Guest Author - James Shea
A fun, cheap Indie game inspired loosely on games like Minecraft and Dwarf Fortress, and more directly by the boardgame Dwarven Dig, "Delve Deeper" is a fun game that's easy to pick up and quick to learn for 1-4 players. However, the lack of online multiplayer (hotseat is the only multiplayer mode available) sets it back.
In "Delve Deeper", the goal is to dig into a mountain and collect as much gold and treasure as you can. Players take turns placing tunnels, moving their Dwarves, and fighting off the monsters. Each player has a team of five Dwarves, composed of members of three classes. Scouts are the lightest class; they can move the farthest, but are weakest in combat and can carry little. Miners have middling stats, but can carry the most out of the three classes. Fighters move the slowest, but are physical powerhouses.
The map is based on a hex-grid concept. Some parts of a map are already filled in with corridors, but most of it is blank. At the start of each player's turn, the player places a tunnel on one of the blank areas. These tunnels have many different shapes corresponding to how many tunnels they can connect to. Placing a tunnel with many exits can lead to further expansion, while placing a tunnel with few exits prevents an enemy from connecting it to a hostile area.
There are three types of terrain: "Dirt", "Stone", and "Deep". Some areas have mineral resources (gold, gems, or mithril) or treasure in them; this must be either mined (in the case of the former)or grabbed (in the case of the latter) and brought back to the player's starting area. The game's title refers to the phrase "The Dwarves delved too deep and too greedily" from Lord of the Rings, which is the main concept here; the lower levels of a map are rich in minerals and ancient treasure, but are also home to some nasty monsters. Therefore, the decision to "delve deeper" is a risky one.
Combat is done automatically when either two opposing dwarves or dwarves and monsters enter the same space. Fights are "to the death" - that is, both sides autoattack until one side is destroyed. Defeated dwarves drop all of the resources and treasure they were carrying, and will wake up in a few turns with one hit point, which makes them vulnerable until they return home to heal up. Combat can make or break a game - it's never necessary in the sense that the goal is just to "get treasure", but if a rival has more treasure than you a well-placed strike can disrupt his operations long enough for you to get an edge.
The graphics are retro and pleasing to the eye while not being cluttered or hard to see. The game has an overt sense of humor - treasure descriptions are littered with references to books, movies, and other games, and that's without even getting into the list of achievements. The Dwarf King (for whom all the players are mining) offers constant commentary on events and battles. Overall, "Delve Deeper" is a fun game, especially at the low cost of $5 on Steam, but the lack of online multiplayer hurts it - surprising, since the game is so obviously geared for multiple people. 8/10.
Purchased with our own funds through Steam