To say that TownCraft is like every other city-building games would be a total understatement. On the Appstore there is a ton of city building game, some are good, but most of them are total bullsh*t. Luckily Towncraft’s place is along with the good ones, but it has an untapped potential that could make it the best city builder game ever.
As soon as you start playing TownCraft, the resemblance to other games like Farmville or any other *ville game is strikingly similar and the same goes for the gameplay. You control your avatar by tapping on the screen, zoom in/out by pinching etc. A quick tutorial will help you get started as you will learn to gather wood and stones, craft a basic axe and give overall information of how some of the game mechanics works. Then it is up to your imagination and here’s where the game misses the opportunity to be something special.
In the world you are thrown in there are a lot of materials you can gather and use to craft items. Similarly like in Minecraft you can craft basic tools yourself, but for more complicated items you’ll need crafting tables, furnaces etc. So what’s the problem? Well, the crafting system is so so deep that you won’t know what to do or how to craft the items the game asks you for. Now it wouldn’t be a problem if the system was kinda forgiving and intuitive like in Minecraft, but here, for example, just to make a simple wooden door, you have to craft planks from raw wood, then turn the planks or the raw wood into long poles, then the long poles into short ones, then the later into a door knob, then combine the door knob with the planks to make a door, or something like that. Sure it makes sense, but it takes a lot time, a lot of trial and error to find the correct combination and well, that’s boring. I had to craft some iron cutlery and I was stuck, I didn’t know what to do!
The problem is that, the game doesn’t have tutorials on how to craft things. There are like 160+ recipes for things to craft and yeah some might make sense, but most of them are just insane to craft. I don’t have time to mix and match elements for hours upon end till I end up with the right thing. Other than the crazy deep crafting system, Towncraft has some other mechanics like farming, mining, town building etc.
You can find wheat in the wilderness and if you harvest it, you can plant it. Once planted the wheat will keep growing over and over again and the same goes for the trees, berries, grapes etc. You can build whole plantations with different products and you can use what you earn from trading them to buy more stuff to plant. But you can also use the coins to hire other people to do the work for you. Hire farmers to take care of your crops, lumberjacks to cut down wood, fishermen, barmen, miners etc. Build homes with beds, fireplaces, tables etc. inside and people will start to move in. Then trade what they have gathered to hire more people, pay the current ones or expand the town. It’s a lot of fun and quite challenging to create a sort-of self sustaining town, but as with the crafting system, you’ll have to do a ton of experimentation since there’s no proper tutorial or guide, just a one sentence hint system.
Being a premium game, it doesn’t have the bullsh*t elements many other city-builder have like the bullsh*t energy bars or the bullsh*t in app-purchases. You only pay once and everything is unlocked since the beginning and that’s good!
Presentation wise, the game has a unique art-style that some people might like, some not so much. I, myself don’t really like it. It kinda looks like the 90’s morning cartoons that no one liked or watched that looked like cheap book illustrations. The UI is another element that I didn’t like. Ugly, cluttered with useless stuff and not very intuitive. Sound effects feel extremely cheap and for as long as I played, I didn’t hear any music playing in the background although the game has a “Mute Music” button…
TownCraft, in my opinion, is a missed opportunity. It has some very deep systems which if they were described properly and more intuitive for the player, would have made the game something really unique. But that doesn’t mean that the game is bad or anything cause if you give it enough of your time to fully explore all three the scenarios and the many challenges it offers, it may turn into that unique experience. Basically what I am saying is that if you have a ton of free time to spend around mix and matching stuff, TownCraft might be definitely for you, but if you are looking for quick 5 minute play sessions, this game is not for you. Thanks for reading!