TownCraft (iPad) review: If Minecraft and Terraria had a baby…
Authored by Zarmena Khan
TownCraft is an indie crafting and exploration game developed for the iPad and iPad mini, and is the debut title from Flat Earth Games. The game will soon be available for the iPhone as well. I call it the offspring of Minecraft and Terraria as it bears resemblence to both titles, but is a lot more casual and easy to get the hang of.
While TownCraft doesn’t have a story, it does have a background. We find ourselves somewhere in the middle of a “medieval settlement in the woods”, and the aim is to work our way “up”. Terrain is rich with natural resources and everything we need to get started; rocks, stones, trees, you name it – appears to be in abundance.
One of the most intriguing aspects of this game is how it makes you start from scratch. I began my little quest on one of the few different maps available by equipping myself with some wood sticks and stones to make a hatchet. I then used that hatchet to cut logs and create a wood working table and log cabins for construction purposes.
The problem that casual games like these (especially those made for mobile devices) tend to suffer from is a lack of content and creativity. TownCraft is the exact opposite. I was surprised to note the game includes trading of goods, hiring and firing of peasants, and quests from Nobles among other enriching features. That’s a lot of stuff to keep you busy. I quite enjoyed building a furnace to produce items from silver, which I subsequently sold to purchase commodities that I required.
The advantage of players working their way up solo and having full control of their own progress is that it makes the game progressively satisfying. TownCraft isn’t all about building and exploration, however. The in-game world includes people from various backgrounds that you can interact with; from Lumberjacks looking for work to wealthy people dropping by to purchase items from you.
Rest assured, you won’t be spending hours figuring out what to do and consequently making a start. The in-game tutorial is sufficient to get you going straight away. The gameplay is simple enough for any type of gamer to get acquainted with in no time. One minor quibble I do have is that the controls can feel a little funny at times. I was playing the game on an iPad mini and noted that if I direct my characters to move to an area far away, they wouldn’t turn up where I wanted them to be. Additionally, areas with a lot of trees and plantation can obstruct the movement of your character to some degree.
TownCraft’s graphics are well above average and presentation-wise, the game is great, although simplistic. It’s exactly what you would expect from a game like this. The music is also pleasant, but sadly minimalist, so I didn’t get to hear much of it.
You’ll be pleased to know that TownCraft is also spam-free. There are absolutely no frustrating ads or micro-transactions. It’s a $5 game that offers you great value for money without luring you into spending more. So here’s your chance to push aside “games” like Farmville and escape the world of micro-transactions. The only downside of playing TownCraft that I can think of is that it’s ridiculously addictive.
In a nutshell, TownCraft is what you make of it. It truly sucks you in and before you know it, you’ll find yourself spending hours on the sofa, building an imaginary village from the ground up.
- Simple and satisfying
- Fun and addictive
- Packed with content
- Controls need slight improvement
Final verdict: 9/10 (Enjoyment guaranteed)
We were given a review code for TownCraft by one of the developers, Rohan Harris. The game is available for the iPad and iPad mini for $4.99 through iTunes. I hired more people than I could afford to pay, but felt good about providing some employment!