The settlement life had to be a tough life as well as a rewarding one. From building to farming, everyone had their part to play. Not only did the people have to worry about their own people, but from the outsiders that wanted to take what they thought was theirs without any repercussions of their unwelcome visit. But as time passed, people learned new skills, and resources became manageable, settlements became bigger and more popular. But does developer Handy Games give us the tools to thrive? Let’s find out with Townsmen VR for PlayStation VR2.
Townsmen VR is a city-building game that mixes the elements of a God-game simulation that lets players build and manage a medieval town in a fully immersive virtual reality environment. Taking full advantage of the PlayStation VR2’s advanced features, including its improved display resolution, haptic feedback, and motion controls. So before going in trying to build and expand the land, there are a few things that you should be aware of. First, this game is best played sitting. So find your favorite place and rest your feet. Second, make sure those Sense controllers are charged. You don’t want an enemy army to start attacking and you cannot move your defenses all because you forgot to charge them. Third, I am not going to spoil the story for anyone. And finally, sit back, relax, and have fun. With all that said, let’s continue…
When you first start the game, one thing you might notice is how vibrant the colors are. Looking up and seeing the blue sky and the sun reflecting its light right onto the clouds, you should really start to feel some type of peaceful feeling and also that you have gigantic hands. You do have some choices before starting in the Main Menu. I am going to say that before you even start, go into Options and select Ghost Hands. If not, you will be accidentally hitting and laying the smackdown on all the settlers. With Ghost Hands enabled, this solves that problem. You can still interact with the settlers and objects, but the settlers will thank you for not hitting them. When you are ready, it’s time to start which leads into the Tutorial.
The game does have a story and it’s going start with meeting your personal advisor, Sir Clunkalot, who will be communicating for you. Movement is pretty simple. Press L1 or R1 with your middle finger to move. Grab anywhere to move back and forth or up and down. To move closer or further away, you will just move your hands close to each other or pull them apart. You will be grabbing resources, objects, and settlers with your thumb and index finger which works extremely well. Just be careful not to drop the settlers in the water as you will hear them make sounds like they are needing air and were not really planning on any type of swim for that day. You start out with a small island to get used to how things will work. If you point at an object or settler you can see information about it such as pointing at a chest to reveal what’s inside. Later on, you will start to pay attention to what is going on, but when you first start, or really, at any time, get in as close as possible and just look at the detail that is here.
You will be growing your town with buildings, farms, wells, huts, etc. Your workers get thirsty, so that’s why building a well is needed. Residences are for your settlers, Sawmills turn the logs that your woodcutters cut into planks, and the flour that was farmed is used at the bakery for bread. Your people work hard and they get hungry and thirsty, so make sure the taverns have enough supplies such as fish and meat, but then you have to have a hunter to hunt and a fisherman to fish. Of course, the word may get around how productive your place is and others may want what you have, so you need a defense to help protect your village from attacks that may require a wall so the enemy cannot get through or use a cannon for that extra ounce of security. As you progress, so does the story as you are introduced to different characters who may want something to trade or assistance that will require different tasks to complete. New things will start to be introduced to you such as animals and buildings as well as upgrading structures such as your residences.
One thing you have to keep in mind is that when you are adding structures and depending on the size of real estate you are working with, the distance workers will have to move to collect the resources needed to build. That Sawmill that you put close to where you started because you thought was the ideal location very well could be, but when you are building on the other side of the map, it can take time. Sure you could build more of the same structures, but things may get cluttered quickly. You can always pick up what is needed and drop it close to where it is needed and assign a worker there if that is your strategy, but also know that if needed, you can always tear down what you have built by using the hammer which may clear up that space that could be off be used for something else.
Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. As I mentioned before, PlayStation VR2 brings vibrant colors to life, but it’s not until you get up and close that you really start to notice how sharp the detail can actually be. Watching things being built and just the everyday life of the settlers up close on their level really makes you appreciate the hard work that went into everything from the story to the Sandbox mode. With the sound complemented the gameplay perfectly with the accents of the voices to just the smallest sounds like sawing logs to hearing the fisherman cast their line into the water. It is a real joy to know that the simple sounds come alive as well thanks to the audio, and using the Pulse 3D Audio headset, I had to sit back at times to listen to the people and the music.
There are a few things I would love to see added. First, I would love to have more weather elements used. Having a hurricane or a tornado comes in and then having to have your people take shelter and then repair the damage would just add to the overall package that is presented. Second, future DLC. I would love for there to be more scenarios with more objects, structures, and resources and maybe that is where the weather elements come into play. Third, the ability to use the thumbsticks to move freely with smooth locomotion. And finally, multiplayer. Townsmen VR is only a single-player experience that would benefit from having a small number of online players at one time where they could battle or help build together.
Townsmen VR allows us to use the resources to build a better place and being able to feel everything from trees to the environment with the haptics really adds to the immersive experience. It shows that we all have a place and a part to play in life. Some parts require leadership while other parts may require creativity. Sometimes it takes asking for a helping hand when we may not normally, but sometimes it takes offering that helping hand to show that if we all work together instead of against each other, then we could all build for that better tomorrow.
Townsmen VR is out now for PlayStation VR2 and is also available for Oculus Rift/S on the Oculus Store, Steam VR, and Viveport. A review code was provided.
To learn more about Handy Games, please visit their site, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, follow them on Instagram, and subscribe to their YouTube channel.
Also, check out the Townsmen VR video review:
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I am going to see what else I can upgrade and build.