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Similarity & Review


Multiple Sources


Compared to VS. Not a review!

Similarity Scale

Percentage of possible points earned scored -1 to 1 in tenths in 60 categories

Genre Controls Modes Progress Builds Stages Content Aesthetic Vibe

Dwarf Fortress

Free Available Released

Extremely Different. A titan of gaming history and a personal recommendation to anyone on the planet, but while it is influenced by Rogue and has some surface traits in common it's So different that attempting to score it on these named categories is very hard. A long form rogue-Like where you manage many many characters. An interesting one, Included to test the scale. You may find some similar aspects of this game appealing, though! Don't mind my 378 play hours, that was all just one run so I haven't really seen much of the game. Note: We're scaling the base management mode, not the single character control Adventure.

Basebuilding Colony Sim Content Rich Real Time With Pause Roguelike Story Rich Survival
5.0 Combined Ranking Score
61/72 Ranking Position
1015/1600 Total Points
9.6 Final Review
95% Steam
9.3 Scale
10.0 Vibes
19980 Steam Reviews
388/400 Review Points
0.5 Similarity Score
52% Diagnosis:
Extremely Different
627/1200 Comparison Points
38% Genre -1.9/8 genre
14% Simple Controls -5/7 move
53% Survival Modes 0.2/4 modes
5% Power Progression -3.6/4 level
10% Buildcrafting Depth -4/5 build
86% Stage Features 5/7 stage
81% Content Breadth 5.5/9 stuff
92% Aesthetics 5/6 style
68% Gameplay Vibe Check 3.5/10 vibe vibe

Dwarf Fortress Ranking Notes

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Scaling and Review Notes

Personal Hours Played: 378.8

Every game ranked was played, but also scaled based on research, talking to developers & your feedback. The priority with the scale's initial design was to compare similarity on relatively objective features - so it doesn't claim to include reviews of the depth and clarity you'd get at a games journalism site, nor the intensive time played you might get from player reviews on steam. We try to incorporate and link all of that along with a 'review scale' that checks for bugs. See the heatmap and breakdown! Time played noted so you can take any notes with a big grain of salt! I can't get to high level gameplay in 850+ games so I heavily research every game. Over 80 game creators let me interview or survey them! I Hope to go back and refine. Please argue or submit your own scores and reviews to be incorporated with credit into the notes and score numbers.

Added or last checked on 10/23/2023

Now with a graphics inclusive version on Steam, Dwarf Fortress is inspired by classical Rogue-likes, but your permadeath possible "run" is managing a fortress with many characters instead of just one. Over the years the game has gained a lot of features that bring it more close to contemporary games than Rogue itself. The extreme differences in genre and control and mechanics makes it very hard to rate on our scale (which is designed to tease out subtle differences in very similar games) but it's interesting to test the scale. It is, after all, technically an "endless wave survival" game.

Mostly real time, but with a lot of optional pauses. For the movement section, we're counting all the various controls (there are many) for categories like "special moves" but there's no reflex "dodge", etc. DF doesn't have any victory conditions or set challenges, a huge difference. Nor does it let you chose how to level your characters, they progress themselves. Eventually, there are big hordes of enemy invaders, usually.

Worth noting the "Adventure" mode not reviewed here has both more in common with original Rogue and modern Rogue-lites.

This is an amazing game, but again we're mostly including it here to show how the scale is used and can be used for just about anything. There's more about it in the scoring guide, like many of the ones included to test and then demonstrate the scale.

And I guess it's here because I can't resist a chance to talk about Dwarf Fortress.

Dwarf Fortress Similarity Scale Heatmap

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Measured in 60 categories via likert-scale style options -1 to 1 in tenths, how does this game compare to Vampire Survivors. This allows 1200 total "points". It's easier to have a point of comparison and we just picked Vampire Survivors since it's the most popular and commonly referenced game in the subgenre. For detailed methodology read the explainer. For in depth examples at score value, see the scoring guide and for term definitions see the key.

0.5 Similarity Score
52% Diagnosis:
627/1200 Comparison Points
Rogue-lite 0.3/1
Auto-Fire / Auto-Battle 0.2/1
Real Time 0.5/1
Top Down or Isometric 1/1
Direct Control of Single Avatar -1/1
Arcade Style -0.9/1
Bullet Heaven A (Many Player Bullets) -1/1
Bullet Heaven B (Few Enemy Bullets) -1/1
One Handed Play (w Controller) -1/1
Move Only -1/1
No Dash 0/1
No Trigger -1/1
No Special Move -1/1
No Aiming -1/1
No On-Aim / On-Fire Movement Penalty 0/1
Timed / Boss Ended Survival -1/1
Endless Mode 1/1
Organic / Unannounced Waves 0/1
High Enemy Count (Horde) 0.2/1
Level Up on XP Gain Event -1/1
Streamlined Level Choices (Simple UI) -1/1
Currency Based Meta Unlocks -0.8/1
Goal Based Meta Unlocks -0.8/1
Build Crafting -1/1
Weapon Combination / "Evolution" -1/1
Interesting Item / Weapon / Ability Synergy -1/1
Broken / Invincible Builds Possible -1/1
Explorable Map 1/1
BIG Maps 1/1
XP on Ground 0.5/1
Health on Ground 0/1
Temp Powerups / Items on Ground 0.5/1
Treasure Chests and/or Loot Events 1/1
Vendor / Merchant on Run 1/1
Enemy Variety 1/1
Bosses / Elites 1/1
Many Interesting Characters 1/1
Many Challenges -1/1
Multiple Stages 1/1
Difficulty Modifiers 1/1
Bestiary / Lore 1/1
Achievements 0/1
Secrets 0.5/1
Retro / Pixel Art 1/1
Damage Numbers 0/1
Lofi Charm 1/1
Bumpin Music 1/1
Fun Writing 1/1
Subtle Humor 1/1
Panic & Zen Duo Vibe 0.5/1
Over the Top 0/1
"One More Run" / Short Runs -1/1
Difficulty Ramp 0/1
Fun Ramp 0/1
Low Price 0/1
Technical Check 1/1
Controls Check 1/1
Fun Check 1/1
Feels like VS -1/1

Dwarf Fortress Review Scale Heatmap

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The review scale is judged from -1 to 1 in 10 categories, with 200 possible "points" earned. Steam review positive percentage is worth another 100 points, and a "ten point" pure vibe review number adds extra subjectivity. Converted into points, that's 400 points total. The points aren't used directly in the ranking, though, which averages the three number scores for the final review score listed in the game line above.

9.6 Final Review
95% Positive Steam Reviews
19980 Steam Reviews
10.0 Pure Vibes
9.3 Review Scale
388/400 Review Points
Not Buggy 1/1
Not Janky 0.9/1
Good UI 0.9/1
Controller and Deck 0.5/1
Lots of Content 1/1
Good Theme 1/1
Good Graphics and Sound 1/1
Fun Feel 1/1
Unique Twists 1/1
Vibe Check 1/1

Metacritic Scores

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This title has metacritic data! The "fuck the man" score is adjusted so each person's review is equally weighted, regardless of critic or fan status.


9.3 Converted 10 Point Score
12 Number of Critic Reviews


8.5 User Review Average
242 Number of User Reviews


8.9 Direct Average
8.5 "Fuck The Man" Combined Mean

Dwarf Fortress Tag Cloud

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More sortable taxonomies and categories associated with the game (genre tags are available in the main game table line!) We've just started adding tags to enable more sorting options, this section will get more filled out as we go!

Release Tags

Directitch.ioLinuxSteam DeckWindows PCFree AvailableReleased

Sorting Categories

Extremely Different

Genre and Control Style Tags

BasebuildingColony SimContent RichReal Time With PauseRoguelikeStory RichSurvival

Aesthetic Tags

2DAsciiLofiPixel Art

Setting / Story Tags


Control Styles

Keyboard OnlyMouse Only

Game Mode Tags

Custom Mode/ScenarioEndless ModeSandboxSurvival CraftTraditional RoguelikeWave Survival

Features and Extras

SoundtrackSteam Workshop


Bay 12 GamesKitfox Games

Game Features

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Listing various features we've got info on.


  • Local: No
  • Online: No
  • Player Count: 1
  • Leaderboards: No

Steam Features

  • Steam Cloud: No
  • Steam Achievements: Planned
  • Steam Leaderboards: No
  • Steam Workshop: Yes
  • Steam Trading Cards: No

Extras, Etc.

  • NSFW: No
  • Demo Available: Yes
  • DLC Available: No
  • Soundtrack Available: Steam Bandcamp YouTube Spotify Soundcloud Amazon Apple

Marketing Blurb

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Some description of the game and its features from the creators.

"The deepest, most intricate simulation of a world that's ever been created. The legendary Dwarf Fortress is now on Steam. Build a fortress and try to help your dwarves survive against a deeply generated world."

"In this complex construction/management/roguelike simulation, every generated world brings a unique challenge, whether it’s dwarves with their own simulated personalities or aquifers."

"One of the first video games acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York" "The original inspiration for RimWorld, Prison Architect, Minecraft and more."

Control Style Notes

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Game is presented as a top down management sim, similar to later games like Rimworld, and not with direct control of a player avatar.

Classic DF was entirely keyboard based, but the steam version has mouse support baked in. Experienced players know many hotkeys and ways to navigate many menus quickly.

It's now possible to mostly play with mouse for long periods, or just use keyboard to move the camera around.

Automated Features

To a great degree in DF the action is carried out by orders issued to your population, which sometimes they treat more like suggestions. You can tell them to attack an enemy, but it might be more common to tell them to patrol an area, and so on.

There's no way to directly attack an enemy or manipulate anything, you can only give orders and set the priority for them.

Supported Controls

  • Controller: No
  • Controller Move Only: No
  • Controller One Handed: No
  • Mouse Only: Yes
  • Keyboard Only: Yes
  • Keyboard One Handed: No

Game Modes

- +

Endless Survival
Custom Scenario
Sandbox Survival Craft
("Fortress Mode")

Traditional Roguelike
("Adventure Mode")

Game Mode Notes

The primary mode is a roguelike colony sim, with a great deal of procedural generation for your world and maps.

There is no win condition, you simply want to build a civilization and survive as long as possible. Default settings will throw increasingly dire waves of invaders and dangerous monsters at you, as well as many emergent challenges.

There is an absolutely incredible amount of customization available before generating a world and starting a scenario, customization many times still available in the menus even after you've embarked and started your perhaps hundreds of hours in your "run."

It's possible to play completely peacefully, but there will always be risks to your population. Further customization is available with mods and dfhack.

Run Times & Speedups

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Average Run Time:

Run Time Notes

You can manage a single fortress essentially "forever", except likely at some point your computer and the game won't be able to handle the size and complexity of your save file and current concurrent interactions.

Once it dies, you can start another fort in the same world or an adventure playthrough from any saves. Functionally the game is as "endless" as any game, but many people consider the end of a fortress the end of a story, closing the pages on that world in favor of the next epic "run."

My longest living fort was 400 hours of person time, many generations of dwarves. (Actually, I'd modded myself a kobold fortress.)

Speed Settings

Mostly "real time with pause", there is also a great degree of freedom overclock speed. The game works through frames, so limiting your FPS to 1 or 2 frames greatly slows down the time. Of course, my computer could only do 7 FPS max at the end with my fort.

This isn't actually the graphical refresh rate, it's the amount of frames the game is generating for you to see.

Player Power Progression

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Detailed notes on progression systems.

In Run Progression

There are no skill trees or level up dialogs for individual members of your fort, but they do increase in skill and opinion of things in many many different ways. Much of the mystery and appeal of Dwarf Fortress is figuring out how to increase the overall prosperity of your Fort and skill of your citizens without much in the way of set goals or information about what would do what next.

It's about as complex a system as you could possibly get in a game, but it also doesn't force decisions in a classical sense so it's easy to just end up watching how things hash out and crossing your fingers. While you can spend a long time simply building a lovely fort.

Meta Progression

Dwarf Fortress in its most "pure" style according to many is a true roguelike, with the history of the world unique and death permanent, all drillable down to a turn based system in "adventure mode".

However, DF has many features that may feel similar to metaprogression. When everyone at your fortress dies, you can start another in the same world or even reclaim it with a new set of settlers. You can play adventure mode by importing an old fortress save. There's no way to have 'advancement' that unlocks for a new world, all options are there when generating. But death is perhaps not the end of your story.