DwarfHeim preview: A fun and frantic co-op RTS with city-building, survival, and trolls

Dwarfheim 28 04 2020 18 42
Dwarfheim 28 04 2020 18 42 (Image credit: Windows Central)

DwarfHeim is an upcoming co-op RTS with a role-based format, allowing teams to choose specific jobs within the game. Whether your favorite parts of an RTS are resource management and gathering, city-building and defenses, or combat, Dwarfheim lets you assume leadership in one of these aspects in a growing dwarven village, beset by troll hordes.

DwarfHeim is hitting Steam for PC later in the Fall of 2020, and we recently got to play through a match for ourselves. There's truly something for all types of strategy game fans here, and it's well worth adding to your watch list.

Build a base, and battle to victory

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

As a 4v4 game, DwarfHeim allows players to select their own roles in combat, from a list of four. One is the warrior combatant, who takes control of the team's armies. The builder is tasked with gathering overworld resources like wood and food while building the base's defenses and structures. Miners head into an underground segment and are tasked with crafting a Factorio-like production line to mine and refine mineral ores. Finally, the diplomat's job is to weave into enemy lines, set up traps, and espionage, although the latter class wasn't available for my beta playthrough.

I played as a builder, with fond memories of creating custom maps in Age of Empires II specifically oriented around tower defense-style play, and having recently gone through a mild addiction to They Are Billions, which is a single-player survival RTS set in a zombie apocalypse. I have often thought about how cool it would be to play They Are Billions with friends, and DwarfHeim effectively offers that.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

As I began creating farms and chopping wood, my lovely Norwegian teammates got to work digging in the mines, setting up elaborate factories underground to refine metals. Metal bars are needed for research and upgrades, as well as more advanced units. Working communicatively with your teammates to manage those shared resources seems rather crucial to building an efficient, productive colony, especially when the carnage starts to happen.

Source: Pineleaf Studios (Image credit: Source: Pineleaf Studios)

As you're playing, your base is frequently beset by creeps, in the form of angry trolls. These trolls test the mettle of your defenses and force you to remain on your toes as you continually try to build up your base and army.

DwarfHeim isn't a visually complex game, but it does well while handling lots of soldiers and trolls on-screen, with an optimized engine that feels solid, even months before launch. I know this because after turtling a bit to try and build up some resources and defenses, we got absolutely swarmed by the enemy team's angry dwarven army, burning my nascent village into the earth. And it was awesome!

Lots of beardy promise

Source: Pineleaf (Image credit: Source: Pineleaf)

DwarfHeim is a unique contender in a genre that is experiencing something of a renaissance right now, offering a unique take on something that should appeal to fans of various subgenres.

DwarfHeim has a ton of potential, and it's well worth keeping on your radar.

City-building fans will enjoy playing as the builder, while Factorio fans will enjoy diving into the depths and setting up supply lines. MOBA players will enjoy taking on the warriors and espionage roles, free from the management layer that makes those types of games popular.

Players working together to manage resources is uniquely in-line with how functional civilizations work in general. Many RTS games I've played touch upon this, but this is the first I've tried that makes it a centralized concept, and I'm already totally sold.

DwarfHeim has a ton of potential, and it's well worth keeping on your radar if you're a strategy game fan.

PC Gaming


Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!