Universal acclaim - based on 9 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 9
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 9
  3. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Dwarf Fortress is a storytelling engine as much as it is a game, spitting out associations and facts and details that you can shape into a coherent and specific narrative. This is also what we do to our own lives, personifying random events so that they feel significant rather than a matter of chance. Life isn’t usually a satisfying narrative. It isn’t so much that “Dwarf Fortress” is a perfect simulacrum of life, but that it shines a bright light on the human tendency to look for meaning in everything. I care about my dwarves because the stories I make up about their lives are also the ones I make up about my own.
  2. Dec 7, 2022
    A dedicated renewal for an already-legendary video game, the 2022 release of Dwarf Fortress brings it to a level where the casually interested can finally dive in and Strike the Earth!
  3. Dec 7, 2022
    You could summarise Dwarf Fortress as a game about the meticulous cultivation of downfall. There’s no victory condition beyond the satisfaction of bolting together another grand chronicle of inevitable disaster. It’s this joyful fatalism as much as the simulation’s richness that makes it timeless.
  4. Dec 5, 2022
    Dwarf Fortress is a very difficult, edgy game, but it is also an essential experience, a true celebration of the hidden potential of the videogame medium, which you will not find in any other game.
  5. Dec 13, 2022
    A truly masterful fantasy simulation.
  6. Jan 3, 2023
    Dwarf Fortress is, initially, a little daunting. Not because it’s inaccessible, but because you just know that it’s going to turn into a real time-sink. Is it the prettiest game around? No, but it’s wonderfully, ridiculously deep and a sheer joy to play. If you’re prepared to put the time in, Dwarf Fortress will drag you into its depths and you won’t regret it for one second.
  7. Dec 5, 2022
    I’m not even close to having experienced all that Dwarf Fortress has to offer, and I’m excited to see what I can learn next. After all, failure is the mother of learning, so I must have learned a decent amount from Dwarf Fortress.
  8. Dec 5, 2022
    A worthy revision of the legendary settlement sim. Slightly less impenetrable, just as engrossing.
  9. Dec 8, 2022
    The steam release may have a few rough edges that need work, but everything from the original has been drastically improved upon and is a joy to lose at.
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  1. May 8, 2019
    Dwarf Fortress is a brilliant game, but it will make you work to find that out.
  2. Dec 5, 2022
    It may, as it did for me, invoke a sense of anxiety as you feel unsure what it is you ought to be doing. But in following your instincts, stories will begin to arise, just as they do for a novelist when they sit down to write. Your base motivation (survive the winter) will be supplanted by something else as you respond to what unfolds before you — whether that be drunken cats or, in my case, a dwarf who struggles to find purpose in life. Your only role, then, is to see that story through.
  3. Dwarf Fortress is a long-term investment. Playing it is a skill that you need to hone, it requires research and planning. It’s almost a hobby in itself, demanding time and effort. Even in this much more approachable form, it still isn’t a game for everyone, but for a particular flavour of colony simmer, it’s catnip. It’s massive and messy and beautiful, and now I can put it down while I’m hyper-fixating on Star Wars or the next big Marvel drop, and not have to worry about starting over from scratch again when I come back to it later.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 190 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 20 out of 190
  1. Oct 23, 2011
    Dwarf fortress is a game about telling a fantastical story in an imaginary, abstract world, it is amazing and it covers a lot of things aboutDwarf fortress is a game about telling a fantastical story in an imaginary, abstract world, it is amazing and it covers a lot of things about fantastical in a tolkien like way, a lot of fun, you get 3 game modes, the fortress mode in which you embark your dwarves to settle wild lands and have amazing adventures and a horrible death, where you get controll of 5 dwarves and build a fortress as the number increases to up to 200 dwarves.

    you must get miners, farmers, soldiers, woodcrafters, stonecrafters, masons, cooks, brewers, tanners, leatherworkers up to around 73 proffesions, evry dwarf is unique and has a mood, likes and dislikes things, every dwarf in this game is a living, breathing (and breeding) living, this game mode issn't for lazy people, seriously, you MUST learn to play it, its not like other cheap pick up and play games, wich mike make it awkward for the regular gamer, but with time and love, everyone can learn to play it easily.

    After looking at fortress mode you can go on adventure mode, where you take controll of one character of the world in its adventures, this mode is incomplete, crappy, and difficult to play but yet, fun, its incredible how many people play it because as incomplete as it is, it is AMAZING.

    Also, you get legends mode, where you can see the story of your world, because when you generate a world you must know you are not playing a level, it is a world, when your fiirst fortress dies, the world will stay there, and you can visit it again right where you left it in adventure mode, or reclaim your fortress, or build a new one, because the world goes on.

    That feature, generating a real world has cautivated the hearts of millions of people, because your world itself is a story that advances with you.

    Now, the game has ASCII graphics, wich means its made with symbols and letters, at first this freaks out everyone, and i mean EVERYONE, you must pull yourself together and drop your lazyness off so you can learn to play, but as i said, with time, and love, you can play this game in 2 days, it is amazing, how
    " " " "
    " D " " " "
    becomes a dog standing on some grass, how meaningless symbols become tunnels, caves and mountains, this game is as famous as minecraft, only that it issn't so talked about.

    You will freak out a bit at the beggining, use the magmawiki to understand the symbols and you'll see how those triangles adn green things become bushes and hills, i strongly recommend you use captnduck's tutorial on youtube ;)
    Full Review »
  2. Apr 3, 2015
    One of the worst interfaces in gaming history.

    This game is pure hype, with too many people who never played it pretending like it is a
    One of the worst interfaces in gaming history.

    This game is pure hype, with too many people who never played it pretending like it is a masterpiece.

    If only there were more of a focus on the interface, it would be a better user experience.

    Nuff said.
    Full Review »
  3. Jul 6, 2011
    Dwarf Fortress is a game about stories. "Losing is fun." is the motto because of the many ways your dwarves will meet their demise; but all ofDwarf Fortress is a game about stories. "Losing is fun." is the motto because of the many ways your dwarves will meet their demise; but all of those ways will come with a story to tell.

    Dwarf Fortress has a steep learning curve and an enormous return on investment. You direct the actions of an initial 7 dwarves to establish a new fortress in a procedurally generated world of rich background and realistic landscape. As you strike the earth to find minerals and stone to make crafts and weapons from, you will encounter many challenges, create treasure troves, become a bustling center of trade, and fight off the hostile savages of the land (e.g. goblins, elephants, dragons, oh my!). Your fortress will grow to make clothes from plants and wool, raise livestock, create fantastic mechanical contraptions like pump stacks, danger rooms, gladiator pits, and hallways of death filled with traps. The only limit to your fun is your imagination.

    And when you want a break from your fortress, you can jump into Adventure mode and play a wandering hero, collecting followers, defeating epic beasts and terrorizing creatures of the night; all of this in the same rich world generated fresh and especially for you. Go from a peasant to a legendary hero in the same detail and variety as your fortress's experience.
    Full Review »