I’ve recently picked up Banished on Steam, and I have to say, I like it. I like it a lot.
The game has a simple enough premise. You are the leader of a small group of colonists. Make a new settlement and a new town. In doing so, you have to provide shelter for your colonists, feed them, clothe them, provide enough firewood for them to last through winter and keep them healthy. The game has been compared to Dwarf Fortress, and whilst it does have similarly challenging elements (the dwarf depression spiral notwithstanding), after playing Banished with it’s gorgeous visuals, I could never go back to playing DF after seeing screens like this.
This all sounds very straightforward, but to be even remotely successful, there’s a lot of micromanagement to be done.You can’t relax in Banished, because taking your eyes off a seemingly unimportant resource stockpile, the housing situation or even the age of your colonists for a while can result in a situation where a lot of people die, very quickly. And it’s all your fault. You pillock. These can be fairly straightforward problems (ran out of food), slightly more complex (your clothing wasn’t warm enough for winter, you ran out of firewood at the start of winter), or quite complex indeed (your colonists caught a disease off some traveling merchants and now everyone’s dead, you moron).
I can say without any fear of contradiction that no one who’s played a single map for at least thirty minutes has thought “Hmm, this is still too simple, I wish some zombies would show up”. Banished will challenge your skills of micromanagement and test your wits with a far more devious opponent. You.
After a quick jaunt in the tutorial, I thought I was ready to face the world of Banished and I’d be at least relatively successful. I managed to keep all of my residents alive for two years, then ran out of food and firewood and the means to make firewood all at once in the game’s Winter season. Now, here’s something that Banished does, gratis, for you, the customer. Every time someone dies, you get a little notification of who they were and what particular mistake you made that led to their death. In this particular Winter, I killed about ten people in the space of thirty seconds before running away from the village and starting a new one.
The strangest “feel good” moment I’ve had so far in the game is when my villagers started dying from old age rather than my incompetence.
To stand even a chance of survival, you need to get into Banished and make mistakes. Similar to the trial and error methodology we see in Kerbal Space Program, Banished will have you loading up a town, ruining it, and then starting over many times. You’ll learn new things as you go, and given the game’s random map generation, you’ll have endless replayability and new scenarios to try out different approaches. It’s an amazing (and cheap) choice for those of you who like citybuilding and survival games, and want to feel a real challenge.
Challenging but rewarding gameplay elements
Best CityBuilding game that’s come out recently.