First Dwarf combines Zelda and city-building elements to create a fun experience. I got the opportunity to go hands-on with the game at PAX West. The artwork blew me away, and the concept impressed me. Although I found some of the movement and attacks a little floaty, I am overall excited to play the full version when it releases.
In First Dwarf, you will set off to find new lands for your dwarven clan to settle. You will come across floating islands that, at first glance, look uninhibited, a perfect place for a new start. But as you explore and learn about your new home, a mystery will start to unfold - you soon discover ancient, decrepit buildings, and a dark force will threaten the land. Who built these ruins, and what is the source of this evil? That is the mystery and the backdrop for the game.
I love the crafting and exploration aspect of First Dwarf. You use a "steam-punk mech" to explore and engage in melee combat. And your pet dragon can fly above and beyond my immediate surroundings to search for resources or find treasures.
Part of the game involves city-building and crafting. You construct living quarters for new settlers and workshops to forge new items. Additionally, you erect turrets to ensure the village's safety. You must connect the buildings to your mana processing plant to power all the structures.
To craft and build, you need to gather resources. Initially, you gather these resources manually. However, eventually, you will have enough resources to build machines for mining rocks and cutting down trees.
The battle system is fine, but I consider it my least favorite aspect of the game. Sometimes, I felt incapable of hitting the enemy, as the controls felt a bit floaty. Additionally, there is a rhythm mechanism to the melee combat; hitting the swings in rhythm reduces the stamina required to swing the axe while failing to do so exhausts the character. If I had more time to spend with the game, I could have gotten better at this, but with my limited time, the mechanism was a bit challenging.
You can also level up your mech suit and in the demo, I installed super jump. This necessary upgrade is required to continue with the story. The floaty controls were an issue I had with super jump or just jumping in general. I felt like I couldn't really control where I would land when I jumped, and I missed my mark a few times.
But overall, I enjoyed what I saw of First Dwarf and can’t wait to play more.