If you’re a fan of tower defence games, then the developers at Half Human Games have brought us their take on the genre with Dwerve. Released in May 2022, players can pick it up on Steam for £15.49. The soundtrack is also available for an additional £7.19 for those who love to collect music.
Not all heroes carry swords
I find this genre relaxing and not too demanding, which makes it a great way to pass the time. Games like Bloons TD 6 and Plants vs Zombies instantly come to mind. Both were great games, but what interested me with Dwereve is that it is more story-focused. I’m hoping for a nice selection of towers to use and a rich story I can get lost in. Let me know in the comments about some of your favourite tower defence games and what I should check out.
In Dwerve, our journey begins with the game explaining that long ago, Dwarves used to live in the Mountain of Crowcrest. The dwarves soon discovered a rare rock known as a power stone. With these power stones, they could create machines that made their lives easier. Soon after, they grew greedy and dug too deep into the mines unleashing the Gloomdark Hordes. A fierce battle had taken place that would eventually see the dwarves pushed out of their mountain home.
We skip forward in time to the small peaceful village of Brekka has been attacked by trolls looking to get revenge. A young courageous dwarf called Dwerve ventures forth to find a way to save his home and repel the troll threat.
Some info on the turrets
In Dwerve, players won’t be able to place loads of towers or traps down. All traps and turrets cost power stones, with turrets needing two and traps using one. The player can place four turrets or traps into their hot bar. Once you summon a turrets, you can recall it back to regain the power stones used. The turrets in Dwerve all come with pros and cons. Such as the Harpoon Turret that pulls enemies towards it, setting up for another Tower to deal damage, but the fire rate is too slow.
Finding the right turret synergy and placement will be vital for most levels in Dwerve. I used the Rotating Blades and Flamethrower, a great combo. The Blades provide great defence, while the Flamethrower burns mobs in a wide area. I was disappointed in the lack of defensive turrets such as barricades or shields.
Upgrading your defences
As players progress through the story of Dwerve, they will meet various characters. One such character is the mysterious traveller Sla, who will gift Dwerve with new turrets and traps throughout his journey. Sla also lets players upgrade their defences at her tinkering table. All defences have upgrades, with turrets having three upgrade trees and traps getting two.
Upgrading towers is crucial for later in the story when hordes become larger. If you regret upgrading a defence, don’t worry, you can sell the upgrade and get your scrap. Some upgrades didn’t provide enough of a buff to the selected turret. For example, I found the Tesla Turret’s damage didn’t improve after upgrading. The Ballista Turret upgrades are excellent, with it getting a stun and poison effect.
The Gloomdark horde
There are various foes in Dwerve that players have to adjust their turret strategy to. Trolls come in all shapes and sizes. Some will attack through walls with chains to destroy your turrets. Others carry shields that can block your turret’s arrows. One threat that annoyed me was the large ogres that walk with pillars in hand and can destroy turrets in one hit.
Laying down traps like spikes or electrical mats helps with larger foes. Bosses each come with their own attack pattern, which I found fun as they played more like a dark soul boss with me dashing around laying turrets. After beating the boss, they drop a good amount of scrap. Players can fight the boss again if they want to grind for more scrap to upgrade turrets. The first boss is the easiest to do this with.
Graphics & Audio
The charming pixel art style is pleasing to the eye. Alongside its lively fantasy colours and adorable sprites, the graphics remind me of Stardew Valley. The animations are reminiscent of classic games, such as how characters bob when idle. The portraits used for each character during dialogue boxes are also very detailed. Aerie’s design is also adorable, one of my favourites, and the design for many mythical creatures and characters is just as good. One of the characters that made me chuckle with their character design was Fub, a turtle.
The music is good, going between quaint and uplifting to foreboding and ominous and epic. I enjoyed the in-game sound effects, and overall all sound was very engaging and good quality despite the omission of spoken dialogue.
Dwerve took me thirteen hours to finish on normal mode. Other difficulties are available for those looking for a challenge. Unfortunately, there isn’t much replayability in the story. I found no secrets during my playthrough, either.
Although I had fun playing Dwerve, some levels left me frustrated. One such level had me destroying five totems to free a ghost. The main issue being I couldn’t build a strong defence as the optimal area to do so was in the middle of the enemies. I ended up dying repeatedly and struggled to deal with stronger mobs later. The turret selection is great and provides enough variety of synergies for players to try. As I mentioned above, I wish more blockade-type defences were available, as I mainly used the Rotating Blades turret since it had the highest health.
The hero could use more weapons, as Dwerve doesn’t deal massive damage and can get killed too easily. His dash cooldown is too slow, and he barely outruns enemies.
Even though this game has its issues, I still enjoyed the gameplay. That’s why I’m giving it the Thumb Cultures Gold Award.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.