Review | Townsmen

Townsmen is a top-down game wherein you build up a small town into a large town. There are a variety of resources that are used to build. Gameplay is fairly straightforward, building buildings to gather more resources to build more buildings until you eventually hit a critical mass, and the whole thing condenses into a lovely medieval town.

There are two types of npcs, townsmen who gather resources and build

Some of my citizen

structures, and townettes who keep buildings topped up with resources such as water and other luxuries. Townsmen can be assigned to specific buildings, they will then ‘use’ the building to gather the material, whether it be wood, water or fish. Unassigned townsmen will wander around and work on any construction projects currently going on.

There are a wide range of buildings, covering every aspect of medieval life. There are houses, that when built will spawn in a number of townsmen and townettes. Houses will also produce money (thaler) at regular intervals that can be collected by clicking on them. There are forester huts where loggers live while they go out and cut down trees. There are mills which turn the logs into planks, fishermen huts to catch fish, monasteries to harvest hops and package them off to the brewery.

A little hamlet

As befitting a medieval town, you can also have a military. These are trained in barracks and are stationed in towers, where they protect the nearby buildings from raiding bandits. Soldiers require a lot of resources to build (sausages,armour and weapons)and require a constant supply of beer to operate.

Markets can be built, which will allow a merchant to arrive in town. Merchants will buy and sell resources, which can be a good thing if you need a certain resource or you need to empty out your storage. Your main storage facility is your castle, the centrepiece of your town. Separate warehouse can also be built, which require a townsman to operate and look after.

There are several events that can occur throughout the game. Plagues can occur in large towns and require an infirmary and healing herbs to be healed. Thunderstorms bring with them lightning, which can set fire to a large part of your town.

Townsmen is built on a grid system, displayed primarily when placing a building, the adjacent squares to the building light up green when in a  suitable location, and red when not suitable (a cliff or tree). Building can be freely moved on the two axis, but will jump to the nearest square when released. This is sightly annoying as I try and line up a house to get the perfect arrangement with a few trees, only for the house to leap into its spot, often a fair distance from where I wanted it. One way to alleviate this annoyance is for a transparent grid to pop up when placing buildings, so as to show how the building will position itself.

Not a very roman road

Over time buildings will get damaged, slowly looking more and more dishevelled as time goes on. After a point buildings will start smouldering, at which point they can randomly catch fire. Fire towers are required to put out such fires, and require a townsman and a source of water. Fire towers have a range of what the fire man will cover, and as the little man has to run back and forth to fill up his bucket careful placement is needed.

Ah yes, the ancient tradition of leveling up

Completing quests will earn xp, which over time will level up your village. Levelling up will give you several technologies to research. Each technology will take an amount of resources and will give you a slight bonus, such as a bit more money when collecting tax or your military being slightly more powerful. Most technologies have multiples levels to unlock, each rank giving a bigger bonus.

One big thing to note is that Townsmen is a mobile port. Overall the port is pretty good, although the move from mobile to computer has left the game with screen tearing. Menus are simple with large buttons, but keyboard support has been added for quicker navigation. A redesign of the menu could be nice, removing the large buttons in favour of a more tab favoured approach. The graphics are fairly nice, about standard for a mobile game, not exactly retro but still nice and simple.

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