At first glance, this game doesn’t look much different from those click-and-collect, energy bar ridden, incredibly shallow -Ville games which permeate Facebook and have spawned dozens of even more gameplay-bereft clones. Yes, this game looks like FarmVille on the surface, but this indie town-building sim with RPG elements is well on its way to becoming a deep and complex game about settling in a lethally wild territory and clearing dungeons.
Still in alpha, Towns is an ever-changing and expanding experience. Personally, I love this kind of Minecraft-inspired, buy-in-alpha-and-play-it-forever business model, even if it means enduring an incomplete game for the first little while. With all the updates and patches coming out for this title, it’s a bit like watching a child grow and refine into a mature adult.
If the alpha-funded status of this game doesn’t put you off, then you’re in for a real treat. Towns is a settlement-based, indirectly-controlled, survival, build-and-craft, sandbox dungeon crawl in which you create a farm, a fort, and finally a town. Not only that, buy you do this all of this directly atop a deadly dungeon which will serve as a mine for valuable materials and also a source of adventure and heroism for your little townies.
Don’t get me wrong, this game is full of little bugs and weirdness that should eventually be smoothed out by the two-man team over at SMP, the developers of this little gem. During one of the updates, they changed the way that ladders worked, and I couldn’t figure out for the life of me how to climb down into the subterranean levels in order to mine for rock and iron. I did eventually figure out what had to be done, but there was nothing on how the ladders worked in the patch update notes. I recommend, if you plan on pre-ordering this game, that you take to the (often outdated) wiki and the (generally current) forums for help and discussion about new features, bugs, and fixes which inevitably come with updates to an incomplete and growing game.
So don’t worry about what other games Towns might look like, you really need to try it out to understand how addictive this game really is. I will be keeping the Levelsave readership up to date on news surrounding this title, so stay locked.
There’s a free demo on SMP’s website, and the game can be pre-ordered from either there or on Desura for $12.70 USD. Pre-ordering gets you access to the current alpha build as well as the eventual, final build.