Take the depth of Dwarf Fortress, add a bunch of lazy mages and update the interface to modern standards? That's Mage Tower in a nutshell. We're building something really ambitious - a world that you can build to your own whim, while carefully balancing resources, knowledge, and external threats.
This is currently the shell of a game (even for Desura). At the moment, it is only a construction sim, and a buggy one at that. Additionally, updates are slow to appear (1-2 month interval).
Gnomoria is much more polished and selling for less. Additionally, the pace of updates is much quicker (new patch every Tuesday; rarely skips a week, but delivers a larger patch the next week if he does). If you're looking to invest in a DF style management game, Gnomoria's return is much higher at this time.
This is in early alpha, I know this. I supported it since it has potential. After trying it I still think this. BUT it is an alpha after all. No options menu (in game) to speak of. BAD UI graphics, which does not not scale very well at all. The outer bounderies which detect scrolling are not far out enough. So the map scrolls simply by trying to access the UI parts on the screen.
I guess most things are place holders. Not much of animation on anything. The small guys simply float around.
Most things in the game is only semi working. Not much to do at all. At best one could argue that this is only a prototype. So do NOT put in any money you can not afford. This is as far as I see it a borderline case.
The model of "Alpha funding" should really be transformed into "beta funding" in order for it to be worth anything. There are exceptions but they are few and far between. Even Minecraft had more function when it was released as alpha. So keep this in mind!
No development updates or new builds have been seen since January 2013.
In its current state this "game" is missing all of the promised depth of dwarf fortress, only to hand you a stack of bricks as a distraction, while developer runs off into the sunset.
Do NOT buy, unless you think Duke Nukem Forever was worth the wait.
Three months since the last update and not even a blog post in the meantime? It's misleading to keep selling this as an alpha when it's clearly been abandoned, as its certainly not worth the asking price in its current state and that seems to be all you're getting.
I know development takes time but once you start charging for your alpha, you have a responsibility to communicate with your players occasionally.