changes tempo when you begin combat. Unfortunately, the voice acting doesn’t fare so well. Smashfist sounds downright goofy to me, and even the gruff Forcer doesn’t really sound how I would imagine the character to sound. Some stilted dialogue doesn’t help matters, and some conversation snippets sound pretty absurd. It’s too bad, because with the right voice actors and a bit more polish on the dialogue, it really could have been a solid asset to the world of Dwarves.


We Are the Dwarves is a fun, albeit extremely challenging and frustrating game. For every moment of pure fun I had, I had a hundred others that had me clenching my teeth. Make no mistake; We Are the Dwarves follows the recent trend of super-hard games where death is expected. That alone is fine; the problem I had with Dwarves was that I did not usually feel like I was dying to learn, I was just dying until I stumbled across the “correct” way to handle the situation. This kept a lot of the enjoyment out of it for me, which is a shame, considering how much potential a game like We Are the Dwarves has.

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2016-07-09 00:29:47... - Erik

nice i want to test it ^^

2016-05-16 21:11:55... - kalas


2016-05-16 09:35:04... - AlbuCosmin

I want to try this :)

2016-05-15 13:39:12... - Anton

looks good

2016-05-11 10:42:03... - Arkantos


2016-05-09 20:12:37... - lairapf


2016-05-05 16:09:14... -

szia nagyon szeretem a jatekot

2016-05-04 16:16:58... - saddasasdasd

aser 34 fsdsfsf

2016-05-04 15:32:23... - Sergey

Would love to test this game.

2016-05-04 00:57:16... - Gennadiy

I want this game

2016-05-02 22:29:53... - Judas

I wanna play this game!

2016-05-01 00:34:47... - wellerson191


2016-04-29 22:46:18... - ooj

loko dms

2016-04-29 20:37:45... - Tim

I want this game

2016-04-29 20:16:10... - fffrrrfrr


2016-04-29 19:43:41... - asder


2016-04-29 16:09:55... - adadad


We Are the Dwarves Review
We Are the Dwarves Review
We Are the Dwarves Review
We Are the Dwarves Review
We Are the Dwarves Review
We Are the Dwarves Review
We Are the Dwarves Review
We Are the Dwarves Review
We Are the Dwarves Review
We Are the Dwarves Review