If you were part of a settlement, do you know what everyone’s job would be? How would one keep up with what needed to be built and where? Would there be someone to make the food? What about protection or even being there for religious beliefs? But what if the help you needed was right above you giving you guidance every step of the way? Being part of something new can be scary and interesting at the same time. So does developer HandyGames show us what it’s like when you mix building and the interactive possibilities of Virtual Reality? Let’s find out with Townsmen VR for PCVR.
Townsmen VR is a strategy city-building game that mixes it with the elements of a God-game simulation. Build and upgrade buildings along with a thrilling story with many exciting quests as you try to lead these settlers to thrive on each of the islands. So before you go in and try to solve everyone’s problems, there are a few things you should know. First, find your favorite place to either sit. You can play standing, but you are already on your feet a lot in your life, so might as well be comfortable. Second? Your hands are big compared to these settlers, so be careful when you are around them. Third, make sure those controllers are not about to die. You don’t want to have a settler in your hand only to then drop them in the water because you didn’t check. And finally, just get ready to have some fun.
When you first start Townsmen VR, you will be presented with options. Do you want to dive right in, select your level, play in the Sandbox Mode (where you just play on your own terms without the story), or maybe you have some settings to make sure you have the best overall experience that you can have? It’s all up to you. But I would recommend you just start the game so you can get into the tutorial on how to move around. Plus, it gives you a chance to be introduced to your own personal advisor, Sir Clunk-a-lot. To move is really simple. Just grab any air space to move back and forth as well as up and down. To turn around you move one hand forward and one hand back to be able to turn around.
Once you have the basics of movement down, it’s time to move on to the first island where it continues with the tutorial. Here is where you can learn how to read the different info buttons of objects such as stock and people, see the island info with your current tasks in case you forget what you need to do next (you will use this as the action starts to pick up), population, and resources. You have a build menu where based on the number of resources you have, you can have your people construct a new building.
Of course, settlers will need to perform different jobs. You will need stone and wood to help build those buildings. So you just simply pick up a settler and move them over to a tree and that will be their new job. Move a settler to start working on collecting stone and that will be the job. Same thing when it comes to collecting food, farming (don’t forget to build the windmill to help with those crops), mining, and so on. But of course, if you only have one settler doing one job, it will take a very long time for anything to get done on the island. So feel free to have multiple settlers doing the same job to move things along. But remember, if you need more settlers, you have to build a residence.
As you progress and start to get a feel of things and start to see new things appear like different animals. You will encounter different tasks that you need to complete. Some of these captains are really greedy, but you are trying to be peaceful and plus, it’s part of the fun. Tasks can be things such as needing a certain amount of objects such as boards and stones. This means that you will need to get more settlers to do some of the same jobs, so again, things can move along. And remember, you don’t always have to keep the same view. You can move in closer to be on the same level as the settlers and this way you can see even more details and move around the settlers as they are performing their jobs and tasks.
Now, not everything will be peaceful as there will be those that want to attack your island so they can take what everyone else has worked so hard for. This is where you will need to move your rally flag so that your troops can start defending and protecting. However, the ones that are attacking, can come from in any direction and will start to bring more of their henchmen. But the fighting will not be easy. If the henchmen bring their strength in numbers and you don’t have enough troops or if they are too powerful, then they can tear down or burn your houses which causes three settlers to be gone. But this is where you start to build the barracks, catapults, bows, and crossbows to help protect as best as you can.
Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. Even when looking at things from a distance, everything is very clear. I really liked how on the first island it was all foggy, but still making everything out. Seeing things up close, again, has a number of details that make you appreciate such as the facial expressions from the settlers’ everyday routines to even you pick them up to move them to a different spot, accidentally knock them over which is really quite amusing (remember your hands are bigger than them and things can become this laughable time on its own when trying to reach for a certain person) to even just watching the buildings being built up close and personal that the developer has put in the time and energy to make. The sound matched the game perfectly with the Medieval music that plays bringing the fun and immersion that is not too loud. The voice work fits as well with the English accent that compliments the atmosphere and overall experience.
There are a few things that I would love to see added. For one, more islands. There are a good number of islands to try and conquer with each of the tasks and each one having a different tone to it. I mean being out in the snow and seeing a bear moving towards you is awesome. And yes, there is the Sandbox mode, but it would be fun to see additional scenarios and quests added in, if not, in the future as DLC. Second, multiplayer. Townsmen VR is single-player only, but this would be fun of having where you can play up to four players total, with bigger islands, trading, alliances, and traders. Then if you had voice chat, it could be a comedic blast to play. Third, bringing the game to other platforms. Right now, Townsmen VR is out on PCVR, but I can see where this would be a blast for the Quest/2 and PlayStation VR/2 platforms. Hopefully, this will happen in the future. And finally, I would love to see even more weapons and buildings added. Yes, you can upgrade, but seeing even newer buildings and more medieval weapons would be an extra bonus to have.
Townsmen VR gives us the ability to help build from a different perspective all while trying to give a helping hand. It allows for each one of us to have a place to do our part to accomplish a goal. But most importantly, it shows that if we all work together, we can make anything if we set our hearts and our minds. And shouldn’t we all work together more rather than trying to tear each apart?
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In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I need to go build some more.