Review of Dorfromantik in 3 minutes
Dorfromantik is a relaxing tile placement game by Toukana Interactive which works more or less like a single-player board game.
Each deck is presented to you with the top tile of a tile deck, which you can place almost anywhere next to an existing tile. However, connecting edges of tiles of the same type will earn more points, and some tiles will have quests to connect a certain number of similar tiles to its group in exchange for more tiles. The effect is that each tile slot is a small part of a larger puzzle. You can search for a place where all sides of the tile match, or place it where it will help you complete a quest and extend your game, or both.
There are a handful of different tile edges, including relaxing countryside staples like trees, fields, houses, and waterways. During a game you will create picturesque towns, rivers, forests and farms depicted with sweet and charming graphics. The tiles make a little noise when placed and bump the tiles around them, and there are just enough moving parts on the tiles to avoid looking static. The music is equally smooth, and the game nails its relaxing, zen aesthetic.
Achieving a high score is still one of the main objectives in the classic mode of Dorfromantik, and your enjoyment of the game will largely depend on your feelings about the scoring mechanism. If you find no pleasure in increasing your score in a single-player game, you are left with the game’s few other rewards.
As you play, you’ll unlock challenges and new tile skins that will look pretty and increase visual variety. Challenges are always listed on screen and track your long-term or individual game performance. One might ask you to create a train route with at least 25 tracks, and another might ask you to place 2,000 tiles across all sets.
You can unlock additional challenges by completing special quests found on hidden tiles around the edges of the board. But overall, you need to be motivated to complete these challenges, as they only award a new tile skin or a Steam achievement, neither of which affects core gameplay. It’s something to achieve, but once you get there, there’s just another arbitrary obstacle besides the same gameplay.
My main problem with Dorfromantik That’s the same reason I like it: it’s exactly what you expect.
There’s an inherent joy in placing tiles where you see fit and watching a nice little tableau take shape. You can wonder for hours about the best placement, but it’s more fun to do what feels right and keep the tiles coming. There are no worthwhile extrinsic rewards, so play however you find the most fun for as long as you feel like it – then quit. But the lack of unlocks means the game never gets more complicated or deep. It’s exactly what you expect, again and again.
There’s Hard Mode, which gives fewer quests and more complex tiles, Quick Mode, where you aim for a high score with a limited number of tiles, and Creative Mode, where you can discard the tiles and Place as many as you want for fun. None of these modes fundamentally change the game, with the exception of Creative Mode, which can appeal to different types of players. There was also a monthly mode that wasn’t unlocked in the preview I played, and there were a few visual glitches that seem likely to be quickly fixed.
If you want a deep, ever-expanding game where you’ll have endless fun, this game might disappoint you with its tightly contained ambitions. However, if you like the sound of a relaxing tile placement game with a simple set of mechanics that you can enjoy every now and then, Dorfromantik will not disappoint you.
Dorfromantik will be released on PC on April 28 for $13.99 with a 30% discount during launch week.
Watch the review in 3 minutes to Dorfromantik.