Dwarrows DevLog #6

Metroidvania-ness of Dwarrows

If you’ve been following this project or blog, you’ll know that Dwarrows’ gameplay is a mix of town-building and adventure. The player’s objective is to build a town while exploring the land surrounding it to gather resources and treasure to better the town.

We’ve covered some aspects of the adventure-side of Dwarrows, such as dungeons and resource gathering, but there is one element of gameplay that I haven’t written much about on social media that I am really excited about: the metroidvania-ness. Since this is a DevLog, I am going to assume that you are a developer and you know what a metroid-vania is. If by chance, you do not: you can get up to speed with this helpful youtube video.

So, knowing that Dwarrows is a peaceful game and that we probably aren’t going to be receiving power-ups to fight enemies, what exactly are we borrowing from the genre?

Environmental Barriers

One of my favourite puzzling obstacles are the kinds that you discover, attempt everything you have in your arsenal and then leave, to one day later down the road: find the power/item/info that you need to get through the barrier.

I think most gamers know exactly what item they need to find for the barrier in this first image.Dwarrows_MV_01

For me, it was always exciting when I discovered a tool in the game and then suddenly realized I have been seeing barriers and seemingly unsolvable puzzles that use that tool all over the world.

Dwarrows_MV_02It usually feels like gaining a super-power because suddenly, lots of unreachable places and goodies are easily accessible.

Dwarrows_MV_03We’re planning to have most items, dungeons, and areas only reachable once you’ve gained the appropriate item or ability.


The metroidvania-ness isn’t limited to the classic adventuring. There are entire structure types and town functionality for the town-building side of things that will only be accessible from discovered items.

For example,the player won’t be able to curb the pollution in their town without first finding a blueprint for a structure that improves environment. Once they find the type, they can attempt to create new combinations at the drafting table and place the structures around the town to reduce pollution and keep the townsfolk happy. Typically, the unique blueprints can be found from adventuring and exploring, similar to the items and abilities that help you explore the environment.


To conclude, our aim with this gameplay is to help add an element of mystery and surprise to both the town-building and the environment. Players will encounter barriers in gameplay and hopefully they will start imagining the ways in which they could overcome them, and upon finding new items, perhaps they will start thinking about all of the places they can go back and use them.

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