With holidays finally here, I had the time to play a game I’ve been longing to try: Banished! I’ve had my eyes on since it was early access and now it’s been out for almost a year so I guess it was about time I got around to play it.
Banished is a city builder; a simulation where your goal is for your people to survive the world and to make your city thrive. If you have played city builders before you will recognise the classic elements: Get resources, grow or hunt food, make tools, expand your town. There are no threats from other rivaling cities, only the harsh dangers of nature with cold winters or the ever-present danger of a catastrophe such as fires, diseases or a bad harvest.
I had high expectations on Banished. I have for a very long time waited for a city builder where nature is the only hinderance. I try Sim City every once in a while only to discover I still don’t like the gameplay and most other games about city building are mostly RTS games focusing on military and defence (one example is Stronghold).
So did Banished live up to my expectations? Yes! It’s fun and it keeps me constantly on my toes. It doesn’t tell you what to do: Start a game and you have an open landscape and a build menu – knock yourself out. (But yes, there is an optional tutorial about the different buildings.) There is no “clippy the paperclip” to tell you what you need to fix: Only warnings in your event log (and that is if you decide to enable the event log.) Learn by your mistakes, find a balance in your production, think ahead so that you have all you need for winter. Start over, try again.
I have played two games (on medium difficulty) so far: On my first one, my population became too old and I didn’t get enough children to keep the town going. Turns out people aren’t happy enough with roofs above their heads: In order to make new babies families want a house of their own.
In the second one I traded away most of my tools in order to get sheep to breed only to find out my total tool output must’ve been negative. In just a few seasons none of my villagers had tools. Which meant bad food production. Which meant starvation. (After a rage-quit after the last one it took less than an hour before I started itching to start a new game.)
When it comes to appereance I also like the game: Banished isn’t graphically mind-blowing but it is enough not to be an eye-sore and the graphics never get in the way for gameplay.
If you like city-builders you should definitely try out Banished. It’s a game that can make you happy, angry, or sad; but whatever mood it takes your to I am sure you will still love it.