This title was reviewed on Nintendo Switch, but is also available on Android and iOS.
Something had been nagging me about this game while I was playing it. At first I thought maybe I just wasn’t used to playing city builders on either a very small or very large screen. Then I thought maybe the scrolling was giving me motion sickness. Then I wondered if perhaps the the strange noises the characters make were giving me a migraine. But no, dear reader, none of these were the culprit. I found the nagging problem after a simple search to see where Townsmen had popped up before joining the Switch. And yes, it is a mobile game.
Now the mystery is solved, is it actually any good on Switch?
Well, sure. Let’s just say that it’s a solid ‘fine’. The ‘mobileness’ of Townsmen is definitely still there, you can see it in the menus (menus within menus, within menus) and art style. Easily selectable and moved by touch and drag, everything is purpose made for a touch screen. But to be fair, they’ve switched the controls over for Switch quite competently. On Switch they felt absolutely fine. Using the sticks to navigate through the menus and move around the screen caused no troubles. And let us all hail the removal of in app purchases. Just let us buy our games whole (this is your political statement for the day). Kthxbai.
There are lots of buildings and creating a little metropolis was fun for about one scenario mission. While there’s a sandbox mode, it was all but impossible to play. Sandbox, usually the most appealing type of play for this style of game, is a hot mess. The full reliance on randomisation meant that you could get quests for things which you have no hope of getting within the time frame to complete. And never, ever turn bandit mode on. It’s almost an auto-fail as they overrun you well before you have time to do anything about them. That said, there were a tonne of different landscape styles to play and if you turn Bandit mode off and ignore quests you can’t complete, it’s okay.
Once you’re done with the scenarios, you’re probably done for good. It’s reasonably complex for this type of game, but lacks a lot of the imagination found in modern version of this game style such as Banished. There’s really nothing new here.
And I mean that most sincerely. There is nothing new to report. It is almost exactly like the old Settlers games. So if you like those well enough, you’ll get a bit of enjoyment out of this. Think – buildings, people management, disasters, seasonal changes and a bit of combat.
I found myself picking it up for half an hour, then getting bored and walking away (le gasp! Like a mobile game). At one point I was too bored to even push the fast forward button to make it all go faster. I just put the Switch down and went and played something on my gaming PC instead. Funnily, that fast forward button was my ‘normal speed’, and I ended up getting annoyed that I couldn’t make it go even faster.
The graphics are cartoony, which made them pretty ageless but also clearly made for mobile. The weird noises the characters make grated on my ears (there’s a reason one of my first questions was ‘did they give me a migraine?’) and the music was… I actually don’t remember. Let’s go with forgettable? I think it was okay?
Like I said, this game is just fine. If you have any love for the old city builder games like Age of Empires or Settlers, pick this up on sale and have an easy time for 20 minutes while you’re on a bus.