Dorfromantik Review (Switch Online Store) | Nintendo Life
In an era where it seems like many high-budget projects are falling victim to “FOMO mechanics” and stricter pricing schemes, it can be refreshing to play a simplicity-focused game like Dorfromantik. Here you have a puzzle game that doesn’t chase complex mechanics, cutting edge designs or intense action; Dorfromantik is just about creating warm countryside at your own pace. No pressure. No noise. And while he sacrifices his long-term appeal with this approach, we thank Dorfromantik for devoting himself entirely to the peaceful atmosphere he is trying to create.
Based on a simple scoring based puzzle game, you start with a single hexagonal tile floating in space and your goal is simply to build the countryside as far as possible while adding to it. Each hexagonal tile in your stack has a set of features like houses, forests, or rivers on different edges, and you score points for each edge you can match against a tile already placed.
You start with a limited number of tiles, but you can sometimes replenish them by completing quests that are randomly generated as you lay the tiles down. They are easy enough to complete, with tasks ranging from building a river eight tiles long to creating a forest that costs over two hundred points. After you complete the quest, you will receive a large bonus in points, and a few extra tiles will be added to the end of your stack. Quests may keep you busy for a while, but you will inevitably run out of tiles, after which you will be given points and the opportunity to start over. Dorfromantik isn’t the kind of game that pushes you too hard to optimize your playstyle, and this more casual approach can make for a nice change of pace. You could agonize over each tile placement and make sure each edge lines up perfectly, it seems like you’re just expected to do your best and sometimes create imperfect terrain.
There is something wonderfully meditative about emptying your head and just focusing on building small villages and railways in quiet forests while relaxing and invigorating music plays softly in the background. The downside to this, however, is that Dorfromantik is relatively shallow in the long run. It’s pretty much the “one-trick pony” of the game, and once the initial concept wears off, there’s nothing more to get you excited about. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a light puzzle game that you dive into here and there for short 15-minute sessions, but those hoping for more might be disappointed.
Things evolve a bit over time as you gradually unlock more tiles and biomes just by playing the game and getting in-game achievements like placing over a thousand tiles or getting a village worth at least six hundred points. The new tiles don’t really change the gameplay much, but allow for more varied terrain. Meanwhile, achievements give you something other than simply maxing out your score; you can go to each new landscape with a different purpose when you build.
There are also a few additional modes that change the rules a bit, such as creative mode, which just lets you build indefinitely, or hard mode, which puts more emphasis on careful tile placement. If you love to compete, there is even a leaderboard that shows you where you are in the rankings compared to other players around the world. Although the gameplay may seem rather superficial at its core, we appreciated the reward structure presented here, and the alternate game modes help to complete the game experience by demonstrating several different approaches to the standard rules.
Dorfromantik may not have huge stamina, but it offers a nice and chilly puzzle game that we think is worth it in the end. If you’re looking for a game that doesn’t require much from you and is good for late-night sessions before bed, we recommend you give this one a look if it sounds interesting.