“Towns” advertises itself as a game that tasks you with building a town for passing heroes to stop at, heal their wounds, equip new armor and weapons, and set out into the depths once more. I personally like that idea…a “sim-RPG-city” if you will. I got some mileage out of the “Majesty” series (a similar game) but stopped playing “Majesty 2” because of its unrelenting difficulty curve. I had to wonder what “Towns” would bring to the starved city-building genre. Before I get started, I’d like to thank Xavi Canal for sending me a free review copy.
The main menu allows you to play the game or set game options. The options cover your basics in that there are toggles for fullscreen mode, sound, and music. Starting a new game gives you the option to try the tutorials or play in one of the sandbox maps. There aren’t any campaigns or levels to guide your progression, save for the tutorials. The tutorials themselves cover your basics as well, but don’t fill you in on everything you need to know. In the tutorials, I learned how to chop wood, harvest, grow wheat and make bread, dig, make armor, designate rooms, create stockpiles, and fight spiders.
Unfortunately, that’s where the tutorials stop. My first few minutes in the sandbox map consisted of my villagers getting injured by carnivorous plants and getting slaughtered after digging for stone as I had been taught in the tutorial. While the tutorials covered how to do some of the basic tasks, it doesn’t tell you why and how it relates to the big picture. It’s like trying to build a car without knowing what a car is supposed to do and how it functions. What I do find interesting is that as you create finished goods like armor and weapons, you can assign them to your villagers and instruct them to become soldiers. I also like the fact that you can tell them what items to wear and what weapons to equip. In combat against other creatures, having these armors and weapons will assist them in staying alive.
The sandbox mode starts you out on a map with about a dozen people to watch over. You can tell them to go chop wood or harvest wheat, and they’ll merrily go about doing it without question. The interface is broken up into menus on the top, bottom, left, and right sides of the screen. The left menu allows you to control the production of final products like armor, weapons, and food, giving you the ability to auto-produce items as long as there are materials available or make production of a good a one time deal. The bottom menu lets you assign work actions like harvesting and chopping wood. The right menu lets you build items, so as long as you have the resources and prerequisite buildings to do so, and the top menu allows you to see information about your town and its villagers.
While I have no doubt that the game offers more, it doesn’t tell me how to access it. In my opinion, the game isn’t finished yet. There needs to be more instruction as to how to progress and build your town into something you can be proud of. If it was by design that the game remain mysterious in how to go about progressing, then I’m not sure I’d be able to continue playing it. If the designers of the game intend to add more features and more tutorials in the future, I’ll probably come back to it. As of right now, the game isn’t very user-friendly and thus not very fun to play. Keep in mind that this is MY opinion…some of you may enjoy tinkering without an instruction manual. I enjoy playing Minecraft and Terraria but get annoyed when I don’t know what to do next. I have a feeling that this is the case here. To be fair, the wiki page I linked below has some useful information, but I feel that this should have been relayed in-game in an interactive manner. However, those of you with some time to kill who enjoy figuring game mechanics out on your own may in fact get a lot of play time out of this game. In the end, it comes down to personal preference and how much you’re willing to spend for what the game is offering you. As for what I think, “Towns” has the potential to be something great, but it needs much more work to get there.
Final Verdict: 2/10
You can learn more about “Towns” by visiting the following websites:
You can find and purchase the game on Steam here: