You can literally play for 2000 hours (yes 2000) hours of this game, over a year and a half, and not get bored of it. It's that good. You can create limitless amounts of new kingdoms with each new game, set difficulties, peaceful or not, metal/gem/coal resource abundance etc. There is much more than meets the eye of simple gfx and sound. After a while you figure out that if you want to build a stone temple, you have to dig a hole down and get stone, turn it into stone blocks (with workshops for each type of thing) and craft the blocks and tell the gnomes where to build. It's total freedom but with that comes the complexity of running your own little kingdom. Are you up to the challenge? It's like simcity or warcraft meets minecraft. For those that don't like FPS games or need a break from them, this is a great break. Actually... it is more like a black hole from which you won't want to escape. It is that fun. Oh, and development is constant. No fears as with some in-development games... the dev is at the ready and giving many new features on a consistent basis. Don't starve, die of thirst, or get killed by bears, or anything that spawns below level -7 (that is where monsters can spawn, at level -8 and below). Monsters also spawn on the surface but they are usually wild animals only. Occasionally, depending on difficulty you get goblin raids (not too rough at first, again depends on your settings), but after a while they can get pretty tough. You will have to grow your own food, or forage from the naturally occuring fruit trees, or clip and plant some more of your own to make sure you always have plenty of spare food.
Performance, for most this won't be an issue, though this game is entirely cpu-dependant ghz-wise. SINGLE CORE
Any relatively recent CPU will run this game on anything up to including a medium sized map, but for those that want to build on large or huge maps with many gnomes (40-50+) and mine deep, a pentium-anniversary edition OC'ed, i5k or i7k cpu is recommended. At 4.2ghz on an AMD FX will run a small or a medium kingdom up to 60 gnomes. On a 4.6ghz i7 4790k cpu a large and huge sized map will run well with the same amount of gnomes at a better frame rate. Older cpu's such as Athlon II's will incur stutter a bit when mining deeply (past -50 or -60 deep) when you have. A newer i5/i7 overclocked past 4.4ghz will pretty much let you build anything without too much framerate lagging associated with mature kingdoms. Don't let all my talk about performance scare you away, but this game is so awesome, you might just want to upgrade your computer if it's a few years old just to build more :) A fancy video card won't do you much justice with this game so if you video card isn't too recent don't worry a bit. Just give this game a shot. In it's current state, it rarely to almost never crashes, and with autosaves, you wouldn't lose much progress even if it did. It is feature-complete enough to surpass most other early-access (and some fully released) games.
This game, at it's price, is an absolute steal. The community on steam discussion forums here is very helpful if you have a question to ask or some hurdle you cannot overcome (expect to lose once or twice, or three times even when you first play, this is how you learn!). For those wanting to build more above ground instead of living in a hole in the ground I personally have made a simple gfx mod that adds windows to some of the game textures, you can look it up in the steam discussion forums under 'mods' for this game. Visit http://www.gnomoriawiki.com/
for help with various ambiguous parts of the game, and see youtube.com
for some (RECENT!) let's play videos. RECENT being the key. You want something from spring 2014 or newer since this pre-release game is still-a-changing. A demo of this game is available.
THIS GAME HAS NO BUILT IN TUTORIAL. EXPECT TO DO SOME READING ON THE WIKI (or on steam discussion forums) FOR HELP. I have been playing this game for almost 18 months, it's a vortex that sucks you in like no other, and if you need a game that you can just quick walk away from (to tend to the pets, or your kids, or do the wash) then this is the kind of game for you, things will still be (usually) where you left them.
New features added just this past month include AUTOMATONS! Yes! Gnome-cyborg-robot things that do the work for you! Prosthetic Limbs can now mend limpy gnomes back into action again.
Did the goblins attack your kingdom and now you're angry and want to throw a stone back at them? Do one better, have one of your gnomes hand-deliver 1000 Goblin-meat Sandwiches to the Goblin kingdom and watch the mayhem ensue!
Build a mud temple that Adam Ant would long to live in, a Stone temple or pyramid reminiscent of civilizations of yesteryear. ... or just a bunch of red brick townhomes that look like a gov't housing project! It's all up to YOU!
Combat is handled in the beginning with sticks, stones, logs, soon onto swords of various materials (yes, material each has different strenth), bronze, iron, and steel being the best options. Research can be done via Tinkering at a specific workshop to research various new technologies. Just a few are ranged weapons (bow and arrow, blunderbuss, pistol), prosthetic limbs, traps of various types, power-plant type devices to power mechanical walls, and now automatons.
You can (after researching) even build pumps to move water, make water, or move LAVA and make a volcanic eruption!
Water+Lava=Obsidian, a very very tough stone.
Basically, the skinny on all of this is, no matter what you want to build, if you like a game where the goal is only to survive and the rest is up to you, this is totally it. You are limited only by your brain, and ability to cope with situations that arise. A little bit of simcity, a little bit of warcraft (1 and 2), a whole lot of inspiration (admittedly so) from Dwarf Fortress... and new features all the time.
After you spend a few dozen hours figuring things out and getting yourself adjusted to this game, to peruse the discussion forums for cool kingdom seeds and figure out how to use the custom-map-generator in the game, With the right digits and a bit of trial and error you can have a map that's 40-50% water and easily surround your kingdom with a moat... or dig enough small holes on any map and eventually they'll fill with rain water and you can make it that way. This is what makes Gnomoria so fun...there is just so much to it. So deceptively simple, yet so deep. The combinations are endless. Smart Kings can also make their kingdoms self-sufficient to a point, or just wall in for total safety and stand atop the kingdom walls to watch the wild animals beat each other up. Either way, give it a shot, it's only a few bucks and what's a few bucks for what may very well be thousands of hours of fun.