Dorfromantik review – gentle elegance from a deceptively challenging village builder

Dorfromantik is still currently in early access, though as it stands its core features are intact and there’s more than enough on offer for us to provide a full review.

Dorfromantik is a journey. Even 45 hours later (a shared tally because I’m not the only one in my household besotted with it) I still discover new things about it, about how it really works. And I would never have known it to look at it. To see it for the first time is to see a game so absurdly simple, and gentle, it seems strange it has scores at all. A game about placing hexagonal tiles with little houses and trees and fields on, and creating a miniature rural idyll. But make no mistake, those scores matter, and behind that beguiling simplicity is a surprisingly challenging puzzle game.

It works like this. You place tiles one at a time, rotating them and connecting them to other tiles, trying to match the things you see on them: rivers, trees, houses, rails and fields. And if you can match a certain number of them, specified by a kind of quest tile, you will get a green tick, a xylophonic “pling!” of success, and – most importantly – more tiles. Each tile you place, depending on how you place it, scores you more points, so the more tiles you have to place, the more points you will earn. Simple.

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