Dorfromantik Review: Tranquil Tiles
Updated: May 6
Dorfromantik may sound like a silly title, but this strategy game takes relaxing gameplay very seriously.
Developer: Toukana Interactive
Publisher: Toukana Interactive
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC
Website: Dorfromantik – Toukana Interactive
Have you been feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or just need to find that special little happy place to soothe your woes and troubles away? Dorfromantik has what you’ve been seeking.
Dorfromantik is a soft-strategy world-builder that aims to be as chill as possible. In this game, you start with a blank canvas and utilize hexagonal tiles (much like the board game Carcassonne) as your media of which to paint your world. As you construct your world and expand outwards it begins to take life. Birds will soar high above while wildlife in forests will scurry around.
"Dorfromantik is a simple, wonderful little slice of gaming heaven."
The art style of Dorfromantik is not only unique, quaint, and all-around adorable, but paired with its music it creates a vibe of how I imagine walking among heavenly clouds would feel. When you launch into the game and begin playing, you're met with soft piano melodies, and the plucking of bass chords and soothing synths that sweep you off your feet, carrying you away from your woes. In addition, the sounds created for this game seem so genuine. Ambient sound will react accordingly as you zoom in and out. For example, zooming in allows you to hear the chugging of a locomotive or boat drifting down a river that you’ve placed.
You can practically hear that windmill turning and the bustle of the nearby village from here.
The mechanics and gameplay of Dorfromantik are rather typical of a tile-based game. You start with a set number of tiles to create your world, gaining points with each tile placement. These tiles may be arranged to your liking by turning them along an x-axis, as long as they don’t impede the flow of tiles such as railroads or waterways. These tiles are randomly generated, and you cannot skip tiles as they appear in your stack, which in turn creates the strategy aspect of the game. You continue to place tiles until you run out, ending your session.
At the end of your gaming session, you are given a score and then compete against your previous high score comparatively. One other interesting feature is the transition of not only tiles but the atmosphere as well. As you drag your camera from one end of your world to the other, the background may change from a soft baby blue to a warmer orange-purple sunset. Tiles also have the same effect depending on your placement. In one area trees could be lush and green while in another emit the colors of fall.
With each tile placement, the game indicates where your next potential tile may be placed in your world with a slight translucent hexagonal shape. When tiles are placed the game offers 'tasks' via little speech bubbles above said tile. Let's say you place one with a small village. The game could indicate a task of adjoining 'x' amount more houses/villages to complete this task granting you more points and tiles to further extend your session. This can be conducted with tiles such as forests, villages, pastures, rivers, and even railroads.
One of the most relaxing things about this game as there is no timer or anxiety-inducing quickening of music when running low on resources (tiles). (All you original Sonic players who got stuck underwater know exactly what I mean by this.) The only “stressful” thing this game has is its tile counter. In all honesty, though, it's meant to be there to help with your strategic approach, so you're aware of how many you have left to place.
One of Dorfromantik's updates added the gorgeous "Midwinter" biome.
As you progress in Dorfromantik, you unlock different arrays of tiles such as rivers, railroads, pastures, towns, roadways, and even entire biomes. When you expand your world outward you can see what I like to call a 'ghost tile'. This indicates if you connect to this spot you can unlock a new tile/biome by completing a task it presents to you while increasing your score.
This game is not overly complex or in-depth. In all honesty, this review can't be that long as Dorfromantik is a simple, wonderful little slice of gaming heaven. I've played this game for hours and I thoroughly enjoy it every time. If you are interested in learning more, you can head over to their Steam page, or search for it on the Nintendo Switch eShop.
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