Genre: God Game, Simulation
- Platform: PC
- Hours logged: 12.0
- Playthroughs: 3
- Rating: 7/10
- Shane (12/12/2015): I have come back to this game a few times. It has some elements that are REALLY compelling. Unfortunately it also has some problems.
First the good things: The mood of the game is mostly peaceful. Though I play almost entirely with the sound off, the few times where I had audio playing I found the music relaxing and appropriate. The animated characters were endearing, and I found myself building emotional attachments to them.
There is enough strategy to make the game interesting while not drowning the player in impossible memory tasks. Different giants have different abilities that are buffed by different biomes. Using one giant to place a resource, then upgrading that resource with another giant's ability to get the right synergies can be challenging at first, but it doesn't take that long to find patterns that work. Helping the civilizations gather the correct resources in the correct places is very rewarding. Letting some towns get greedy and start wars with the others can be fun too... Hell, I even enjoy that towns can get pissy and start attacking the giants. (If they kill one of the giants, you lose. Game over.)
Now... problems: The pace of the game is incredibly frustrating, not to mention the new-gamer unlock order. When you start a new game you have a lot of decisions to make. You have to decide where to put the water and mountains. Then you drop forests and swamps. Doing this the first few times is OK. After you do it 5 or 10 times though it grates on you. Then there is the waiting. You wait for your giants to walk across the map. You wait for settlers to show up and pick a location. You wait for the towns to harvest resources. You wait for everything.
Worse than that, you have to play the game several times before you get enough unlockables to actually do anything interesting. Your first time through you play for a 30 minute era, but it will take much longer than that. Standard gameplay for me involved pausing the game, telling each of the giants what I wanted them to do, unpausing until one of the tasks had been completed, pausing again to reassign a task... rinse and repeat. The cooldowns for abilities made this a bit more frustrating as I would have to leave the game running for stretches before I could use an ability that I needed for a particular town. This usually left one of my other giants idling for a while... Put another way, the game rewards micromanagement, but has controls in place that break up the flow of task driving.
I have ended up still feeling mostly positive about this title. It is fun enough to have had me play it several times through the 30 minute era. I have, however, stopped playing at this point. I am very happy with the hours that I gave it but it didn't take long before I hated starting another map. As much as I want to play it a lot more to get more unlockables and see what other wonders the cities will make, the detractors were just a bit too painful to play it more now.
Thanks for the hours of fun! Now... Maybe I will go read a book.