The German word “dorfromantik” can literally be translated as “village romanticisation”. Its true meaning is beyond comprehension. In a recent Interview with Eurogamerthe developers of Dorfromantik (game) says the word “is often used to describe the kind of nostalgia you get when you long to be in the countryside.” Dorfromantik is a state of mind.
That couldn’t be more fitting for this exquisitely relaxing game, which just arrived after a year of early access. Dorfromantik is a peaceful game of tile arrangement: a minimalist, meditative style Catania. You build the landscape from hexagonal bricks, creating pine forests, patchwork fields, meandering rivers, railroad tracks, and rugged red brick towns. (However, no sugar.) And that’s it. There is no resource production or cost to think about – no competition, no population, no politics, no winning, no losing. You are scored purely on how well your tiles fit together. Your only goal is harmony and beauty.
Playing Dorfromantik are relaxing. You could even say that it cleans aesthetically. The landscape, painted with sporadic brushstrokes and pastels, and animated with steam engines inflating, tugs, and rolling seabirds, was resplendent and toy-like. It was just a nice place to stay. Time does not pass here, and no one needs anything from you. Nothing counts down while you consider placing your next tile; take as long as you like. The game plays as well in the five minutes between sprints as it does in three fun, zoned hours.
There’s no such thing as saying Dorfromantik However, there is no purpose or no friction. In fact, it’s pretty tightly shaped and controlled. Developer Toukana – a group of four game design students from Berlin – blends elements of strategy and puzzle games, as well as solitaire games of chance, in a simple, well designed design. sophisticated assessment.
The tiles you place are dealt from a random stack that is always descending. In order for your game to continue to evolve, your landscape to grow and your score to increase, you need to earn more tiles by completing quests. These appear upon placing a certain number of tiles and require you to assemble an increasingly larger number of each of the five landscape elements: dozens of water bricks, hundreds of houses, thousands of trees green. Say, one tile might claim to be matched with at least 36 other houses, while another might ask you to assemble exactly 13 houses and no more. When completed, some quests raise a flag that rewards you with even more tiles if you successfully close a town or forest or waterway by surrounding it with other landscape elements so it cannot open. widen even more.
This beautifully simple set of rules has ramifications – and to Toukana’s great credit, those ramifications work aesthetically as well in the realm of game balance. Dorfromantik encourages care and strategy, but discourages optimization. You cannot succeed in this game by building a huge metropolis in one corner of the map, a huge forest in another and a huge agricultural grassland in a third. Tiles also work against this point of view, as they randomly combine landscape elements, leaving you with unexpected expansions and new designs with every quest you take on. This is a very clear and logical system that has been designed to produce unexpected, organic results. That is an amazing achievement.
The biggest challenges, at first, seem to be posed by railways and river bricks, which can only be placed next to others of the same type or close to specific endpoints. These can easily create bottlenecks to your map expansion as you wait for the “ideal” tile to appear in the stack. Unsightly knots and gaps appear, instead of the steady, steady bloom you’re instinctively looking for. Rivers and railways can make a nasty note of frustration Dorfromantikcalm and satisfying mental tunes – but the game will probably too easygoing without them.
After my first few games about Dorfromantik, the more I learn about the game’s design and try to get into it, the worse I do. My grades keep going down; My stack keeps running dry. What happen? I tried too hard to play the system. I’ve lumped too many quests together – four or five jungle quests in a single trunk – for the sake of efficiency, but in doing so, disrupts the steady rhythm of the game. This is not a game of ambition. It can be difficult for a mind trained in video game reward systems to break its habit of escalating and learn at its slow pace.
I finally slowed down. I pay less attention to the task and more to the puzzle. You score points for matching the edges of the tiles: tree to tree, house to house, grass to grass, etc. A perfect match along all six edges will reward you with 60 points and an extra tile. Adding to the point: It looks better. Once I create harmony rather than efficiency my goal, Dorfromantik meet me halfway; my score better, run longer, my map better.
This style of play is bolstered by one of the 1.0 update’s most subtle and best additions, highlighting matching edges more clearly and giving perfect slots a satisfying performance. . Elsewhere, there’s new music, all of which falls under the category of “extremely elegant environments that sound fine with cows whining on them.” You can now track more meta objectives that reward you with new tile types and aesthetic customizations, including adorable seasonal “biomes”. And there are some new ways to play, along with Classic Creative modes and everything that’s already in early access.
Fast mode, for one, has a hard limit of 75 tiles and takes about 10 minutes to half an hour to complete. Hard Mode has fewer missions and more complex tiles to hold. Custom mode allows you to look up the probabilities of landscape elements, quests and other parameters, and then share your settings with other players, with or without seed for tile stacks . My favorite mode, Monthly Mode, is a custom game setup and a fixed seed that changes monthly, it will be a fun place for the community to challenge themselves on the score leaderboard .
This is all that is welcome and it makes Dorfromantik a fuller and more rewarding experience. But really, this is one of those games where early access is a bit confusing, not because it doesn’t have room for improvement or features to add, but because its premise is already so full. , perfect from the start. Add too much to it, or do anything that might upset the delicate balance between friction and flow, between logic and naturalism, and it will be ruined. But Team Toukana knows better than that. They are at peace, strolling through the countryside of the mind.
Dorfromantik Now available on Windows PCs. The game has been evaluated on PC using a download code provided by Toukana Interactive. Vox Media has an affiliate partnership. These do not affect editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased through affiliate links. You can find Additional information on Polygon’s ethics policy can be found here.