• TownCraft review - Goal driven freedom

    Platform: iOS
    Rating: 8.5
    Price: $5.49

    By Stephen Heller

    Minecraft and Terraria are two games I desparately want to love, but thanks to their open-ended worlds, I find a lack of structure forces me to give up. I need something that gives me freedom, yet carefully implements an objective or goal system that lets me pick my battles and gain a real sense of accomplishment.

    TownCraft is the answer to my prayers.

    You begin in the wilderness, surrounded by mother nature and a single road that runs from one side of the map to another. From the very beginning TownCraft gives you goals to achieve, but they never seem forced. Collect some twigs and some rocks to create a stone axe. Use said axe to chop down some trees to find logs. Use the logs to create a woodworking bench. Use logs on the new bench to create planks, to create a house, to create a small town.

    Each new discovery flows into a new objective, instantly triggering a shot of happiness as you slowly progress to building a bustling village.

    TownCraft uses a basic crafting system that should be familiar to anyone who has spent time with Minecraft or Terraria. Combining a slew of items together will create precious tools and resources, which are used throughout the town to make it a better place. There's a certain satisfaction when combining elements together to create an item you didn't know existed in the game.

    As your town increases in size, so will the population. Need to turn a profit? Sell some of your wares to traders passing by. Need some extra people to work on a particularly taxing project? You can always hire some eager workers wanting to spend some time in your glorious town.

    Balancing the books may seem a little humdrum when talking about a game experience, but TownCraft manages to make it seem a fun part of the process. You may be employing people to catch your fish and mill your wheat, but you'll also need to have money to pay those employees. Selling your goods will net you a tidy sum of money, but it's the production quests that will help you keen on top of your mounding debt. You'll need to make sure everything is working in harmony, with enough money coming in and enough progress in your industries working together to help your town grow.

    The scope of TownCraft is surprisingly large for a mobile game. To be honest, I wasn't expecting to find a farming system, let alone a crafting system as robust as is on display from a team of two devs, but Flat Earth Games has certainly knocked it out of the park with their auspicious debut.

    While I personally enjoyed the exploration of the crafting system, I can see that many people would become frustrated when trying to create some of the more advanced items in the game. While there are some hints along the way, perhaps the team could do a little more for the casual audience.

    The Final Verdict
    TownCraft is addictive, charming and full of surprises. It smartly offers enough content for those who are deep into the Minecraft rabbit hole, but keeps it broad enough that fans of Farmville will find plenty to enjoy. More importantly not a single in-app purchase to be found! That is an impressive feat, considering how easy it would have been to implement such a system in a game that requires resources to progress.

    This article originally appeared on MMGN

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