Review: Dorformantik (Nintendo Switch)

Dorfromantik is another example of a chill game that really just wants you to chill. Sure, the game is about building a landscape and thinking things through. In the end, it just wants you to take your time, chill out, and just enjoy yourself. It’s the type of game that fits perfectly on Nintendo Switch. Want to pick it up for a quick, 20 minute play session? Perfect, Dorfomantik fits that small play time. What about hours-on-end sessions? Dorfomantik totally fits this play style, too. It’s that rare combo that makes Dorfromantik a blast to play, even if the Switch port has less than ideal controls. 

The gameplay of Dorfromantik is simple puzzle construction done in a beautiful way. You have a hexagonal grid and a stack of hexagonal tiles to fit together. They can have a mixture of woods, houses, plains, fields, and other things on any of their six sides. Your goal is to match the same side with the same side. For those familiar with the Civilization franchise, think of that game except instead of detailed number crunching, it’s a jigsaw puzzle that needs a piece to slide into the right place. As the game continues, this element becomes more complex and makes you question if that hexagon piece fits all the sides it’s now touching.

This simplicity of Dorfromantik hides a much deeper and fun set of interesting things to do and create. Sometimes you get a small mission that nets you extra points, such as building a forest next to more forest tiles and thus giving you a certain size forest area. Other times, you simply focus on matching up the rest of your tiles and earning points from your creation. It’s really up to you how you play it, although the small missions definitely make you rethink how you go about playing. This keeps you playing even more because, come on, you’ve got to top your previous high-score.

The presentation in Dorfromantik is also top notch, with your world growing as you progress through the game. Different colored land, autumn trees, forests, lakes, and more keep everything visually impressive. At first, your world will be small and visually the same. Yet, once you really get going and your world expands, the land is really quite beautiful.

The only major issue comes with the Switch version itself. It performs pretty great, but the Joy-Con isn’t the ideal controller scheme. You rotate the camera with the d-pad and the tiles with the triggers. If we are being completely honest, this should be the other way around. The camera should be mapped to the triggers and the tiles should be a press on the d-pad. There’s also no easy way to jump to the tile that the camera is hovering over without using the touchscreen. There should be a button you can press to jump to where you’re currently looking to put down a tile. Even if this was the default control scheme, I could forgive this IF there was a way to customize the controls…except there isn’t.

Dorfromantik is a unique puzzle game that people looking for a chill experience should check out. Yes, it has some weird control scheme decisions that take away from the fun, relaxed experience. That said, Dorfomantik does what every good puzzle game should do: offers smart simplicity. It’s a simple to understand but increasingly challenging game that people must check out. It’s a relaxing game for people looking for a chill experience and honestly, it’s a refreshing change people should enjoy.

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