Dwarf Fortress

Last Updated on by Samuel Franklin

  • Free! – Amazing worlds – Endless possibilities
  • Learning curve

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.



Review Platform: PC

This review was first published on June 15, 2013. It may have been updated since to reflect new information, platform releases, links and videos as at the updated date at the top of this page. Review scores are not changed as part of this update process, to learn more read our update policy.

Written by
Samuel Franklin
Samuel Franklin is the founder and lead editor of the Games Finder team. He has worked in the gaming industry since 2008 publishing content on the likes of YouTube, GameSkinny, Hubpages and other media outlets as a guest author. He has over 3 million views on his YouTube channel, SeelyonGaming.

Samuel actively enjoys video games across all genres and platforms, watching the trends of the gaming industry and following the independent development scene in particular. Games Finder is also a Steam Curator and featured in the aggregate review data of MobyGames and Neoseeker.

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