Monday, March 12, 2018

Northgard Gameplay Review

I'm playing Northgard, a real-time strategy game by Shiro Games.

The game features a linear campaign with different mission objectives and a skirmish mode (both online and offline against the AI) featuring random maps and varied clans that give different bonuses. Attaining victory involves conquering the map, mastering trade, defeating a powerful boss, reaching the end of the tech tree, or simply accumulating a high score. The interface is very well done, displaying lots of pertinent information without taking up a lot of space. It is easy to see how your citizens are assigned and where gaps in resource production lie. Each citizen can be assigned a job at a particular building: scouts (to explore new map areas), woodcutters, farmers, healers, fishermen, hunters, merchants, soldiers, researchers, and brewers (to raise happiness levels). You can also place houses to increase the population cap and silos to store food for the winter. Each province can only support a small number of structures, so tough decisions are made regarding what to build where. You will also have to carefully balance the economy so any particular resource does not become scarce. Beyond food and wood, krowns earned from merchants are used for upkeep and military recruitment, stone and iron and mined for unit and building upgrades, and lore is researched at specific locations. Adjacent territories can be captured once defending units are disposed of by the military; units placed in the same province as an enemy will automatically attack. Northgard strikes a good balance between automating certain tasks (resource collection and transport) and giving the user control (assigning workers ad building placement), although the game has a slow pace with noticeable waiting for new citizens or winter to pass. Northgard is a challenging, unique real-time strategy game with a focus on careful management and tough decisions.