I played the free demo of Dorkromantik by Toukana Interactive during one of Steam’s game festival events a few months ago and I immediately fell in love with it. Deceptively simple, you place hexagonal tiles to build a world. If I recall, you could only play so many moves in the demo but I replayed the demo a LOT so when the game finally launched on Steam last week, I felt I owed it to the publishers because I had already had $9 worth of enjoyment from that simple demo.
This is a classic easy to play, hard to master kind of game. It reminded me a lot of ISLANDERS, another seemingly chill game where you create a world, piece by piece, with the game giving you hints and clues on how to maximize the world based on how you place things.
The game starts out simple enough – a simple, blank tile already on the board, a tile in your hand and six empty spots to place that tile, just waiting for you to make your move…
But as soon as you place that tile, the strategy starts. In the image above. you can see the tile that is next up has a small clump of houses with the goal assigned to have at least 3 other houses linked back to that time. The “3+” symbol gives you some wiggle room and you can link a tile with 2 houses and then a tile with 5 and still be fine. But later in the stack, you’ll find a tile with a similar symbol but just the number 5 – no + here, you must have exactly five of that item or you fail the mini-mission.
Soon tiles start to appear with rivers and train tracks and you have to start thinking about how those winding passages must weave their way through your countryside. Do you create one epic river, with lakes and ponds, or try to keep it contained. Does your train run from town to town or do you try to make a loop because if you go too far west, it will interfere with the large forest you are trying to build.
For each mission you complete, extra tiles are added to the stack, keeping the game going. You also unlock new tile biomes and landscape perks, like little boats and rains that go up and down the tracks. But once you run out of tiles, the game is over and you’re back to square one, trying to beat your high score.
I already love this game. I tend to try to head to bed before midnight, sometimes sitting at the computer at 11:30pm, I’ll have that “well, I can’t get too involved in a game…but I could play Dorfromantik really quick.” It’s fun, it’s simple and I am very curious about how it will evolve from this state, which already feels finished even though it is labeled as early access.
Definitely add this one to your wishlist or treat yourself today. It’s the perfect chill game for a rainy afternoon.