Tobold's Blog
Thursday, May 01, 2014
The Promised Land

Besides selling you triple-A games with a good discount during sales, Steam is also increasingly selling tons and tons of cheap indie games. Those are always a bit of hit or miss: There are a lot of derivative games with low production values among them, but also some gems of genres that the big game companies don't do any more. And they are cheap. I bought The Promised Land for $6, and played it through in 14 hours, which I consider a good amount of fun for the money. Especially for a PC game, because games that cost ten times as much frequently don't offer ten times that play time.

The Promised Land is a casual city building game. Unlike the casual city building games you might find on mobile platforms, it is not Free2Play, there are no "in app" purchases. You can't accelerate a building process by spending real money. Unusually for a city builder, The Promised Land has a well-defined end. Once you build everything you'll find the Spring of Eternal Happiness and while you *can* play on, there really isn't a good reason to. Nor would you want to play the game again. But during the once through play, the game is quite fun.

This isn't "Banished". It is not a hardcore game in which you learn how to play by a constant stream of failures. Which does not mean that it is trivial. You still get to make a lot of interesting decisions, like what to train your settlers in, or whether to put everybody on an urgent rush job or to build up everything slowly and in parallel. Especially for people who haven't played a lot of games like Settlers or Anno, The Promised Land is a good introduction to the genre. You get feedback when things are going suboptimally, but not in a frustrating way.

Besides the core city-building game, there is also an Angry Birds type of mini-game in The Promised Land, but it doesn't take up much of your play time. At the end there is a puzzle mini-game, but if you don't want to do that, there is a friendly "skip" button. The rest of the time you are busy assigning your settlers to various tasks, producing goods that either help you to build your city, or that you sell to buy things for your colony. That trading part is well done: If you repeatedly sell the same goods, prices go down. And sometimes certain goods are in high demand and you can sell them at a bigger profit.

Overall of course The Promised Land can't compete with triple-A games. But if you are looking for a casual city-builder that doesn't demand too much of a committment from you, this might just be the game.

It looked interesting when I saw it in the new releases tab on Steam, but couldn't find any reliable info about it. Now that I know it's not just a farmville rip off I'll probably buy it, thanks for this post.
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On the subject of Indie games have you tried FTL? Might be your kind of thing.
Do Steam games offer a method of following another user and seeing their recommendations? I've never bothered getting involved with the community side of things.
@dobable: Yes, they do!
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