I picked up Dorfromantik the other day after Eurogamer gave it an Essential review. And it hasn’t disappointed. The work of four German students, Dorfromantik (which roughly translates as ‘village romance’) bears striking similarities to the board game Carcassonne, but with a few clever twists.
Like the board game, the aim is to match up tiles with similar edges, joining houses to houses, forests to forests, fields to fields, and so on. You get more points for matching a tile perfectly with the ones surrounding it, with the main aim being to beat your high score before you run out of tiles. Your stack of tiles is shown in the bottom right, and some of them come with little quests to complete, like, say, placing 14 house tiles together. If you complete these quests, you get more tiles and so can extend your run further and further.
One neat aspect is that as you extend your tiny rural empire, you’ll come across special unique tiles out in the surrounding white expanse, like watchtowers or windmills. If you complete the quests attached to these tiles, you’ll unlock them for your next run, giving you an incentive to keep extending your village and keep coming back for more.
I’ve been playing Dorfromantik for about four and half hours, and I’ve found it utterly absorbing and wonderfully soothing. There’s no conflict – there isn’t even a time limit – and it’s blissful to lose yourself in this rural idyll for hours at a time. It may only be in Early Access on Steam, but Dorfromantik already feels perfectly polished – and is highly recommended. It’s just a shame that it’s only on PC for now, because it would be utterly perfect for the Switch. Hopefully a Switch port will just be a matter of time though, because I’ve no doubt Dorfromantik will be a huge success.