Townsmen – A Kingdom Rebuilt (hereafter just referred to as Townsmen) was rebuilt for the PC, and then subsequently released for the PS4 on 20 February 2020. It was developed and published by Handy Games. It is a top-down strategy city-building game.
When you start up the game, you are treated to various game modes. First is the main Campaign mode, where you can play through different chapters in the central story of the game. You can also select Scenario mode, where you can choose a specific scenario to play through. Finally, there is Endless Mode, where you can just build and build and build and build with no ending in sight.
All modes basically play the same, with the only real difference being the objectives. When you start Campaign Mode, you are taking through certain Tutorials. As a matter of fact, most of the quests are sort of tutorials on how to do things, and then letting you do those things as part of your task. Woven into this is a great storyline that I found kept me interested and wanting to keep playing for hours on end.
I’m used to playing games like this on the PC, so trying one on the PS4 is a new experience for me. The controls are very easy to learn to master, with functions limited to key buttons. I also enjoyed the use of the directional buttons as quick assess keys to some essential functions later on in the game. Much easier than trying to remember which keys to press on a keyboard.
So what do you get to do in these quests? Well…. build. Most quests involve building new structures to meet a new need / desire, allocating a worker to become employed in that building (such as a Hunter in a Hunting Cabin), and the providing the resources that the people need. To complicate matters, you are an outcast and a refugee, so there are others out there looking to either capture or blackmail you. And bandits that want to loot you. As if that wasn’t enough, people will become sour very quickly if you do not meet their needs.
I played several hours on the game, more than six hours, completing the main campaign. It all depends on how well you do and how long you take to complete the missions. Another great touch was adding seasons. You will need to change your strategy with the changing of the seasons. In winter, you can no longer grow wheat to feed the populace, so you send out your hunters.
Gameplay is further enhanced by Research. As you play through the story (or in Endless Mode), and as you level up, you unlock new abilities that you can study and new buildings that you can construct. However, since these are unlocked at certain levels, there is no strategy involved in what you should study. You simply pick the new research available and study it.
I found the hardest part of the game was deciding where to place buildings. There are paths and other decorations in your way, so you need to clear them to make room for new buildings. But even so, badly placed buildings will hamper you later in the game, causing you to rethink where to place them. Thankfully, as you progress through the story, more space becomes available based on the missions.
As far as graphics are concerned, everything is, well rather cartoonish. Which doesn’t make it a bad thing, since most games like this are. But I must say that the animations are rather fun to watch, even if the people look a bit odd and cheaply designed. More effort was put into the design of the buildings and effects than the people actually running things. Which is fine, I guess. Like anyone actually cares what the people look like when you are trying to run a kingdom, right?
The graphic interface is neatly placed around the edges of the screen, allowing you easy access to information when and as you need it. There is also a handy event screen where you can quickly jump to a new catastrophe without having to look for it in your busy kingdom.
As far as sound goes, I can’t really state that there is anything impressive. Some good music, some clang clang sounds when buildings are working on something. Dialogue is limited to text, so enjoy either reading through them or pressing X to scan through them quickly.
For people that love city building games and aren’t looking for anything complicated (such as laying water lines down or building powers lines), this Townsmen is perfect for you. There are some really stressful and frustrating situations, but they are easily overcome with some strategy and key decisions. When I started up the game, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it, and at the end it is a game I will continue to play in Endless Mode long after completing the Campaign (if I can stay away from No Man Sky and the new Living Ship update long enough).
Townsmen – A Kingdom Rebuilt is perfect for the PS4, and is a game that will challenge you to develop new strategies in moments of crisis. For being both an enjoyable and challenging game at the same time, it earns a score of 8/10.
**PLEASE NOTE: We were supplied with a review copy of the game. This has in no way influenced my views on the game as per Air Entertainment’s Review Policy**