Overall Rating: 3.5-stars/5-stars
When it comes to popular city simulators, some of the best ones that come to mind are Caesar III, SimCity, and Zeus & Poseidon. The earliest game came out in 1999. They've been setting the standard for 15 years now, and they're just as popular today.
So when a new game comes along, it faces quite a challenge from its predecessors. Enter "1849," from SomaSim. The game takes place in the state of California during the gold rush era. It starts out like any other city builder and has many similar mechanics. So, the questions that remain are: what does this game do to set it apart from other games like it? Does it stand up to the games from the past?
SomaSim was nice enough to send us a copy for review. So, scroll down to check out what Boston Games Examiner thought of "1849" and all it has to offer. As always, don't forget to hit the like button is you thought this review was helpful. Don't forget to follow me on Twitter and Facebook as well.
Clean looking game with a Western theme
It's a very clean looking game. The added Western theme is a fun touch. In the game you can build things like Saloons, Hunting Camps, and Gold Panning stations. Fans of Westerns and early United States history enthusiasts will enjoy it very much. The way the story progresses is nice too. The player starts with a small town to learn the basics and as you progress through the game the towns you are left in charge of become larger and larger. The whole time, you're learning how to create a growing and thriving town given the limited resources from back then.
The game provides a challenge
In the later parts of the game, you can select the difficulty of each map on a Bronze, Silver, or Gold rating system. Bronze is the easiest setting, while Gold is the hardest. An example of the Bronze difficulty would be allowing the player to start with $4000. An example of the Gold difficulty would be starting with some resources already established, but with only $1000. The smaller cash amount makes things difficult because you buildings cost money to operate. So players begin the game losing money, technically speaking and must work their way up.
The game is very simple
If you've played a city builder before, then it seems like you've played them all. There is no exception with "1849." In fact, in some parts of the game, it feels like it's been simplified. Here's a quick example. In Caesar III, players needed to build a Forum within walking distance in order to tax their residents. Otherwise, their citizens would be living in the city for free. No income would be coming into the government making it difficult to provide for their needs. In "1849," residents will automatically pay you rent based on the level of their housing. So, if they're just living in a cabin, they'll pay you up to $10 a week. If they're living in a mansion their rent will shoot up to over $20 a week.
Limited options in the options menu
Speaking of simple, the game might be a little too simple. A definite con would have to be the limited options in the settings menu. You can only toggle the volume on and off. There's no slider to adjust the volume of the game. It does split up the on/off options between the music and the sound effects. Still, being able to adjust the volume is a basic option that all games should have. For this not to have it is silly. The same goes for the ability to adjust the game's resolution. Players only have the option to go between full screen and windowed mode.
Final Verdict: Get it...but
For a small and simple game, it's a little expensive. You can purchase it for $4.99 for the tablet version and, until tomorrow, for $12.74 via Steam. When the offer ends, you'll be able to buy it for the normal price of $14.99. For much less you can buy games like "Terraria" and "FTL;" these are games that are much more in-depth and provide a lot more for the price. If this game were $4.99 that would be ideal. It might even be worth it at $9.99. However, at a normal price of $14.99, you may have to give this one a quick thought.
In the end, if you do decide to purchase the game, then you should have fun with it. The game adheres to its theme and the game play is easy. While the options in the settings are overly simple, this is something that can be easily overlooked. If the game play is simple, then it should be no surprise that the settings will be just as simple. The game is currently out and available for PC, Mac, iPad, and Android tablets.