Metacritic: N/A
Release: Aug 2006
Reviewed on: PC

Dwarf Fortress

Site Score
Good: Free! – Amazing worlds – Endless possibilities
Bad: Learning curve
User Score
(30 votes)
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Dwarf Fortress is a unique city building experience that has players control their own group of dwarves in what is a very unique city building like experience that also incorporates some strategy/rogue-like elements.


The game won’t appeal to everyone and has one of the steepest learning curves I’ve ever seen in a game but if you give this game your time you’ll be rewarded with endless hours of gameplay.

The game has been predominately designed by Tarn Adams and has been quoted as considering it to be his life’s work with an estimated 20 years until full completion of the game. Dwarf Fortress was first born in 2002 but an alpha version of the game was not available until 2006. The game is completely free and supported solely on donations.

Your ultimate goal in Dwarf Fortress is to create and maintain the perfect environment for your dwarves which just so happens to be a wealthy home in the side of a mountain. This is no easy task though with players having to battle the environment, evil invaders from the night and megabeasts (think Balrog from Lord of the Rings). Alternatively you can control dwarves in an adventure style game mode where you freely explore the game world without the building aspect of the core game.


What really makes Dwarf Fortress unique is the graphics, the game is displayed entirely in text which forms part of the large learning curve. Dwarf Fortress definitely isn’t a casual experience but if you are willing to invest your time into it you won’t regret it.

The gameplay depth of Dwarf Fortress is well ahead of other games which is amazing considering it has been a one person job. The game is perfect for anyone who loves a challenge and you’ll find a dedicated community to back you up every step of the way.


  • Steep learning curve (but worth it).
  • Unique text only graphics.
  • Free to play!
  • Amazing game worlds (all randomly generated).
  • Fun mixture of building and adventure.

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Dwarf Fortress, 8.4 out of 10 based on 30 ratings
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