Since Minecraft, the Survival Genre has become so saturated that reviewers can’t help but compare new games to previous ones. Titles like “It’s Like Minecraft BUT!” will rear their ugly heads across the internet. However, I think I’ve finally stumbled upon a survival game that, with clever mixing of genres and a little bit of hard work, is quite unlike any other survival game I have played.
Medieval Dynasty is being developed by Render Cube a small Polish game company. They have worked on MONSTER LEAGUE, a little racing game available on Steam, so switching to a realistic medieval town building survival sim is quite the U-Turn. Especially considering, as I mentioned, how saturated the market is for the grand genre of survival. But the crafty devils had a trick up their sleeves.
Medieval Dynasty is not your run of the mill survival game. In theory you could play it like that but the objective of the game is to build a small town, gather villagers, sire an heir and help create your legacy. The intention is that once your character dies you then play as your son, then their son and so on.
You might think that for £22.99 it’s a little steep for an Early Access title but I want to stop that thought right there and say this game is well worth the asking price. If you have been paying attention (and look at the screenshots my wonderful editor has sprinkled in) you will notice how gorgeous this game looks. This. Game. Is. BEAUTIFUL! I thoroughly enjoyed simply wandering the woods in this game. The world feels alive as you live through season to season.
A pretty face is not the only thing this game has. It’s already a pretty detailed farming game. You mark your plot, hoe the dirt, fertilise it, hoe it again, then plant your seeds. Certain seeds are sown in different seasons and some take more than one season to mature. So you need to consider what to buy and sell when. The other added step is you have to go to one of the nearby towns to sell your veggies and you have a carry weight. All of these little steps are made easier as you progress, as they should be.
Instead of being rewarded with a better watering can or hoe, such as Stardew Valley, you instead grow your village and assign workers to different jobs. As long as your villagers are well fed and kept warm they will continue to chop wood, mine iron, sow seeds, plough fields, catch fish, craft bows, care for animals and many other tasks. The range of jobs for your villagers is wonderfully vast which means that every time you get just one new villager it feels like an accomplishment. The game marks this with the same tune you get when you finish a quest and so it should. Your village is growing and you deserve to celebrate!
Since I mentioned it, let’s talk about the music. Right now there aren’t a lot of tracks in the game but each one is so evocative of the medieval period that it perfectly immerses you in the setting and whatever it is your doing. Barring a few occasional glitches where the music will just randomly stop it really creates a peaceful atmosphere for you the player.
The mechanics of game is far from complete. After all it is in early Alpha. Normally I’d consider that a heavy pinch of salt to take but honestly the developers have already put so much work into this game that I think it’s all up from here. The only warning I will give is that the developers are clearly very keen on adding more steps and making things more realistic/complicated. For example previously you would fertilise your plots with manure, now you turn that manure into fertilizer in a barn or use some of your rotten food to create the same fertiliser. So you can either buy the game now and learn the basics but expect them to change or wait until its full release and be prepared to be a little more bombarded with information.
As you might expect of a medieval survival game, hunting is a key part of it. While you’re not getting theHunter: Call Of The Wild, you are getting a solid baseline system that can only be improved upon. You have different types of bow and arrow to hunt with each with their own strenghts and weaknesses. Animals take different amounts of damage (and also react differently) to being shot in different parts of the body. Want to sneak up on a bear? Well shooting it in its big soft bottom isn’t going to hurt as much as an iron arrow through the skull is it? A crossbow is going to do much more damage than a longbow but it also doesn’t have nearly the same distance. (There’s a reason the Battle of Crécy went so poorly for the French.)
Right now, the game is a fairly relaxed survival experience. However. the developers plan on increasing the difficulty of the game such as adding bandits to assail you when you’re weighed down with gold from your recent sales and creating the need to protect your own town from wolves and other wild animals.
The only two significant issues I see with the game both involve representation. First off you can’t (currently) plays as a woman in the game and I’ve not seen anything to say they’re planning on this. While there is some level of realism to that idea, I don’t think it would harm the game all that much if you could. The other is that currently everyone in the game is caucasian and after the controversy Kingdom Come: Deliverance went through (because yes there were black/brown people in medieval Europe) I would recommend Render Cube consider this and possibly add that extra level of realism to the game. (If you remember Deliverance was review bombed for not only its lack of inclusion but also the developers rather aggressive response to it.)
Overall the game is a winner for me even in such an early stage. For the more discerning customer all I can say is that the developers have laid an absolutely wonderful base for an amazing game to be built. Frankly there’s nothing quite like it on the market. I’ve seen comparisons to Kingdom Come: Deliverance, which, barring being in a medieval setting, has no real similarities. The closest thing I can think of is Banished which is an unforgiving town builder but even that is closer to Sim City and Cities Skylines than it is Medieval Dynasty. This game is currently worth the asking price of £22.99 and I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a bit of a slow burn with their survival games.