Should I be excited about… Gnomoria
Is it Minecraft? Is it Dungeon Keeper? Is it Dwarf Fortress? Is it all three combined? Well, sort of. Gnomoria is an isometric building game where you’re given nine gnomes, various supplies and a plot of land and told to go build your kingdom. Simple, no? If only it were so simple – mining, crafting, farming, trading and fighting are some of the operations you’ll have to keep in a keen balance to ensure your kingdom’s healthy growth. Due to the sandbox nature of Gnomoria, there is a lot that you can do and virtually unlimited time to do it in.
One of the earliest problems I encountered when jumping into this game was that there was no tutorial on how to do anything, nor were there any suggested approaches to surviving your first few weeks – you are simple plopped down in the middle of a valley and left to your own devices. This is a pretty big hurdle to overcome, and I can see it putting off many a potential player. However I slogged through the initial trial and error based kingdom deployment in my first two games until I had a rough idea of what was going on. (If you want a rough idea of what happened in those games – my first kingdom starved due to me not grasping fully the ideas of farming, or foraging, or any kind of self-sustaining feeding model really and my second kingdom’s subjects all got eaten by a bear.)
Once you get past this initial wall of gameplay, there is a real gem of a game underneath. Your subjects, those industrious little gnomes, can each be personalised to perform specific jobs – anything from miner to doctor, there’s even room for a tiny gnomish military. Something I found with these gnomes, that may be down to personal poor planning or may be a feature in the game, is that they are whimsical little buggers. Even when set with a specific task and job the gnomes would ignore what I asked them to do and go off to do their own thing, it was an uphill struggle to get them to craft anything.
As well as the gnomes, all the land you can see is basically yours to do with as you will. This includes the ground under your gnomes’ feet, all one hundred plus levels of it, which is probably where you’ll be spending the majority of your time as your kingdom expands. In this sense, and as you’d probably have guessed by now, any terrain you can see can be dug out thus shaping and reforming the land to your own grand design (Cue maniacal laughing? No… okay then)
Another key point of Gnomoria is crafting. After all, it’s through the various crafts that your kingdom really kicks off. From carpentry to tailoring, gem cutting to engineering, Gnomoria provides you with every trade you’d expect to help develop your kingdom from a simple little community to a bustling utopia. Perhaps the most important of these trades is trading itself – developing a merchant sector in your kingdom attracts merchants from outside your realm to trade with and increase your kingdom’s wealth, in turn attracting more gnomish minions to bend to your will.
With so much for your gnomes to do and so much land to cover and shape to your own desire, Gnomoria has a lot to offer – and that’s said with the understanding that I barely even scratched the surface of Gnomoria. I’m pretty sure I missed the joys of monster invasions and creating elaborate, devious traps (My most successful kingdom lasted less than a year). If you can get past the initial, massive learning curve the game throws at you, you will likely get a whole lot out of Gnomoria.
In summary, yes. Yes you should get excited about Gnomoria.