August 28, 2023

The Bromantic Bro-venture in Grid-based Gaming - Folklands (Steam) Impressions

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The Bromantic Bro-venture in Grid-based Gaming - Folklands (Steam) Impressions

By Joel | August 28, 2023

Tales have been told of the legendary triple threat in the entertainment world – the Jonas Brothers, the Bee Gees, and now, rising up in the ranks of indie gaming, the brothers behind Bromantic Games. With genes presumably infused with pixels and a shared joypad since birth, these three siblings have conjured up a delightful game into the world of settlement building: Folklands.

Discover the next indie gaming sensation on Steam with "Folklands" by the talented Bromantic Games trio.

Build, Relax, and Thrive

As the saying goes, "Everything old is new again," and Folklands embodies this motto perfectly. Its grid-based mechanics are a nostalgic nod to classics like the original Settlers, making many a millennial reminisce about those 90s Amiga gaming sessions. Yet, it adds the subtle gameplay elements of the venerable Age of Empires, minus the clash of swords and clang of shields, of course.

As you start on this tranquil builder, your primary focus are your townsfolks who are the lifeblood of your growing settlement. With each new woodcutter's lodge or stonecutter encampment you build, you're not just adding infrastructure, you're laying the foundation of a bustling, and hopefully, a thriving society. Want to give your folks a place to call home? Craft a few houses. Looking to quench their thirst and fill their bellies? Dig a well and set-up a berry shop. And for those particularly hot Summer nights, ensure the town's safety with a trusty fire depot.

Begin your Folklands journey here on Steam.

Discover the next indie gaming sensation on Steam with "Folklands" by the talented Bromantic Games trio.

Canvas of Dreams

On the graphical side, Folklands strikes that rare balance of simplicity and charm. The tiny sprite figures evoke a sense of nostalgia, yet are rendered with a contemporary flair that feels and looks fresh. The world is vibrant, and though its citizens may be tiny, their presence is mighty.

Now, let's talk about the music and sound effects. Gentle, melodic tunes set the tone, giving the game a feel somewhere between a zen garden and your favorite department store elevator. The ambient sounds, which includes the chirping of birds, the splashes of water, and industrious banging of metal on rock immerses you deeper making it feel like there really is a tiny world inside your monitor.

Yet, despite all of its promising features, no game is without its quirks and Folklands, while captivating (so much so that a supposed quick session stretched into a 3-hour marathon for me), could use some sprucing up.

For one, road connections occasionally throw tantrums, refusing to link up, and the delightful structures could benefit from some extra animated zest, like spinning wheels and billowing chimneys. Plus, imagine the charm of squirrels or small critters running about the landscape, or the poetic fall of leaves as a tree meets its lumbering end.

Discover the next indie gaming sensation on Steam with "Folklands" by the talented Bromantic Games trio.

Where Serenity Meets Strategy

All-in-all however, Folklands feels like a captivating book that you planned to read just one chapter of before bed, but ended up finishing at 2 am. It pays tribute to the classic charm and strategy of Settlers, infused with the Bromantic touch. With a bit more animation magic and some adjustments to the gameplay, Folklands has the potential to become the hidden gem that we never knew we wanted.

Note: The impressions above is based solely on the recently released demo on Steam.

Looking for more indie gaming recommendations? Check out our Indie section here.

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