Developer(s) – Orube Studios
Publisher(s) – Orube Studios
PEGI – Not Rated (Non-graphic violence)
Released by Orube Studios as one of two titles in the works simultaneously, Dwarf Journey is a rogue-lite Metroidvania heavy on combat and character development imposed by both Norse mythology and high fantasy. Having been excited by the looks of this game for quite some time, I was eager to play it and see what Orube had to offer; especially following our Q&A;
After having played this game all the way through, I certainly wasn’t disappointed.
Graphics – 9/10
This title featured wonderfully detailed 8 BIT visuals in a world inspired by Norse mythology and the works of fantasy novelists such as JJR Tolkien and Gary Gygax, featuring enemies such as goblins, dragons, and beholders; indeed the second boss fight is very reminiscent of Bilbo Baggins encounter with Smaug in The Hobbit. But besides which, there are also a lot of unique creatures included for good measure, particularly in this level. A lot of the monsters in that dungeon actually reminded me somewhat of the guardian in Legend of Zelda: Breath of the wild. The soundtrack accompanying the game is a very interesting mix of orchestral music and 80s synth-pop, which I never would’ve thought would work in a fantasy game, but to my surprise, it does work very well.
Gameplay – 8/10
Heavy on combat, upgrading, and exploration, the game is a rogue-lite so every playthrough provides a different challenge each time. The player must traverse through four separate dungeons incorporating one of a great number of different play styles best suited to them, whilst along the way finding the resources to forge better equipment or upgrade the equipment they already have. Whilst not providing as much challenge as the average rogue-lite, or roguelike for that matter, it still provides an extremely satisfying gaming experience, and for me, serves as an ideal starting point for anyone looking to get into the genre and to move on to more difficult games made in the same vein like Rogue Legacy or Skul: The Hero Slayer.
Controls – 10/10
A traditional 2D side scroller being easy to learn and only moderately difficult to master, Dwarf Journey no issues with its control scheme. It’s actually well thought out how agility and power can affect an individual’s style of play and how it can be afforded for players to strategize accordingly. The wall-jumping mechanics are also strangely satisfying, allowing for the opportunity to make certain enemy skills have a much more cinematic feel to them.
Lifespan – 6/10
One playthrough of this game, depending on player skill, can take there around 5 hours. However, this is a game designed to be played a minimum of two times, since there are two different endings. But besides which, each playthrough offers a different experience, as I said before, so avid players can draw even more playtime out of it than that. It may become somewhat monotonous after a certain amount of playthrough, which would probably be down to a lack of content compared to other rogue-lites, but it can be made to last a significant amount of time regardless.
Storyline – 6/10
The story of Dwarf Journey follows an elderly Dwarven warrior named Gallar, who after having achieved everything he ever wanted is suddenly drawn towards a mysterious place known as The Valley of Eternity, where within its depths lies an artifact of immeasurable power, which he resolves to recover for himself. The game’s story hearken back to the NES days when most games had only a basic premise as a story,m and not much besides. What separates this story from a lot of others, however, is the fact that it has multiple endings to attain, giving it that little bit more replay value in turn. The basic premise is interesting and the endings will do fairly well to surprise players after Gallar’s arduous journey through the depths.
Originality – 7/10
The game’s level of uniqueness may not be overwhelmingly high, as it is in many other indie titles released in recent years but it is unique in the sense that it provides a much more laid back rogue-lites experience, which many players who may feel jaded by other games in the series they may consider to be too hard, will seem like a welcome breath of fresh air. If there are any players looking to get into this genre of gaming, I would personally recommend they start with this game, as it provides a decent introduction without it being overly easy at the same time.
In summation, Dwarf Journey is a decent rogue-lite and a solid first developmental effort from Orube Studios. Their next game, Super Mombo Quest, looks to provide a very different experience to that of this title, but nevertheless, I recommend anyone looking to get into rogue-lites that they try this game since as well as being a decent jumping on point, also provides a very enjoyable gaming experience.