The stereotypical fantasy dwarf is short and hard, making Greedy Dwarf a pretty good representation of the real thing. It's sometimes hard, and it's very short.

The gameplay revolves around revolving. You play as the eponymous dwarf, barrelling down vast, magma-filled, predominantly cylindrical caverns in a minecart picking up as much gold as you can. The gimmick is that your little freewheeling cart can travel all the way around the inside of the cylinder.

Swiping left and right lets you steer, and tapping the screen with a second finger lets you jump. Using these simple controls you have to manoeuvre your way around spiralling outcrops, weave between islands of magma, or jump between islands of rock, sometimes swivelling the screen in mid-air. You pick up rockets to boost your speed and nuggets of gold to boost your score.

At certain points the camera swings around and you're viewing the action side-on, which always comes as a relief after the pressure of dealing with 360 degrees. Gravity-reversing pads send you to the top of the screen and invert your controls, and portals change the controls so that gravity is reversed whenever you jump.

There are also launch pads that fire you into the air, but these are infuriatingly unreliable - in many cases you'll trundle right over them and into the magma, with no idea what went wrong.


The range of effects is fairly limited, but it can be difficult to manage them while trying to negotiate the stages. This is partly down to the graphics, which don't always give you a clear idea of where the ground ends and the magma begins, meaning that you have to concentrate even when dealing with the default controls.

On the occasions that you're also dealing with the intuition-testing effects of gravity-reversal you have to draw on every reserve of concentration and calm just to survive, let alone to collect the gold - in fact, you'll pretty much ignore the gold, vowing to come back and get it on another attempt if you feel like being a completist. Fortunately, you don't need it to unlock stages.

When concentration fails you resort to incrementally advancing over series of attempts, learning each stage so that you can tackle it successfully on the next go.

Greedy Dwarf rarely strikes the right balance - either you cruise your way through first time, or you bull your way through after several tries. You master the stages, but not the game.


Once you've finished what you assume is the first world you'll slide the menu screen along to the next only to find a message: "Motivate the devs for more content!"

Sorry, but that's not how it works. Greedy Dwarf only has 32 levels, and I doubt any of them would take even a minute to complete if executed perfectly.

There are some stages that will detain you for a few minutes of retries, but you'll probably be able to finish the game within a couple of hours. The whole thing has the feel of a moderately generous demo that you pay for.

And if it were, would you bother to buy the rest of the game? Maybe. If the full version had more gameplay variety, more power-ups, more reliable launch pads, a smoother difficulty curve, and few different backdrops you just might take a gamble on it.

Unfortunately, this is the full version, and there simply isn't enough here to justify the asking price.