Gnomes are fierce. Gnomes are hardworking. And in Gnomoria, the latest from Robotronic Games, gnomes can build a city like no other creature. There are, however, a lot of frustrating elements that can irritate even the master builder or most dedicated gnome.
Sandbox With A Lot Of Sand…And Other Things
Players have a lot of control when customizing their starting zone. Big, small, flat, bumpy–full of goblins or not. Maybe there’s too much choice, though–a theme players have hinted at in early reviews online and on Steam.
Play begins with a skeleton crew of gnomes, those big-headed, hard workers whose sole aim in life is to please their builder/player.
Being a Sandbox Builder game, the micromanaging begins immediately, as your crew of workers will simply stand in the sun and work on their tans if you don’t set them to their tasks. Seriously.
They’ll. Just. Stand. There. Indefinitely, even.
One of the harder concepts to master in Gnomoria is that of underground farming for essentials like mushrooms and other darkness-loving goods. Figuring out how to clear enough space and provide your stalwart farmers with stairs and access to the underground fields was a little time-consuming, and at times frustrating. However, the new level of business it provided added to the entertainment and challenge of keeping the new gnome village afloat–part of the reason people flock to builder games, right?
The game provides you with plenty of gnomes to get you started and you never really feel like you’ve been short-changed, or that you don’t have the tools to play successfully. The game isn’t easy, but the developers give you everything you need to build a successful pint-sized kingdom.
Goblins In The Woods, Goblins Everywhere
It seems everything a player accomplishes or builds in the game is on the radar of various monsters or natural disasters just waiting in the wings. Although a ‘peaceful’ mode is available as an option, if players need a little time to learn the controls before grabbing a battle ax and pursuing green-skinned goblins.
Most sandbox/builder games have a little downtime between catastrophes to let players catch their proverbial breath and prepare for the next round, or even add some much-needed improvements to their villages. Not quite so in Gnomoria. The onslaught felt incessant at times and could get frustrating when the destruction outpaced the construction–especially if you lost some of your gnome tribe to the battles and the farming, building, and foraging weren’t getting done. But that’s the point, isn’t it? Players look to sandbox and builder games for the challenge and these little gnomes and their world deliver.
That said, there’s no room for boredom in Gnomoria and the game has so much content, so many twists and turns, you’ll never play the same game twice.
So Much To learn, No Place To Do It
The gameplay and options are endless in Gnomoria–the tutorials and instructions? Not so much. It’s a disjointing tumble into the start of the game and there’s not a lot out there to get players grounded in how things work (or how to plant those crops underground). Online reviews have called it a cross between Minecraft and Dwarf Fortress (in a good way), but for many others, the frustration in learning the ropes in the early part of play can be too much.
Instruction manuals aside, Gnomoria is a complex, challenging game hidden in an adorable pixelated costume. Fans of fantasy will love the chance to slay goblins and ogres, and players who thrive on micromanaging hordes of minions to do their creative bidding will have plenty to keep them busy as well!
Gnomoria is available on PC for $7.99. It’s currently in early-stage play on Steam.