(Impressions) The Wild Age

I have always wanted to play Kingdom. Then it’s released DLC and a sequel and I still haven’t jumped onto that ship. Then along comes The Wild Age. It looks like it’s Kingdom, but in a 3D environment. In this micromanagement strategy game you’ll be building walls and hiring archers to kill bunnies. The only thing that you won’t be able to do is hit baddies with the giant torch/club you carry around. Is that disappointing? Yes it is. Apparently you’re not meant to fight. Is the game fun even if you can’t club bunnies? Does it get boring? Is it actually hard even though it says it’s designed for a “peaceful and relaxed gaming experience”? Let me break it down for you.

So calm. So relaxing… even my horse fell asleep… while I was riding him.

The first thing I want to get out-of-the-way is that the only way to play this in a relaxing way is to play it on easy. If you don’t play this seriously on purpose with building up your defenses, you’ll be overrun. I know that building up is the whole point of the game, but I was expecting a little less aggression. Instead with a few days in, I was being bombarded with hordes of goblins. I think this really only came and bit me in the rear twice, but still. Maybe you can start the game off in a peaceful manner, but it does not stay that way long so put on your responsible pants and hunker down. You need to build some defenses and defenders and level up your village for stronger walls. Get on it!

“They mostly come out at night… mostly.”

Aesthetically, the game brings a simplistic look similar to Epistory, only a bit more… focused. I like the character’s designs and how you can change a lot of the features of the game. You can change the look of the coins and unlock pets (who pick up coins for you) and cool mounts. There is definitely a benefit to playing this game a lot. As you progress in the story you also unlock more features that will help you build up your village. Luckily the game is enjoyable enough to keep me coming back for another round. I wouldn’t call it a quick round because unless you die (and you can die) the game can go on for quite some time. (Quick note: almost everything is smooth, but archers do slide around when turning and your tree fellers don’t tend to face the trees they are chopping, but I’m assuming this is something that will get patched in the Early Access period.)

I’m not sure that I’d like to ride a bunny around, but then again… you can make the bunnies go crazy soooo…

If you thought what was offered was enough to make you go and try out the demo (yes, there is a demo), then you’ll be happy to know that there is even more. On top of the gameplay loop offered, there is also a level editor where you can create you own levels. You can make them as long or as short as the areas you want to defend and cultivate. You can also make winter appear much quicker if you’re into pain. I haven’t played until winter yet, most of the levels will be “completed” before you get there and have you start all over again to finish a different goal in the next level if you choose to move on (you can continue to play the current game though). If you like pain, go for it. I’ll not venture that deep yet. I will, however, make the levels more full of things to explore. Now, if only there was an “amount of treasure chests to find” option….

You’ve got to keep going and defeating all of the levels to unlock more and more upgrade features.

There are more things coming to the full version of the game, but there are some more notable things I figured I’d mention.

  • Assault NPC – Knight
  • The ability to attack and destroy enemy camps
  • Side quests – to add replay value
  • Enhanced mechanics in the winter

While I may not have done much with winter so far, I have been exploring the continuous play option and I’ll get there shortly. More ways to increase my profits during the period in which I cannot farm is a good thing. (At least, that is what I would assume.) Side quests will be interesting depending on how they come about and I look forward to killing camps… however that will be done (since I can’t attack anything). The Knight NPC will be interesting. I’m not sure how this unit will work without a healer unit. The enemies, currently, seem to flood in and pile on the gate World War Z style so the Knights would be swarmed and defeated. It will be interesting, but I look forward to the challenge!

I don’t have many complaints other than some needed “cosmetic” changes. As I stated above, it would be neat if the tree feller would actually be looking at the tree he’s chopping. Everything else seems to be mostly in place. I’m not really sure what the demo offers, but if it simply gives you the ability to play the first level and you enjoy it, the rest of the game is just as good (if not more so). The Wild Age is an enjoyable game to play even if I don’t personally find it to be that relaxing (though I haven’t play on easy yet). There is a lot to micromanage and it is very satisfying when you are able to build up and out. I’m excited to see how the rest of the added mechanics will play out as they get added through Steam Early Access. This is another example of how you do an Early Access game properly.

Further Reading on The Wild Age: Facebook / Steam / Twitter

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