The student news site of Skyline College.

The Skyline View

The student news site of Skyline College.

The Skyline View

The student news site of Skyline College.

The Skyline View

Indie innovation: “Towns,” a fantasy-style “Sim City”

I have a soft spot in my heart for indie games, especially ones that go off the beaten path and pursue whatever vision they have in mind. One such game that I recently discovered is called “Towns.”

If you’ve read our paper in previous years, you may have read a review about a game called “Dwarf Fortress.” It’s an insanely complex game that can be incredibly addictive despite non-existent graphics and a considerable amount of convolution. In fact, I’ve heard the learning curve described as a brick wall you have to run and grind your face against until your bloody stump of a skull makes it through.

The reason I bring up “Dwarf Fortress” is that “Towns” is a graphical but, at the moment, far more shallow similar game. In both games you have no direct control over characters, you issue commands, and your citizens carry them out to the best of their abilities. I’d have to describe both games as a fantasy version of “Sim-City” in which you don’t actually control the people, you just designate where they build and they do as you command.

This style of game is not to be confused with a real-time strategy game; you cannot directly control people to do specific things at specific times. Sure, in “Dwarf Fortress” you can set jobs, but they will take care of their own necessities first. In “Towns” you don’t have that luxury yet, and I’ve lost the game a few times because my people were so busy with other jobs that they couldn’t be bothered to make enough food to survive.

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Both games have a very simple goal: to survive as long as possible. But it looks like “Towns” is going to be making some changes that may change that. “Towns” is planning on incorporating heroes who come to your town to slay monsters and explore the dungeon. In a way it’s like you’re the leader of a town a great hero would come and visit in a roleplaying game. It’s like you’re on the other side of a role-playing game!

It’s a fun little time waster, but because it’s still early in development, there are aspects about it that are frustrating, such as the aforementioned lack of prioritization or having to assign a worker to specific jobs and only those jobs.

Heroes haven’t been added to the game yet, so I haven’t been able to explore very far in the dungeon yet, mainly because the soldiers I create are starting to get obliterated as I go deeper into the dungeon, even with great equipment I find on the way down.

Overall, it’s a game with great potential and some unique ideas. There are some problems, and with the lack of heroes, I feel like I’ve become trapped at an early stage of the game. I’m going to give it a few weeks and then give the game a chance. In the meantime, you can give the “Towns” demo a spin at http://townsgame.com/.

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