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Gnomoria Preview

A first glance at Gnomoria reveals a colourful map and absolutely no instruction of what to do or where to go. This could quite easily be enough to put you off trying it, but in actuality there is a substantial game being developed here by Robotronic Games, and it should not be quickly discarded.

If you are a fan of Minecraft or Theme Hospital then this will probably appeal to you as you are most likely already used to having chunks of time eaten away from your life. Gnomoria is heralded as “a sandbox village management game”, and it is exactly that.

You start a game by generating a map, which you can either choose to tailor to your tastes, or you can just throw the leaves of fate to the wind and let them land where they please by leaving it randomised. You are then given a chunk of land which again, like Minecraft, has many layers, and each layer can be played around with.

You might decide to mine into the mountainside to create a cozy home for your hard-working gnomes, or perhaps that forest of trees would be better felled and redesignated as a pasture for some yaks or alpacas. There are endless possibilities, and whilst that can be a little intimidating at the beginning, it unfolds to provide quite a complex little system.

Graphically the game is very basic, and reminds me of something that you would maybe expect to see on a DS, (like Harvest Moon) but on a larger scale. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as in-depth, system-demanding graphics would feel misplaced here, because the enjoyment comes from the journey to creation, rather than say admiring the reflective qualities of a nearby lake.

Whilst the controls are a little clunky and could do with a few tweaks to improve smoothness; like adding a mousewheel function to zoom out, or even a minimap to keep track of where you are in your kingdom, they get the job done. Of course it is also worth remembering that the game is still in Alpha, and by no means a 100% finished product.

There is only one part of Gnomoria that begs a fairly harsh judgement, and that is the music, if you can even call it that. It truly is so bad that it was turned off after a matter of seconds due to being so completely unbearable. It is better to mute the music entirely and plop your own tracks on in the background, and I sincerely hope that Robotronic Games rethink the sound in this case as it does not do the game justice. Of course if you are a fan of 8bit music, then you may enjoy!

Gnomoria has the potential to become absolutely huge, with regards to additional content, and the developers plan on “offering free updates well after the release”, which is great. Fans of sandbox-style games will happily spend hours on this, farming crops, mining coal to fuel the fires cooking the food, and I can see this ensnaring quite the cult following. Plus there are gnomes- who doesn’t love them?

Emseypenguin | 16th April, 2013

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