“The Dwarves delved too greedily and too deep” is a line that’s always stood out to me from The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring. That single line has stuck with me because it gives so much information about dwarven society and its mentality. Since then I’ve always wanted a glimpse into the life of the dwarves and their underground societies. Dwarf Fortress is probably the first title that I can think of that tasked you with managing dwarves in such a way—but despite its legendary status, I couldn’t get past its ASCII graphics. There have been a few contenders over the years for a game that simulates dwarf life, but none that have been so intriguing to me as Hammerting.
Hammerting is a little bit city management, and a little bit strategy game played from a sidelong perspective. War is raging across the overworld—and the dwarves have decided to dig-in deeper to help their allies. Deeper is where the best stuff is for making weapons—but it’s also where the nastiest enemies wait. You’ll start with a few dwarves as you first explore into the mountain. Eventually, the goal is to have a thriving dwarven community that can assist in the war effort above—while facing their own threats below.
You don’t directly control your dwarves as they go about their duties. Instead, you lay out tasks these builders will then perform automatically. You will have multiple goals—the first of which is to establish your base, and begin crafting operations. The war on the surface needs supplies, and you’ll be given requests to complete—including, eventually, special requests that require materials from deep within the mountain.
The dwarves you will have at your side are individuals, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Some dwarves come naturally equipped to handle certain jobs better, but you can manipulate each dwarf’s stats to prepare them for the jobs that need to be done. They have the usual stats of health, energy, morale, but also greed. A healthy dwarf is a greedy dwarf, and if there isn’t treasure or other shiny objects to fulfill a given dwarf’s greedy desires, this stat will go down.
To get deep into the mountain, you’ll need proper infrastructure. You can build quarries and foundries to gather proper materials. You can build cart tracks to ferry materials around, and stairs—and eventually elevators—to get deeper, and traverse otherwise impassable terrain. Dwarves don’t need special training to fight even if they’re not specialized in combat, so they’ll automatically fight off any enemies they might encounter.
The dynamic overworld conflict changes the the perspective from being all about mining in a mountain, to giving your dwarves tasks to complete—and if they don’t, evil threatens to overtake the land. To make your dwarves the best they can be, you can increase the types of technology available in the arcane lore section. It’s a little rudimentary for now, but you can upgrade your metalworking, stone masonry, and other technologies to make mining and getting around your mine easier—as well as making better items to trade with the outside world.
Hammerting is an Early Access game. Right now there’s combat, exploration, missions, and base-building to partake in. The full game is expected to have even more—like quality of life improvements, expanded cave exploration, a fluid system, fishing, improved combat, more missions types and automation. For an Early Access title, my initial impression is good—I love the art style, the sidelong perspective, and the atmosphere of the caves.
I’m excited for Hammerting’s development. It’s a fun game right now, but its time in Early Access has the potential to make it a great game. As it is right now, you can get a taste of what the overall experience will be—and if you can’t wait, pick it up. If you’re still on the fence about it, there’s a demo available on the game’s store page on Steam.
Hammerting is entering Early Access tomorrow—but you can check it out today if you download the demo.
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