Tag: City builder »
When you first start playing Build Away! - Idle City Builder, it isn't much different from other tap and swipe games that came before it. You collect coins often, decide when to spend them to make more coins faster, occasionally add another coin-generating location, and eventually end up with sums of virtual money that require scientific notation to properly track.
But Futureplay has added real builder elements to Build Away too, and while no one is going to be confusing it with SimCity,it behooves you to make sure your city has better buildings than the Old Shack and Street House you unlock within the first few minutes of gameplay.
My Country 3D is an upcoming city builder from Game Insight that looks pretty decent - although the name seems a tad out of whack for a city builder. Ah well, it is what it is.
A few months ago, I took a look at 1849 from SomaSim. This Gold Rush-themed city builder for iPad had a fair bit going for it, but lacked in a few crucial areas to make it a true stand-out on the App Store. SomaSim has since added in a sandbox mode, and just last week the first content expansion, entitled Nevada Silver, went live.
Set in the wake of the discovery of major silver deposits that came to be known as the Comstock Lode, the expansion shifts focus eastward into the mountains and hills of Nevada. Available via in-app purchase for $1.99, a campaign of six new cities awaits returning prospectors, as well as a sandbox mode for the Nevada mapset.
The core of 1849 hasn’t changed with the coming of Nevada Silver, but it has thrown a few small tweaks into the mix. The trading interface, for instance, is now governed by the comings and goings of the railroad. Trains arrive in the player’s town on a regular schedule from nearby settlements, each of which is looking to buy and sell specific goods. Each train has a set number of cargo slots and while they can be switched up at any time, only a set amount of goods can flow in or out during each visit. It adds a pacing to the buildup of resources that can make seemingly innocuous tasks like “Sell 300 silver to Carson City” take forever when you can only send out three 15 unit loads per visit. And since almost all of the mission objectives in 1849: Nevada Silver require some degree of buying or selling goods, players will need to get familiar and comfortable with the rail trading system pretty quickly.
While it isn’t a part of the expansion per se, the sandbox mode bears mention as it is one of the issues I touched on the game needing during my initial review. Players pick a location for their settlement on the map, which generates size, resources, and the like based on data of the geography of the region they picked. The plot sizes run from “Large” to “Huge” to “Boundless,” which is, contrary to the name, quite bounded. Admittedly, the boundary is fully to the edges of the game’s visual layout, which is a fair sight larger than the maps one encounters in the missions, but it’s still constrained - I would assume due to some sort of technical limitations.
And speaking of technical issues, why on Earth are the tree textures still super-blurry when I zoom in to the game’s tightest camera setting? I know it’s not early onset glaucoma on my part, as everything else is still crisp and clean. It just seems very odd to leave something like this unfixed for a game that’s iPad only, where you know players are going to notice every flaw in your visuals.
The new content in Nevada Silver will take a few hours to get through (mainly due to the whims of the train-based trade economy mentioned above) and if you truly enjoyed the gameplay of the original 1849 then you’ll clearly have a good time with it. I felt the iteration and additions, while welcome, were too minor to substantially change my feelings on the product as a whole. It continues, as before, to teeter on the edge of being truly compelling, without ever fully making the plunge.
Described as the "biggest update in Clash history" by its developer, the update adds no-risk clan wars with bonus loot, and clan castle renovation.
We had an opportunity to review the game a while back. Clash of Clans is available for free (with optional in-app purchases) on the App Store.
SomaSim's 1849 is a sim about the California Gold Rush in the same vein as older objective-driven simulations and city builders. It's also got a surprising amount of puzzle-like elements as you'll quickly find yourself trying to figure out the best way to make use of the limited space you're given.
The core idea behind 1849 is balance. You need to mine gold and other precious metals to earn money. You also need food and lodgings for your citizens and workers or else they'll abandon ship in a heartbeat. But in order to do that, you'll also have to make sure to provide other amenities such as schools and access to a saloon to keep the citizens of your ever-growing city happy. The catch is that every city (of which there are 20, each with their own overarching goals to complete) has a limit to how far it can expand. So in order to create a successful self-sustaining city you'll have to pay close attention to where you place what buildings and how many you construct.
SomaSim is aiming for an early May release. A specific price point hasn't been locked-in yet, but 1849 will be priced at a premium and offer additional content packs in the future.
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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I’m just going to say it: Fantasy Quest has a slow burn to it. Not that it’s bad once things pick up, but until it reaches that point it can be a fairly significant grind. And not the fun sort of grind, either. Thankfully once players get past that initial roadblock they’ll find a free-to-play kingdom building RPG that isn’t all that easy to put down.
Fantasy Quest is essentially two kinds of free-to-play games in one. There’s the town building with all the expectant tax collection and land expansion, and the energy-reliant RPG-ing with a number of different characters and quests. Both feed into each other, of course, with buildings created in town effecting what characters can be hired for a team and goods earned from slaying goblins and such necessary for expanding the town. It’s all fairly simple in practice but there’s also has a sort of refined elegance to the way each aspect plays off of the other, as well as how they’re both very accessible without being mindless.
The kingdom building aspects are mostly typical of a lot of free-to-play games these days with the exception of being able to raid other players’ settlements. Not that this is a new idea, but the way it’s implemented is pretty clever: stamina is needed to attack specific buildings and each hit (damage determined by the questing team, surrounding buildings, etc) coughs up various resources, including Valor that acts as a kind of special currency. What I find refreshing about it is the fact that being raided doesn’t incite rage. Sure I might lose a few coins, but I hardly lose enough to get mad over and raiding other players can more than make up for lost income.
The actual RPG-like quests can be entertaining as well, although they don’t really pick up until after a third party member is acquired. It can be incredibly slow going at first but once that threshold is passed players will find themselves with a competent group of adventurers, each with their own sets of equipment to manage and special skills to learn. It’s a little unfortunate that there isn’t a larger selection of basic units (only one of each type can be bought with non-premium currency) but it isn’t exactly a game breaking detail. A more significant (and literally game breaking) problem is the occasional crash or server hang-up while in the middle of a fight. Again, not so bad when all that’s really lost is a little time and some energy that replenishes at a fairly generous rate, but it can still be irritating.
Fantasy Quest feels a bit like a slow “me too” kind of fantasy freemium game at first, but it really does come into its own once players progress past the intro phase. It’s definitely a good time so long as one has the patience.
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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What’s this? An entire kingdom I can run on my iPhone? Egads! Yeah, I know, but Tiny Kingdom actually does a pretty impressive job of combining more “hardcore” free-to-play elements with an accessible and even casual-friendly approach. I’d even call it a worthwhile gateway game into more sim-heavy freemium titles.
Tiny Kingdom should feel familiar with anyone who’s dabbled in more advanced sim-style free-to-play games. There are a number of buildings to construct and upgrade in order to earn more resources, special hero units to hire and individually level-up, smaller soldier units to train en masse and assign to said heroes, etc. For the uninitiated it’s essentially like a simplified medieval strategy game but with a little more micro management that one might expect and a bit less of a focus on combat. At least initially.
One of the things that always turned me off to more complex free-to-play sims is the visuals. Not to say that they looked “bad,” just that the screen tended to get crowded with tiny buildings very quickly and became confusing to look at. Not so with Tiny Kingdom. The city screen is colorful, all of the structures are called out in an easily identifiable manner, and multiple buildings such as barracks and mines are all clustered together as one. Tapping on the mine will bring up the screen with all the individual mines to manage, but not having every single one represented on the main screen takes a huge load off my eyes. Having a build queue tab is also incredibly nice as it can show players exactly what is being constructed, how much time is left, and how many free construction slots they still have left. All at a glance.
Despite being far more user-friendly than a number of similar titles, Tiny Kingdom still misses a few details. The tutorial is relatively brief, which is nice, but it doesn’t fully explain everything. In fact, almost half of the city’s buildings (the World Mine, City Wall, War of Valor, etc) aren’t explained at all. They can be figured out for the most part but not having even the slightest clue how to utilize them at first can be a bit awkward. A more significant issue is the way information is displayed in the menus. For one thing there’s no unit cap display, so there’s no easy way of knowing how many units a given hero can take on. A lot of it is also purely text and numbers which makes telling exactly what resource might be needed for a given project incredibly hard to figure out at a glance. Plus it’s impersonal.
Tiny Kingdom is still very much a fun and accessible freemium sim. It’s definitely easier to get into than many of its peers, just not quite as much as I’d have hoped. Still, it’s certainly worth a look.