Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Clockwork Empires Gameplay Review

I'm playing Clockwork Empires, a colony management simulation by Gaslamp Games.

The game features randomly generated maps in different biomes with no overall objective, other than survival and expansion. While the interface allows for multiple ways of finding information (like building queues), being able to queue up multiple projects on the same module would be helpful. In addition, being able to search for resources on the map would be a welcome feature. Overseers perform as managers, working in a building or picking available tasks (like chopping trees, foraging for food, or mining surface rocks) on a specific daily schedule; laborers are attached to an overseer and will automatically assist. Each colonist has extensive memories of past events that dictate their levels of happiness, despair, anger, and fear, which in turn affect their ability to work. Colonists will also level up at specific skills they routinely perform, making them better at their job. Raw resources are collected from the landscape, grown in farms, or mined. These are processed in different buildings on various pieces of equipment; the building layouts are custom designed by the player, allowing for different plans based on current needs and giving a more varied look to the colony. Multi-step production in Clockwork Empires is interesting, although the steps and equipment required for make a specific good may not be intuitive. Other factions in the area may be friendly or hostile; trade can be initiated to secure goods that are not plentiful at your location, and enemy factions can invade your colony. Strange beasts roam the landscape and terrorize the colonists, and cults may form when citizen behaviors warrant them. While the early game is fairly repetitive (the same initial structures are used every time) and some aspects of the user interface could be improved, Clockwork Empires is a very compelling management game thanks to its distinctive theme, detailed citizens, customized building layouts, multi-step item production, and hostile environment.