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Played in 2023
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This is unfortunately a huge disappointment and it's so sad that I feel this way because the graphics and the setting could have made for something really special.
But this is unfortunately not only a waiting game but also a puzzle game and has almost no bones of being a city builder at all. You're not doing any resource pipelines a la Anno but mostly simply waiting for your drones to shuffle the 3 resources around. They give you the option of building factory layouts inside buildings but the larger buildings with much more space for citizens and offices that generate way more money make that utterly obsolete and your factories end up being exclusively to process resources within the first few hours. The campaign requires that you achieve victory on the first map to progress at all and this is one of the most tedious things I've ever done in a game with requirements like "hold X amount of artifacts" which are utterly banal. Research is exclusively all percentage changes to things like waste generated or area covered and all buildings are simply unlocked with money. There's so much they could have done here but instead they chose to add some incredibly lacklustre combat that absolutely does not work. You're not building a city so much as just plopping one of 10 buildings and trying to "combine" adjacent buildings to make for one slightly more efficient building. There's completely pointless mechanics like "burrowing" with dedicated research which baffles me. Instead of a sprawling metropolis you're slowly plopping mostly single tile banal structures. Even the area you're allocated at the start is so restrictive and tedious to work around and it takes a lot of waiting before you can expand. Even the resource management is tedious with tiered resources. Sometimes you might end up with only the higher tier of minerals which means you're wasting almost 25 construction units for a waste bin that takes 2.
It's so unfortunate how this shaped out. I cannot believe how hard the developers dropped the ball here. I'd bought this on early access and THREE years later it has not changed for the better.
I don't think I've had to actively hold back tears during the credits sequence of any game I've played and I've been gaming for over 15 years at this point
I don't think I can sing praises of the writing, the art, the dialog, the characters, the honest portrayal of their lives and troubles and hopes enough. It's a very raw and very personal look at a small town and the people that inhabit it and some who are only visiting
So I'll simply focus on the minor negatives. It's quite annoying walking up and down town over and over. It's irritating that some of the interactive points are so close together and some require you face a certain way. I wish the townsfolk would react better to you when they greet you after certain actions happen. I faced a couple of minor bugs where a character looped an entire dialog sequence a second time because the game couldn't reconcile that I'd already found certain items relevant to them already
These are but small blemishes on what I consider to be one of the most perfect games I've ever seen. I truly love this game and it will now hold a special place in my heart
It's a very bog standard anime romance story. Predictable and cliched to the bone. But it's executed well enough that I wasn't really too bored through it though I wish it had some restraint in how much it leaned into the same tired tropes. Pacing suffers a lot especially towards the last third and this could really have been cleaned up more.
In terms of gameplay, you're primarily controlling a ship and exploring a solar system, hopping between points of interest and expending fuel. There's a bit of randomness in terms of the encounters you get and their outcomes but upgrades that you get pretty early on let you pass most of the checks. The only real "challenge" is in conserving your exploration kits to get all the loot in all the systems but this is fairly inconsequential other than collecting lore bits. You need money to refuel and buy upgrade components for the ship but exploring leaves with you with more than enough money to get everything checked off. There's a few short "exploration" segments on foot or in space but these are extremely linear outside of collecting more loot and all tied to story sequences.
All in all, I don't regret spending time with the game but I don't think it's all that either. It's serviceable and inoffensive.