From publisher and developer Handygames, comes Townsmen: A Kingdom Rebuilt. An updated/remaster of a town-building sim that has plenty of depth, challenge, and a fair amount of charm to it. It’s easy to pick up and play, but extremely hard to put down.
Split into sections, the first six levels are dressed up as story-mode but actually serve as extended tutorials. It’s here, players will learn how to turn a small town into a big city, all while creating a thriving economy, completing tasks for the King, his advisors and the townspeople, and dealing with natural disasters and bandit raids.
Once those have been completed, it’s all about the scenarios and endless mode. With the former offering up varied levels, different challenges, and tasks that need to be completed to finish that particular scenario. Whereas the latter is exactly what it sounds like, play endlessly with the player able to change aspects of the experience in the menu before starting.
Regardless of tasks set, the goal is always the same, build and expand a town. Ensuring that food, water, clothes, tools, weapons, and more are readily available. Each part of a building block that turns your town into a bustling city.
Building blocks that begin with simple buildings such as a farm to harvest wheat, a fishing hut to provide food, a well for water, a log cabin so trees can be chopped down, and a mine so stone can be dug up. Assign a townsperson to the building and work will commence immediately with supplies going to your castle and warehouses without you having to do anything.
As you expand, more people can be invited into your town by building more houses, but with that comes more demand for food and water. You’re forced to constantly build as entertainment, religion, booze, and more become necessary to keep your townspeople happy. The last think you want is a strike or a refusal to pay taxes. After all, no money, no way to build.
As you progress, expansion feels natural as you’re able to cope with bigger demands. Sheep and pig farms, smelters, barracks, vineyards, and so much more might require a lot of resources to build but piece by piece, the building blocks fall into place.
It sounds quite deep, and it is, but not so much as to ever feel particularly difficult, especially as players get into a rhythm of how to start and progress towns.
This is where the different scenarios and the tasks come into play. Where time limits, changing seasons, limited maps, and threats force you to play in different ways. Some can be a lot of fun, others can be frustrating (mainly the timed ones), but each offer enough variety to keep on playing.
It’s a good, simplified, lengthy town-building experience but not without its flaws. Most relating to limitations on things (such as trade), the repair mechanic, and bandit attacks. The latter, being where more control would have been nice as the simplified approach here just feels empty and pointless.
Visually, the game’s cartoony hand-drawn art style is nice to look at and the zoom function really allows you to see just how detailed everything is. There are very few visual glitches and some occasional lag when your town has reached a huge size. Nothing game-breaking though. The game’s music and sound effects are lacking though. The former is the same tune played repeatedly, whereas the latter is ‘sim-like’ and kind of annoying. Although not so much that it ruins the overall experience.
An experience that many will get a lot of joy out of and easily sink 20+ hours into. Even more if the Seaside Empire addition is picked up. Giving players new levels for endless mode and new scenarios to complete in a more ‘sea’ based locale. Nothing game-changing but nice extra content to enjoy.
Townsmen: A Kingdom Rebuilt (Xbox Series X)
The Final Score - 7.5/10