Review by GavLuvsGA

Reviewed: 03/29/06

Good fun, but repetetive


This game is one of a number of games (okay, two) that I have played that appear to clone the classic Sim City (the other was set in Roman times and involved me playing as an emperor building a city). The similarities with SimCity are actually very fleeting, and extend about as far as the fact that you have to build your own community.

Gameplay - 7/10

Gameplay is fun; you have to choose from three tribes, and then educate all the kids who are ready to be trained at the school. Unlike a real school, this will teach its students to perform a particular job that you select for them. At first, all you will be able to do is train them to collect rocks, cut down trees, carry items and build structures, and in order to develop your community even further you have to hire a scientist, who will spend his/her time researching before coming up with various "inventions", which actually include the concepts of fishing, having a police force and setting up a market.

To make things more complicated you have to make sure you have enough money to pay this scientist and also make sure that your people are gathering enough raw materials to make your buildings - and at the same time, you have to keep everyone supplied with food and build homes for them. If your citizens are not kept happy, they will either leave or become criminals.

In order to help get the items you need the game involves the concept of trading items for other ones by suggesting a trade and seeing what responses you get. There will be a number of other communities (controlled by the game) who can accept your offers (though in my experience they nearly always choose to reject), or you can let the "flying merchant" accept your trade, at which point an airship will fly in and drop items for your carriers to take to the warehouses you have built for them.

A number of other forms of gameplay are added to the game, including your citizens having to please the Gods - this can be done by building a temple and training someone as a priest (citizens will usually automatically go and pray in the evening), or later on, even building statues. If you are successful, then you will get to choose various rewards; if you anger the Gods too much, then they will inflict a random disaster on you, such as an earthquake. There will also occasionally be the need to attack enemies and break down buildings, after hiring a knight (who you must also pay daily). I was not especially pleased with the combat mode as I actually felt that, despite the tutorial, it was still rather unclear as to what exactly I was supposed to be doing, and it took me a long time to get the hang of.

Each of the scenarios will have some sort of goal that must be achieved in order to get past it; this will usually involve getting a certain amount of money, getting a certain amount of one particular resource or luxury, or even defeating an enemy.

One big problem problem I found with the Gameplay is that after a while it seems repetetive; although in later levels, you will get to make more buildings than before, you will still constantly have to build your towns from scratch and starts to get tedious. Also, the idea of having three separate tribes seems a little unnecessary since all of them use virtually the same gameplay, except that each tribe has one luxury item that only they know how to produce, and the fact that their buildings look different in style. At times I have had problems actually understanding what was going on; for example, once I had to give up on a game because none of my carriers was working despite being in a good mood, having a home and getting enough food, meaning that not a single building was actually getting built. The other main problem was that I found there to be an inevitable problem with slowdown.

Apart from that, the game is actually very enjoyable and addictive. When I first got this I would sit for hours in my room at university playing it when I should have probably been doing something better, until I either got bored or caused my computer to crash (at which point one of my housemates would suggest that maybe someone was trying to tell me something).

Story - 4/10

There is some sort of story in this game, but it isn't a very good one; the game explains between the levels how your three tribes (the Pimmons, the Amazons and the Sajikis) develop, but it is unnecessary and seems to have very little impact on the game.

Graphics - 9.5/10

Very neat graphics, with complex three-dimensional environments, which actually expand as you play further into the game. The scenery is detailed with grass, trees and the occasional ruined building littered about the landscape. The character models look nice and are animated very well, despite the fact that the programmers opted to cut corners by having their only form of interaction with buildings walking up to them and then vanishing. The buildings themselves, however, are very nice, and each tribe has its own distinctive style, such as the Sajikis - whose buildings resemble the sort of thing you might find in one of the Star Wars movies.

In addition, if you click on a citizen, you will be shown an often amusing picture of what this person looks like, such as a nerdy-looking teenager, or a toothless vagrant. Inevitably, though, there are only a limited number of character models for each of the three tribes, so it is a case of attack of the clones.

Sound - 7/10

What you do hear is very nice, though repetitive. Every morning (in game time), you will be greeted with the sound of a rooster crowing, followed by calming music, and the game is mostly accompanied by a pleasing tropical-sounding beat. There are also the occasional character voices, but these are mainly limited to the sounds of your citizens praying in the temple every evening.

Lastability - 8/10

This game has the potential to last a long time, and a single level can take a considerable time to get through. Also, this game is not one that gets boring easily, and is capable of occupying a player's attention for a few hours.

Final Verdict

If you like simulations like Sim City, and/or have a lot of patience, I would suggest buying; if not, I would recommend avoiding it or renting it first.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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