1. Walkthrough overview
Welcome to the walkthrough for The Dwarves.
As far as the high-fantasy story of the titular dwarves is concerned you're in for a real treat (and this walkthrough will do its best to keep the spoilers to a minimum). The dwarven clans, the world's lore, and your character's personal struggle is by far the game's biggest strength. The story consistently keeps your interest at all times, the characters are likeable, and the voice acting is very good. The graphics are also good. The high production value on all these fronts is all the more impressive considering this is an indie title.
If you sensed that there's a "but" coming then you are unfortunately correct, and the "but" is that the gameplay is a bit lackluster. The entirety of the gameplay falls into two main areas which can be loosely described as exploration/conversation (the RPG part) and combat (the real-time strategy part).
The RPG part is fairly minimal. You'll visit a bunch of places, click through all objects of interest when visiting a particular place and go through all dialog choices when talking to most characters. You'll see a bunch of characters come and go into your party. You'll level them up. The game's level cap is at a mere 10 and all levels give you is some automatic stat increases. The only thing you really get to choose is a skill every couple of levels. There's no weapons or armor. There are accessories, but they're largely pointless. Towards the end of the game you will have more characters to choose from, but by that point you'll have spent the bulk of the game with your dwarves so there's really no incentives to switch away from characters that work. So to summarize, there really isn't much character or party customization to be had.
The combat part is functional, but not particularly satisfying. The game has a habit of throwing lots of weak pushover enemies at you for pretty much the entire game. Occasionally there will be a tougher boss-like character to tackle (standing alongside the same horde of enemies), but that's about it. You'll spend most of your combat experience frequently pausing to issue special moves. When it's hordes of enemies it'll be to use your one area-of-effect skill. When it's a boss or tougher enemy it'll be your one massive damage, single target skill. There is also a long list of skills you'll never use or want to get as they'll be of little practical value.
A final concern is that the game does have some obvious technical issues. The biggest and most immediately noticeable of these are the load times. Every area, combat, and video will take a long time to load. There are actually moments where you'll wait minutes for a cutscene to load that itself lasts just a few seconds, only to be followed by another minute of loading screens for another short cutscene. There are also some collision detection issues where your character will sometimes fall through the very solid ground he's standing on and instantly die causing you to fail the combat. There is also at least one point where you'll fight the world map since it won't allow you to focus your selection on the very next place you need to go. The game also is super inconsistent with it's notion of "injuries". Basically, every fight your party will start with partial HP, even if none of them are injured. This forces you to play conservatively at the start of the fight or to immediately heal. None of these issues break the game in any sort of way, but it's something to keep in mind.
As far as completing the game is concerned, the task is pretty straightforward. You only need one playthrough, where you'll pick up all the achievements for the base game. The game is relatively short for an RPG and should take somewhere between 12-15 hours. There are no difficulty related achievements so you can play the game on the easiest difficulty. There are quite a few achievements that are missable, but this guide will point them out as they happen. You can save the game at any point outside of combat, and I highly recommend saving the game after every combat, every new area, and every new cut scene (using a new save each time) . This not only guarantees you won't lose any progress, but also if you do miss an achievement you can just go back to an older save.
Finally, the title update DLC adds challenges to the game from the main menu. These are basically single fights with special objectives where you get to pick from a list of heroes. These will be covered in their own section. If you completed the base game these should not pose any surprise to you, though ironically the first few are the hardest challenges in the set and the later ones are actually quite easy.
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