The Dwarves (XB1) Review

Ken McKown

There and back again…and again.

The Dwarves is one of those games that could have been amazing. The premise is solid and unique, and when the game hits, it hits hard. However, it feels like it was shoved out a bit too early, as difficulty spikes and performance issues bog down what is otherwise one of the truly standout titles I have played this season. Perhaps with a few patches The Dwarves can be great, but right now it feels like a missed opportunity.

The opening sequence holds promises of epic battles, as I was thrown into a standoff with a massive army. Immediately the performance issues cropped up. The screen tearing made navigating around the battlefield frustrating, then…it crashed. So I loaded it back up and started over, this time being knocked off a bridge to my death without warning. Keep in mind, this is all in the tutorial.


MSRP: $39.99
Platforms: XB1 (reviewed), PS4, PC
Price I’d Pay: $19.99

The biggest problem with The Dwarves is in its design. Players will control several characters at a time, switching between them to perform their abilities. The problem is that the AI is completely useless. It just mashes the attack button constantly, so if left to fend for themselves, they will die. Oh, did I also mention if one person in my party died, it was game over? Yeah, that is not fun at all.

This is just the battle portion, exploring the world of The Dwarves is well…not what I expected. Players are given a large map that they can click around on, make decisions, and plot out attacks. This is a cool idea, and the story is wonderfully told by a fantastic narrator. I really enjoyed the world that was built, and while the map concept is different, it works. Sadly, with the latest patch clicking on areas felt sporadic at times, with the cursor not reacting as I expected. Again add this to the laundry list of issues that hamper an otherwise cool concept.


As I mentioned, battles are do or die. Falling in battle, even just one party member, means game over. This is frustrating, but made even more frustrating that the AI is worthless without my intervention. This wouldn’t be so bad if I was able to grind, but the level cap is so low, it never really matters. The game also tosses battles and even bosses at the player without much warning. This means I was oftentimes surprised by an attack that ended up wiping my entire progress, which meant starting over. Trial and error is the worst in this game.

I loved the diversity of characters and their abilities in battle. There are some truly interesting mechanics at play here. The bottom line though, is that it is rarely fun to engage in combat. I got frustrated at the useless AI, and starting over battles constantly was a real drag. The world of The Dwarves is interesting, and maybe with some patches down the road this can become a game I can get behind, as it stands now though, this is a tough sell.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.


  • Great world and characters
  • Combat is fun when it works


  • Useless AI
  • Trial and error battles
  • Performance issues


Ken McKown
Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.
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