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Dwarfheim Early Access Preview

Posted by GG Goblin On October - 26 - 2020

The Dwarves are back in town.

The first of two very different Dwarf-based games we will be looking at this week, Dwarfheim from Pineleaf Studio is a co-op RTS that has just recently launched into Steam Early Access. This of course means that the game is yet to be finished and may be a bit rough around the edges, but it is already very easy to see that Dwarfheim has very interesting ideas. It’s a good time to be a fan of the short, gold-loving, ale-swilling bearded folk.


At first glance, Dwarfheim will be familiar to any RTS fan that has been around the genre for a while. It may only be Dwarves that the player is controlling, but they will still be chopping down trees and harvesting food, building defensive towers, researching new tech and sending warriors to defeat whatever may threaten the settlement. It has been done a hundred times before, and will be enough to keep many RTS fans happy. However, Pineleaf Studios are throwing some fairly major curve balls into the game with their take on co-op gameplay.

The main way to play Dwarfheim will be for three players to play together, either against the AI or an opposing team of players. While this is nothing new in itself, the fact that each player will control a different class of Dwarf with very spe3cific focus certainly mixes things up a bit and forces players to not only commit to their roles, but also to communicate.

So, one player will take on the role of the Builder. This class is responsible, rather obviously, for all of the building and much of the resource gathering that will allow the settlement to build up. They will be responsible for the defensive structures and buildings that will give access to research or further types of Dwarf. While they can gather the wood and food themselves, they will also be able to create specialist gatherers that do the job much better. The builders will also be the ones in charge of brewing, making awesome ales to provide buffs. These guys are the heart of any Dwarf settlement.


A second player will be the Warrior. Again, this is fairly self-explanatory, but this player will have to build up the Dwarf fighting force. A nice selection of different warrior types will be needed in order to not only fight back any AI Trolls that attack the clan, but also take the battle to the other team, be they real players or AI, and prove victorious. This may be the simplest of the roles, but it is also perhaps the most important.

Finally, the third player on the team will take control of the Miners. This is where things get really interesting. Dwarfheim plays over two maps, one above and one below ground. The Miner will have the Dwarves pretty much solely in the underground map as they mine for the various resources that can only be found there. Their job is not just about pick axes though, as the Dwarves are masters of the conveyor belt and the Miner player will be setting up elaborate machines to automate and organise the resource collection.

This idea of giving each player on a team a different role will undoubtedly make for some very interesting games, as each of the players will need to understand their own role and how it relates to the other members of the team. Quickly researching the right things while making sure that each player has what they need to grow and protect the settlement is essential as things can take a turn for the worse quickly.


This is all well and good when there are six players ready to team up or fight each other, but even in Early Access the developers have offered options for how players can play. There are tutorials already that do a decent job of explaining the roles, and then there are the different modes to play in, from the classic 3Vs3 Conquest, to the Survival or Sandbox modes. There are options for single players too, although being in control of all three classes at once can be tricky. But the options are there.

The maps are nicely done, especially as they include their underground areas as well with shafts that can allow Dwarves to pop up elsewhere on the map. There are also Thanes to think about, big hero characters that bring both more power and extra abilities that can prove very helpful. With plenty of different structures to build, technologies to research, and upgrades to put in place, Dwarfheim looks set to be a full featured game.

But it is Early Access and the game thus far is quite rough around the edges. Much of this roughness comes down to the UI which is not the most user friendly. Still, the modes that are already included are all running perfectly well. The developers plan to fully release Dwarfheim next Summer, and in that time will be bringing a story campaign and even another class, alongside new maps and further features.


Dwarfheim is already a very solid co-op RTS game that offers some really unusual twists on what has come before. With a little bit of polish, alongside the new content that the developers are working on, it looks set to be a very interesting game for fans of the genre. Dwarfheim is looking good and is certainly one to watch. Find Dwarfheim in Early Access on Steam.


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