Villagers is a new city-builder created by the German developer bumblebee Games.
At launch, the game offers two modes: campaign and free play.
Wanting to know the mechanisms smoothly, I start with the campaign in order to follow the tutorial. A brief introduction explains the history of the world and of my character. My heroine is an ingenious young woman who liked to dream after work and draw maps of villages and towns. And, overnight, she finds herself invested with a mission by the notable of the area, Duke Albrechtus: he gathers all the inhabitants of the area and orders him to create an impregnable bastion.
I place my first building, the town hall, near the river and a few villagers arrive. With my small population of six workers, I now have to ask them to look for wood. To do so, I activate the tool to mark the trees. I can change the size of my "brush" with the mouse wheel and the Shift key, allowing me to quickly mark large areas for harvest.
With my wood, I now have to build houses because my villagers are sad to be homeless. By clicking on one of them, I open its details sheet, each one is defined by different criteria which evolve over time. There is in particular an age management, my villagers age during the game, until they become "weakened" who are no longer productive (the game indicates that they are nevertheless appreciated for their humor and that their rumors animate the game. colony!) and then die.
After building three houses, the villagers automatically settle in and couples form. Soon future babies! While waiting for the first births in my village, it is time to obtain renewable food and I am advised to build a wharf. Once the building is built on the shore, I reassign workers to fishermen from the Town Hall. For food, it is also possible to hunt with a Mirador (also allowing to kill dangerous wild animals) or to put a farm with its fields.
Next step: build a stone bridge to discover more land. I regain the ability to be able to recover stone! Then, quite quickly, the first mission ends with a rather unfortunate end: the plague! The missions continue with the introduction of new buildings. The lumberjack cabin has the advantage of allowing nearby trees to grow back. Very practical because the trees tend to disappear very quickly in the region! On the same principle a little later, I have the quarry for the stone or the mine for the iron, supplementing the 3 main resources (wood, stone, iron with food for the villagers). The sawmill will allow me to double the yield of the harvested trees.
A little later I discovered the chapel which will be able to motivate my villagers, the pharmacy to make remedies and avoid disease, the well to have drinking water, the market to attract traders and exchange ... Artists come even settle in my village!
Many options here and there make it possible to adjust the behavior of the workers in detail. It is thus possible for example to define from the town hall the food that will be consumed. In the watchtower, I can choose to hunt normally or on the contrary to do intensive hunting, at the risk of decimating the entire population of wild animals.
And sometimes it would be better if all the wolves were dead! The villagers do not have a great resistance to the attacks of the bugs.
The cycle of the seasons pleasantly changes the scenery, as well as the challenges. There is therefore less water in summer and the crops are thus more or less efficient.
The free game for its part offers access to six maps: along the watercourse, swamp, mountain valley, thick woods and coastline. There are no other configuration options, the game will then launch directly with 0 resources and just 10 gold coins. Once the town hall is placed somewhere on the map, 10 villagers arrive, 45 food units are added and the game begins. All buildings are unlocked here.
- Farm: 40 Wood, 10 Stone
- Mill: 50 Wood, 20 Stone, 20 Iron
- Bakery: 30 Bois
- Lumberjack hut: 20 Wood
- Barn: 30 Wood
- Viewpoint: 15 Bois
- Fishing pier: 30 Bois
- Blacksmithing: 55 Wood, 30 Stone, 10 Iron
- Sawmill: 45 Wood, 10 Iron
- Quarry: 30 Wood
- Mine: 30 Wood, 20 Iron
- Small house: 20 Wood
- Large house: 30 Wood, 20 Stone
- Bridge: 15 Wood, 30 Stone
- Deck (large): 30 Wood, 80 Stone, 15 Iron
- Guardhouse: 10 Wood, 30 Stone
- Market: 30 Wood
- Rainwater collector: 20 Wood
- Well: 25 stone
- Tavern: 50 Wood 25 Stone
- Inn: 50 Bois, 35 Pierre, 10 Fer
- Chapel: 25 Bois, 30 Pierre
- Church: 35 Wood, 60 Stone, 25 Iron
- Public baths: 40 Wood, 70 Stone, 30 Iron
- Pharmacy: 40 Bois, 25 Pierre
No quest in this world, just pure and hard management on an unfortunately a little small map to really be able to enjoy it.
Rather sympathetic, Villagers is unfortunately really slow in the version tested at the beginning of March and still needs a good polish. The villagers behave quite strange and will sometimes take a very long time to construct a building even though many are unoccupied at that time. As it is impossible to impose a job on a particular villager, one only has to wait stupidly for them to do it. The days go by very quickly, food quickly runs out, resources are exhausted and the village does not grow as there is no way to have villagers by any other means than the babies of the inhabitants. I encountered various annoying bugs, preventing me from harvesting certain resources or even from laying fields or a fishing pier.
On the interface side, there is clearly a lack of global statistics to have a better view of the production of each unit and / or building, as well as the general state of the population (happiness, health, etc.).
Despite everything, I admit having had a good time in this beautiful colorful world and I can't wait to see the improvements that will be made by the developer. The base is really good and a few tweaks would make it a really good game!
In conclusion, the main features as stated in the press release:
- 5 to 6 hours of gameplay in campaign mode
- unlimited free play with 6 maps to explore
- 27 buildings
- 16 different characters
- 16 professions with specific clothes
- changing seasons
- advanced AI: relationships, happiness, family, tasks
- various missions: exchange with merchants, inventory management, control of water resources, production and resale of grain reserves ...
The game will be available on March 25 in a boxed version on Amazon.co.uk, but also in a digital version on Steam for € 20.