That is the case of We are the Dwarves !, a game that could fit in the subgenre of tactical strategy in real time of a single player, but that does not do it at all, by having unique mechanics that make it different from what seen to date.
We can look for similarities in classics such as X-Com, Dungeon Siege and even in Blizzard’s 1992 classic, The Lost Vikings; games where the control is extended to several characters, demanding the best use of the virtues of each one, while advancing through a scenario where each step has to be planned.
But before we get fully into the action, we will place it properly. WatD! is the first title of the Ukrainian studio Whale Rock Games, whose components have participated in developments such as Everquest, STALKER, Dragon Age or The Elder Scrolls.
It presents us with a practically suicidal journey of three dwarf explorers in search of the salvation of their world. While they may look like astronauts, their journey is much more metaphysical than simply landing on a planet full of aliens. In one way or another,
our three dwarves will end up trying to survive in an environment where each and every one of their elements is hostile and can end their lives. And that, as we’ll see now, is basically what we’re going to do most in this game; lose your life
Each of the three characters has their own personality and role in the adventure and, more importantly, their own abilities when facing it.
The first dwarf with whom we can play is Forcer, whose abilities are of remote attack, counting on a shotgun, a crossbow and a grenade launcher. As defensive skills, Forcer will be able to cast decoys that attract enemy attention, as well as a force field that will mitigate the damage received by the dwarves who take refuge in it.
The second dwarf that we can control will be Smashfist, a character of the “tank” type, who with his two battle axes will be in charge of taking the line of shock and the enormous damage that enemies do in the melee. For this, in addition to a couple of special attacks with his axes, he has the ability to enter a furious mode in which he receives less damage.
The last character to appear in the game will be Shadow, our ninja dwarf, with abilities to hide and move between enemies without alerting them, as well as to eliminate them in silence.
These three dwarves begin the adventure separated, after crashing their ship in a scenario that evokes a seabed, but without being, where the fauna, flora and other elements, remember that kind of environment. Our first contact with the action, controlling Forcer, may seem familiar; isometric view, a stocky character, stuffed in a large armor, with a pick and a crossbow.
The control, a click on the map and the dwarf moves. Click on the enemy and attack him. Opposite, three small enemies with head of sea bream.
There’s not much to think about it; move forward, two shots of shotgun and keep moving forward. And that is where we will come across the harsh reality of what this WatD !. Within a few seconds of mistakenly assuming that we are facing another “hack and slash” title, we will suffer our first death.
Perplexed, we will try again, repeating the same fatal fate. Not even hitting full with the shotgun we get to kill the first enemy of the game, although it has all the appearance of being the lowest and most common. We will then choose to try to flank them,
with the same result, since either they will hear us, they will see us from a great distance, they will smell us or even feel our presence and, as soon as one does, all the enemies of the stage will fall on us ending up with us in seconds.
First moment of perplexity, assumption that something is wrong and cowardly flight to the main menu to choose the easiest difficulty mode, of the two available. It will still cost us a lot of deaths to begin to take control of the really effective character control.
It will seem clumsy, slow and harmless unless you have the initiative in the attack. The shots of each weapon take a world to recharge, the armor seems a simple ornament, the movement is hindered by the stage and the enemies seem almost unaffordable,
with a resistance and capacity of damage beyond what is expected by its appearance. It will be the moment in which we will have to stop and really design a strategy. Okay, for a reason we’re looking at a tactical strategy game in real time. However, our biggest advantage is to avoid the latter;