Gnomoria is sort of like what you hear Dwarf Fortress is about, only you can play the game without your eyes bleeding and your optical neurons committing suicide. If you have no idea what Dwarf Fortress is about, then consider this: Gnomoria is a sandbox village management game, you must dig deeply and greedily for mineral riches, build the most opulent Great Hall you can, and defend your home from the forces of Evil—which are mostly goblins, bugs and the occasional wild animal. It is also like a highly addictive time machine, in that you find that you cannot stop playing and 12 hours have passed.
It’s recently available via Steam’s new Early Access selection, yes that means this game is not yet finished but that isn’t a bad thing as we all discovered with the great hit of Minecraft. Unlike Minecraft, and more like Dwarf Fortress, this game is actually hard. I personally have yet to make it past the 2nd day of the third year. You do have the option however of playing an entirely peaceful map, which I’ll probably begrudgingly fall back to. Whether or not it will be as detailed as Dwarf Fortress, we’ll have to wait and see. I will be disappointed otherwise. Community feedback, of which you can find links to on their website, helps to develop this game into a shining gem.
Now for the complaining, this game is very hard! I’m not used to this, but my love/hate relationship with it’s difficulty makes it hard for me to decide if it should be made easier. For example, the notorious mant. They are intelligent, bipedal ants that wander into your settlement after it’s discovered by their scouts and murder everything and everyone with reckless abandon, powered only by exsanguination of the enemy, you. Sadly gnomes are tiny and can’t just simply stomp on them to death as they rightfully deserve. You do have the option of building an array of weaponry and traps, after research, to slay your foes with. I am leaning towards keeping the difficulty up, maybe I just need to push myself harder and build less to focus more on my military.
One of the features it carries over from Dwarf Fortress is detail of anatomy. In other words, things like this (see the image below) can happen.
These kinds of little joys will keep you crawling out of peaceful mode and back for more fearsome battles in the higher difficulties. It has a cute and catchy soundtrack that you’ll find yourself whistling along to and it matches the pixelated artwork perfectly. I have high hopes for Gnomoria, despite my criticism of it’s difficulty.