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Kev’s Slog #4, posted by Kevin Lew

I examine dozens of video games every day and sometimes I get excited for them.  The one game that has me the most excited is Banished and it’ll be here in a few weeks on Steam.

Banished is a real-time strategy/city building game about a group of exiled travelers that have come to settle in a new and potentially dangerous land.  The goal is to just survive and make the colony flourish.  The game uses randomly generated maps so the challenge is different each time you start.  You’ll need careful resource management and a smart planning if you want the colonists to get everything.  It sounds easy, but the game could be called a very calm roguelike.

The most amazing thing is that this is being developed by just one person.  Shining Rock Software is essentially just Luke Hodorowicz.  There are a few excellent games that have been done by essentially one person, these include Gunpoint and Dust: An Elysian Tale.  Also, any game made by Blendo Games (Atom Zombie Smasher, Flotilla, Gravity Bone/30 Flights of Loving) are created with just Brandon Chung, although the upcoming Quadrilateral Cowboy is being done by two people.  In each of these games, the music is typically done by another person but the single developer has obviously creative control.

The second thing is that this game doesn’t use money and it has no requirements for its tech tree.  It’s absolutely possible to build end-game structures immediately as long as you have the resources.  In many games, the intent is to just maximize population but this game is very different.  People aren’t treated as a simple number or an abstract concept.  Each person in the game gets a name and they are all animated, and they all age and eventually die.  People are literally your most valuable resource and you can’t just build houses and suddenly get more.

I’m doing a poor job selling the game, because it’s hard to describe without seeing it for yourself.  I strongly suggest that you look up videos or the Steam store page and see the demo video.  All I can say is that Banished is one of those games that makes me mesmerized when I watch it.  There was a Let’s Play video of the beta build and it lasted an hour.  I watched the entire video without stopping, completely amazed, and the video ended at the hour mark without being completed.  I was almost upset because I wanted to see what happened next.

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