MWC 2012: First look at city-building game Townsmen for Android and iOS


MWC 2012: First look at city-building game Townsmen for Android and iOS
| Townsmen

Now is not the best time to be a fan of city-building or time-management titles.

Both genres - along with social games - have been commandeered by industry folk and lumped (incorrectly) under the general freemium umbrella, the business model of which carries all kinds of negative connotations.

While the reboot of Townsmen will be available for free on both iOS and Android, don't, however, mistake its cute medieval graphics for a FarmVille-styled game.

The core gameplay still works on the same principles as its Pocket Gamer Gold Award-winning Java forebears. Only this time, the title offers a better- and brighter-looking experience than ever before, thanks to the extra horsepower available to developers on today's smartphones.

Settle down

In the early build I saw of Townsmen for Android and iOS at Mobile World Congress, the single-player portion wasn't up and running, but the building and supply chain-management elements were very much in place.

As in top Amiga title The Settlers (or, for a more contemporary reference, Anno), your task is to establish a thriving community of townsfolk, who harvest the land for its resources (grain and wheat, rather than oil and gas), and produce finished goods to use.

Examples shown during the demonstration included vineyards (that supply winemakers) and a miller creating flour to feed the bakery.

No destructions

Unlike the most recent Java entry Townsmen 6, the smartphone title doesn't have any evil monarch or opposition fighting against you.

Instead, HandyGames is looking to make this a more friendly but no less deep re-imaginging of the series, with in-app purchases available for those that want them.

Dismiss thoughts of waiting hours for buildings to be constructed, though. There's always a fast-forward button available, so the onus shifts from producing the best supply chains to producing cash - rather than spending real money for anything to happen.

It's worth waiting a little bit, mind, as there's a ton of incidental animations and sound effects specific to certain buildings (like the hustle and bustle of the market).

In fact, it's the most expensive game HandyGames has hitherto produced, no doubt partially due to all the detail piled into the isometric graphics.

We'll find out if it's worth settling down with when Townsmen is released on both iOS and Android in the second quarter of the year.

Will Wilson
Will Wilson
Will's obsession with gaming started off with sketching Laser Squad levels on pads of paper, but recently grew into violently shouting "Tango Down!" at random strangers on the street. He now directs that positive energy into his writing (due in no small part to a binding court order).