Dorfromantik’s on Switch and I love it more than ever

In a weird way, I feel ever so slightly sorry for the team of students who made Dorfromantik. Call it Joseph Heller Syndrome: first time out and they've made a classic. Does that leave them confused? Fearful? I suspect not, and this is why I only feel ever so slightly sorry for the team. The bad news is they've made something that will be hard to top, but the good news is that they have made something that will be hard to top. They have brought happiness to hundreds of thousands of us around the world. That kind of feeling sticks around, I think.

I play Dorfromantik an awful lot. It's a hex-based tile game about making landscapes. You get a stack of tiles with little rivers, train tracks, forests, villages, grass or farmland on, and you plonk them down. Quests appear to connect certain amounts of a certain type of landscape, and these quests, once fulfilled, give you more tiles. Eventually, though, you run out. Game over. Defeat? Not really, because you've been making a landscape all this time, worrying about the details, and once you're out, the landscape is finished. You get to see the whole thing as if for the first time. You made that!

Dorfromantik has just landed on Switch, which explains why I'm doing what I'm doing at the moment. I'm trying to unlock the Midwinter biome. Biomes are unlockable prizes that give the landscape a certain colour scheme or vibe. Midwinter does what you'd expect it to: it makes it look like winter. But more than that it transports me to Christmas, and to the bookshelves where the Christmasest book of all time lives, John Masefield's The Box of Delights. Christmas in the countryside! Dorfromantik is the most Masefield game of all time when you're playing with Midwinter. You hover above the landscape, above the woods and fields and little copses. I feel a bit like Santa.

Read more