About Dwarf Fortress
Dwarf Fortress - The Grandfather of Colony Simulators
Now With a Major Revamp!
Remember: Losing is fun!
Dwarf Fortress is a 2D, single-player RPG colony simulation and strategy game. It was developed by Bay 12 Games and published by Kitfox Games. As of December 2022, Dwarf Fortress has undergone a huge update and is now available on Steam and itch.io for Windows PC.
The OG Colony Sim
As the precursor to colony simulator games like Rimworld, Dwarf Fortress has set the stage for the genre and become a modern classic. Recently, it’s been updated with pixel art graphics and many quality-of-life improvements. The game is entirely procedurally generated, with obsessive levels of detail. For example, each of a dwarf’s 32 teeth is tracked within the world. Dwarf Fortress is a great medium to watch a story unfold in front of you while guiding it along with patience and care.
Concept Rating: 5/5
Dwarf Fortress’s updated graphics are a simple yet charming pixelated style. Even with their simplicity, each dwarf looks surprisingly distinct and variable. This is a huge step up from the original game, which required players to parse vague symbols to unpack what was going on on-screen. The only place where the updated graphics fall a bit short is that some icons look a bit fuzzy, and contrast too sharply or are not defined enough against the background.
As far as video game soundtracks go, Dwarf Fortress nails it. The music is beautiful and compelling, with guitar twangs and motifs reminiscent of Red Dead Redemption 2. However, ambient animal noises play too often and are likely to annoy players, though fortunately these can be turned down in the settings menu.
Graphics & Audio Rating: 4/5
There are few games as intricate as Dwarf Fortress. The tutorial only scratches the surface, and newcomers to the game will need to approach it with a lot of patience. Individual dwarves dance to the beat of their own drum and don’t take direct orders from players outside of combat. After all, they have their own personalities, quirks and traits.
These personalities, also procedurally generated, help lend to the engaging and often absurd narratives that arise. You’ll never have a lack of tasks to do, and there will be lots of log reading involved to parse what's going on in every nook and corner of your fortress.
Alas, the inevitable growth of your colony means running the risk of eventually killing your FPS, since more dwarves and items means more for the game to process and track. Players new to Dwarf Fortress will do well to consider capping off their colony at a certain size.
Gameplay Rating: 5/5
Its first alpha version was released in 2006 and has seen continuous updates since then, and Dwarf Fortress has created an ongoing legacy with no signs of stopping. It was released on Steam on December 6th, 2022, and costs $28.66. Classic Mode, with the old-school visuals, is also still available for gamers to play.
It is in version 50.05 as of January 5th, 2023.
Legacy of Love
Dwarf Fortress is the ultimate exploration procedural game and colony simulator. It’s a great storytelling device for lovers of the genre and has been continually updated with great love and care. With absurd levels of personalization in this game, players run no risk of running out of things to do or new achievements to aim for.
Replay Value Rating: 5/5
- Huge upgrade from the old visuals
- Infinite replayability
- Unbelievable levels of detail
- Requires massive amounts of patience to learn
- Expanding your colony to massive numbers will kill your PC
The new Dwarf Fortress update is a huge deal for both existing fans of Dwarf Fortress and a great way of inviting new players into the ultimate colony simulator that has over 20 years of history.