Banished Review - We Built This City

Banished Review - We Built This City

You can build a settlers' paradise in Banished, a no-frills frontier city-builder.

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Just bought it after watching hours of gameplay. It looks great IMO. Right up my ally (I enjoy city management style games).

I may just have to pick this game up. I'm a big fan of the Stronghold and Settlers games. This looks to be just like them without the terrible fighting system.

Elfgore:
I may just have to pick this game up. I'm a big fan of the Stronghold and Settlers games. This looks to be just like them without the terrible fighting system.

There is no fighting whatsoever in this game. Banished has a pretty tough attitude towards survival though, which quickly becomes apparent when playing on higher difficulty. It takes quite a lot of skill to balance all needs of your villagers. I've lost like 4 villages yesterday, before progressing past 50 citizens, 2 to starvation, 1 to exposure, 1 to disease.

Building a herbalist hut early is a good idea, it only takes one citizen to operate.

EDIT: Or, and sometimes crops on a farm fail, so if you don't have at least two backup ways to get food, prepare to starve.

I followed Banished since i discoverd it a few weeks ago, which is my problem:
I watched a lot of preview Let's plays. I got the feeling the game runs down its novelty pretty quickly.
It is an enormous task for one guy to program this. Biggest respect. But i fear the longterm value is there
only for achievement hunters.
The dev said he will take a (well deserved) break, and then do new things. A modkit was promised.
I hope either he will take up an endgame-addon or the community will provide a more Anno-Style progression system for your
town. Upgrading or unlocking better houses, maybe monuments?

Hiramas:
I followed Banished since i discoverd it a few weeks ago, which is my problem:
I watched a lot of preview Let's plays. I got the feeling the game runs down its novelty pretty quickly.
It is an enormous task for one guy to program this. Biggest respect. But i fear the longterm value is there
only for achievement hunters.
The dev said he will take a (well deserved) break, and then do new things. A modkit was promised.
I hope either he will take up an endgame-addon or the community will provide a more Anno-Style progression system for your
town. Upgrading or unlocking better houses, maybe monuments?

I agree. While the Game is solid, and honestly I have been starving for some decent "Build-up"-Games, the long-term motivation of Banished is rather lacking. However, enabling Mods would fix that issue within a few months (Personal guess).

IMHO, what the game would need most is some customization (Currently, the only real way to add a personal note to your Village is the Layout.) and as Hiramas said, progression. Survival as the only goal makes it pretty easy to get a decent balance early on. The additional challenge and appeal of ANNO for example was the fact that you had to balance sustainability and improvement/Luxurity at the same time. Banished is stuck at the "Peasant" Level, and once you get the hang of the Management, its really easy to please those peasants. Some additional needs for the Townsfolk would be cool, since it would enable addiotional production trees. Greg gave a cool example with the beer, why not add the Luxus Variant Wine and then have familys grow in wealth?

OFC, it depends on how and when the Modding will be implemented, and how many people will actually invest time to Mod the Game. Cant really predict how succesful Banished will be, its a niche-game after all.

Love how the game sounds from this review (other than the crashes) but then I read RPS's review and find them saying the exact opposite of every point brought up here. They say the UI is awful, the game a torturous slog of difficulty from the start but the look is nice. Here the word is that the UI is wonderful, the game simple until the late game.

So confused. Though I'm thinking Greg Tito seems to have figured it out better.

Jumwa:
Love how the game sounds from this review (other than the crashes) but then I read RPS's review and find them saying the exact opposite of every point brought up here. They say the UI is awful, the game a torturous slog of difficulty from the start but the look is nice. Here the word is that the UI is wonderful, the game simple until the late game.

So confused. Though I'm thinking Greg Tito seems to have figured it out better.

Check out Total Biscuits Video, he has a solid 50 minute Video where he takes a decent look at it.

Bought this as soon as I got home yesterday and played it until well after midnight.

Started a nice little village in the valley (medium difficulty, medium map, mild weather) and had things rolling along.

Then, Spring of my third year, a tornado rips through the region, killing half my villagers and destroying a quarter of the town.

I played until about year 12 (didn't go over 2x time acceleration) and I'm just now back to where I started. Except now most of the accessible surface stone and iron are gone and a large chunk of the map has been deforested.

And the damn deer keep moving away after I build a hunting shack...

With any luck, I'll manage to scrape up enough stone to finish my trading dock. Hopefully, a merchant will have sheep for wood. [/failed Catan joke]

;)

I imagine that I'll have fun with this, but it does seem like a bit of a letdown. I'm hoping that Clockwork Empires will the be next City Builder/DF-like* that will be really great.

* I don't think anyone is actually working on a Dwarf-Fortress-like. Sure, there are fort/town building games like Townes and Gnomoria, but none of them are actually trying to create the level of detail in DF. Also, none of them are trying to handle the insane procedural worldbuilding, history generation, or "adventure mode" stuff.

Jumwa:
Love how the game sounds from this review (other than the crashes) but then I read RPS's review and find them saying the exact opposite of every point brought up here. They say the UI is awful, the game a torturous slog of difficulty from the start but the look is nice. Here the word is that the UI is wonderful, the game simple until the late game.

So confused. Though I'm thinking Greg Tito seems to have figured it out better.

Yeah, I was about to post the same thing. The diametrically opposed opinions are an interesting outcome of reviewing this game. I wouldn't play it either way, not my sort of style, but it still seems...odd...to get such contradicting opinions from more or less similar minded people.

This looks interesting, but I'm wary about buying it since I'm pretty terrible at these sorts of games and I've heard it's hardcore. Maybe if it goes on sale I'll give it a whirl.

Hmm, I don't really understand Alec Meer's RPS review either. Maybe he's not good at it and I stumbled onto a winning strategy early?

Greg

Greg Tito:
Hmm, I don't really understand Alec Meer's RPS review either. Maybe he's not good at it and I stumbled onto a winning strategy early?

Greg

It's possible. My first two attempts failed hard and fast just by undervaluing farming in favor of fishing (since the first tutorial had implied fishing could sustain a small village on its own). Getting a crop up early made things much smoother...though I then lost THAT village just by forgetting to build a graveyard. Around year 9 or 10 happiness started steadily dropping and I couldn't figure out why; by the time I realized it was from the old age deaths building up it was too late. Too much of the population was too old to have kids, so there was no new generation to replace the dying ones. Slow death. :|

I get the feeling there are a lot of ways to just auto-fail if you miss doing something or decide to do the wrong thing.

Jumwa:
Love how the game sounds from this review (other than the crashes) but then I read RPS's review and find them saying the exact opposite of every point brought up here. They say the UI is awful, the game a torturous slog of difficulty from the start but the look is nice. Here the word is that the UI is wonderful, the game simple until the late game.

So confused. Though I'm thinking Greg Tito seems to have figured it out better.

Greg Tito:
Hmm, I don't really understand Alec Meer's RPS review either. Maybe he's not good at it and I stumbled onto a winning strategy early?

Greg

Well, my first instinct was: yeah, Greg got it figured out, but then i read the RPS review and, well, its not wrong....
Not completely anyway.
Its not a bad review in my eyes, just a: "Here, you try it, i dont like it."
Maybe Banished is a little take on old-school gaming, waving spreadsheets around, crunching numbers...
And the: "I dont like it, but play it anyway" is a rare thing for a game. It speaks of a certain appeal.

After playing a few hours im around year 20, about 90 people and i survived a bad pathfinding disaster (i think quill18 had the same problem), expanding too fast, food shortage, firewood shortage, even a fricking tornado!
But my town is running well.
Either Banished is way easier than i thought it would be or i am way better at gaming than i thought....
Or i watched too much lets plays.
Anyway, my endgame-worries have not been relived. The villages are far less stable than i thought they would be at a certain point, but still.. more of the same. As a lifelong fan of the Anno-Series (the biggest time-sink of my life), i kind of expect more endgame...

Wow, rather glad I didn't start out from that RPS review. He certainly doesn't seem to like the game, though it does sound a little like he doesn't care at all for the genre. That and I'm not sure how hard he started his game, or knew what he was really doing.

He mentions that he needed 4 woodcutters for 80 people, and lists that he has 60 workers on food and fuel duty. I'm a bit lower than that, but only needing 1.5 woodcutters, with the excess .5 going to trading; I certainly don't need anywhere near 3. But at the same time he's got a huge amount of children, and it doesn't sound like he knew that they ate like anyone else. That and I didn't find fishing to be that great. Nice for some variety, but farming was far better for me for getting food.

I rather liked the game though. It looks like it will run down in replayability sometime later, as there's not much more to do aside from not die after a point, and once you've managed to survive the initial bout it's not too bad. At least till a major disaster strikes and it becomes entertaining again.

While i've no personal hands-on with the game, I've watched several Let's Plays (mostly by Quill18) and I love the aesthetics of the game and the UI looks really simple and intuitive to me.

I agree that it looks like it could do with more depth, but hell it's a damn sight more complex than Minecraft was when THAT first launched and it is just as much a one-man project as Notch's baby was. The dev has said there'll be mod support and that he has his own plans to gradually develop the game further as well, as well as making it cross-platform. Give it a year or two and Banished should have grown into something truly wonderful.

I really enjoy playing games in which I can build up a city or something. Feels good to have something to play in a window while watching videos.
My take on the game: It can be pretty challenging until you have figured everything out. Expect to lose 2-3 towns before you can build one that is stable enough to survive the first two years.
I'd suggest changing auto save from 5 to either 10 or 15 (better 15) minutes and/or save manually from time to time. This way you can avoid losing your whole town to one fire or have everyone in your town starve because your year's harvest simply wasn't enough. That way you can reload and get more fishing huts, for example.

Other than that I really like it. Expanding feels interesting and you have to be careful not to overextend. Building the right things at the right moment (and adjusting workers) is interesting as well. The interface may seem empty and (too?) minimalist at first but once you have figured out which windows to pin, it gives you all the information you need without locking you into a standard interface.
It is running very stable for me, no hiccups or crashes yet.

Aspects I don't enjoy as much about it:
-After a while it gets a little bit boring because you'll come to a point at which you can't expand because you don't have enough workers. but at the same time don't have anything to do. I've found this to coincide with the first generation of adults slowly dying off while the second (or third?) generation isn't quite ready yet to do everything. At this point you really just have to wait it out until you get new children and maybe a few nomad visitors.
-It pauses itself when it is not the active window. This means you can't really surf or do much while the game is running. However, I mostly play slow builder games while surfing, watching videos etc.
-It feels like it is missing a bit of depth/challenge later but I guess I'll have to start on a harder difficulty. After a certain point you have all of the buildings, sufficient food diversity etc. so from there your only goal becomes getting even more villagers. I'm ok with there not being any enemies but there could be some variety by tech/trade/diplomacy/specialization at this point.

In the end it is pretty good when considering the small team. For what it is, it is probably only worth the launch price for people really into city building but if you enjoy them from time to time you might want to pick it up as well (or wait for a sale).

rofltehcat:
-It pauses itself when it is not the active window. This means you can't really surf or do much while the game is running. However, I mostly play slow builder games while surfing, watching videos etc.

Options
-Game
--Pause when not focused

Uncheck that box. Tada.

Love this game so far.

Greg must be a helluva lot better than I am, since my first few games ended in disaster. After about 3 tries, I got a good starting pattern down and managed to thrive a bit. Growing my population too fast screwed me over... then later I wasn't prepared for disease or a failed harvest.

Antsh:
Love this game so far.

Greg must be a helluva lot better than I am, since my first few games ended in disaster. After about 3 tries, I got a good starting pattern down and managed to thrive a bit. Growing my population too fast screwed me over... then later I wasn't prepared for disease or a failed harvest.

Best advice I can give is to be very, very redundant. Have plenty of food available, (at least 2 years in reserve) and in multiple places. Same with tools, coats, and firewood. No reason not to once you're big enough that immediate survival is no longer a concern, as after that all that can kill you is a disaster.

Don't keep all your eggs in one basket is the motto here.

 

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