Review: Community Inc

To the Community: “Get to Work!”

Community Inc is a village simulation, resource management, and item crafting game. Your goal is to build a community of….incs? Actually, no, your people are the Lings. As long as you keep your Lings happy, they will slowly build your village for you. As it turns out, keeping your Lings happy is much easier said than done.

You start the game by buying a couple of workers. Each Ling starts out as a Builder, which is quite handy, for 1) building things, obviously and 2) idle builders are the people that run around and collect the raw items that are dropped by the other Lings’ professions. At the beginning of Community Inc, there are many occupations already available to choose from. They can be a Builder (as already pointed out), Lumberjack, Miner; Farmer; Herbalist, Tailor, Hunter, Guard, or a Fisherman. Each job requires a specific tool, building, (and/or book). Some tools are provided at the start, while others require the materials need to craft the implement or building in order to assign your person to that specific job (no spoilers!). The longer a Ling works in a single profession, the more experience they receive in that line of work, allowing them to level up in their vocation. Most jobs then, once they achieve a certain level of proficiency, lead to better or different occupations that then become available.

Look, Ma, I can do multiple jobs!

Each person has specific, inherent traits which may provide them with an advantage in a certain field. Also, each worker has the capacity to have five different professions! Part of the initial juggling act then becomes who to put in each job versus what work that you need to be done to keep your village running and thriving. This responsibility of yours to keep track then quickly ramps up in difficulty of decision-making because the more people you have, the more items and buildings they need to (try to) keep them contented, as well as increasingly educated. Happy Lings work harder, are more efficient and complain less. However, unhappy workers can go anywhere from crabby to (literally) destructive to suicidal!

Crabby butt, at 11% mood.

On top of everything else, there are different types of weather, day and night cycles (one hint only: they are extremely particular about where they sleep), various enemies, plus eight other creatures and races. The Blue Fox, Mushface, Magic Oak, Dark Panther, Stone Golem, Sharp Eagle, Dragonite, and Orcons all have their own: 1) specific traits 2) wants and needs from your community, in addition to 3) their own opinions and feelings about the other creatures, as well as 4) how they see you interact with all of them!

At least there is a diplomacy screen in Community Inc to help you keep track of your standings with these other races. You basically interact with them in two different ways. First, they will come to your trading post and hopefully buy some of your items from you (I had a few angry or inefficient traders that liked to wander away from their trading post a lot, usually when a customer would approach!). More importantly though, they will randomly contact you and offer you contracts to fulfill for them. If you accept, and then complete the task, your standing with “their culture” will increase. Likewise, if you fail to complete the mission, their feelings towards you will decrease. However, you must keep in mind through all of this, that their attitudes toward their rival races will also be affected. If, for example, you help out the Blue Foxes, your standings with their rivals will decrease. This is just another instance of trying to keep everything balanced out. Angry creatures are every bit as pleasant to deal with as angry villagers—meaning not at all.

For any wandering npc enemies, thieves, and/or angry Creatures, at least you (hopefully) have assigned some Guards. The Guard units are the only ones in the game that you can directly control. For all of the rest of your people, you have to tell them the things to craft and build, and the areas in which to work (for example, you have to mark the specific trees for the Lumberjack to cut, the stones you want the miner to harvest, etc.). The Guards however, can be manually controlled to send to a particular, troubled location. When any danger arises, the village alarm goes off, the workers quit working, then huddle together to try to stay safe. Once any attackers have been dealt with, it is also your responsibility to turn off the town’s alarm, otherwise they will all stand around, scared, and not working.

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Community Inc is a very good village simulator, but most importantly, it is about keeping your Lings happy. Once you get your initial people going, it gets considerably intense, very quickly. Before you even get any walls built, you will have all kinds of creatures traipsing around throughout your village. If you can keep your workers satisfied, the bad guys at bay, and the creatures mostly liking you, you will be able to build a large and profitable community…Inc.

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