lil review: Towns

  • Platform: PC
  • Developer: SMP
  • Publisher: SMP
  • Release Date: November 7, 2012
  • Price: $14.99
  • Official: Towns

“Sim City: With a twist”

While Towns doesn’t bring anything new to the gaming world, it does take some very cool features from several games and combines them all into one complete package, allowing you to control/build a town that houses several visiting heroes.  Your primary objective in Towns is to build a settlement that grows in population, build houses, produce food, create armor/weapons (magical) and defend the town, leaving your heroes to explore the dungeons below their feet. Towns heavily draws inspiration from games like Diablo, Dungeon Keeper and Dwarf Fortress to name a few. As a typical strategy game you start with a limited amount of workers, and how you play is entirely up to your heart’s content. Gathering apples, wood, stone, and wheat you move dirt around to start the foundation of your city as you pray a siege doesn’t take place and wipe your population before you even get established. (More on sieges later)

Every building option and zone is available to you at the start of the game. Placing your zoning *which is self-explanatory* (Carpentry, Masonry, Bakery, Dining Room, Forge, Personal Rooms, Kitchen,  Hospital, Atelier (cloth and leather), Arena, Balcony, Tavern, Tavern Rooms, Market, Barracks) Leaves you with quite a few options on how you would like to set up your town. *Tip: Place farms and wheat next to bakery and kitchen for faster producing times.* You will want to use all of these, as the items you can create require carpentry benches and a wood detailer to create wood items, along with Masons bench and Masons burner to craft buildings and items out of stone. Each will be on the set zone you create (does not cost or take build time to lay a zone.) Once you are gathering and harvesting wheat to make ends meat (in this case bread. A lot of bread, double or triple the amount of townies is recommended), you will need to set up personal rooms for each townie you have as well as build some extras to hopefully bring travelers to your newly formed abode.  Before being eager to explore the vast majority of the top world, I would suggest building a tavern with some tavern rooms attached, this will welcome heroes to your town, which you will need to explore the world below.

Heroes play a major role in bringing the RPG aspect to Towns, as they take care of most of the dirty work for your town. If you have not dug underground, they will wander off and explore the top of your map, killing ferocious “Frogies” and defending your town from siege attacks. (Siege attacks are random. They happen not so often, but as you work your way farther down and build a higher population they are more frequent.) You cannot control heroes; however they are implementing quests for them. As for now they are awesome tanks that clear dungeons in a matter of days so your townies can gather the loot and bring them up to the surface. Among these items are magical LTE items you can use to craft magical armor or weapons for your soldiers or towns people to help defend from sieges when your heroes are 5 stories below the surface.  Along with bones and random rare drops, (sorry no gold coins yet!)  Setting up a market will allow different caravans to randomly head to your town so you can sell any random useless junk you may have, or trade for any items you need.

Townies are hard to keep pleased. You will spend a lot of your time picking up items, building, and keeping the food stocked. And hell they still might die when you have the food stocked from just being overworked. No need to fear however, another great addition they are adding due to feedback is a job list. This will assign certain townies to focus on one or two jobs only. With this comes a level system allowing you to cook /make better foods and armor. You will need things like a market, personal rooms, balconies and arena’s as well as crafted items in homes and buildings to keep your townies happy while they are working. Best thing is to let them idle after a project or two, to bring in new townies.

Towns offers some really cool features that I have not mentioned yet, one being adding a roof to a building increases productivity to 35%, great for cutting stone, wood and making food. Also building roads will increase their movement speed by 35%, while at the moment they do not fully stick to the awesome road plan, the perks for mapping them out are in effect. Another good feature is the priority list, which allows you to semi-control what tasks take priority in the daily fight for survival. Whether this is baking/cooking, hauling goods, chopping trees/tiling grass, construction jobs, item creation, butchering, mining/digging and gathering/harvesting. *please note when hauling is top priority one item is gapped every 8 turns.* Towns also allows you to set your people as soldiers, with this comes two different options. You can make them boss around other townies, or set them as a patrol unit around your town or an entrance of a dungeon. You can also assign them to a group which comes in handy with 100 or more townies. Unlike heroes, you have the ability to equip townies with items and armor that the hero doesn’t need. This will be very handy when you set sieges to a higher difficulty, and your soldiers are nowhere in sight.

All in all towns is a very promising beta for a game being developed by two (formally three, lost graphics designer) people. The community is active with mods and improvements, as well as being very helpful if you have any questions or suggestions. Developers do read comments and even respond, as well as try and implement your ideas to the game if they did not think of it themselves. Being featured on Steams “Greenlight” opened the doors to an even bigger community, with floods of complaints and problems. One thing you should keep in mind, this is a beta game with great promise. Even great games with multiple programmers like “Skyrim” have bugs. I urge you to be patient and relax, kick back and survive a couple of years in Towns. You will not regret the experience of seeing what it takes to run the Town that houses the visiting hero. -Nick

lil Rundown

  • + Superb Community / Mods
  • + Great mix of elements from different games in to one package
  • + Replay value
  • – Lack of control for NPC’s (for now)
  • – Mildly slow updates

Final Score

8.5 / 10

“Great”

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