Game: Lethis – Path of Progress
Genre: City Builder, Simulation, Strategy
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam)
Developer/Publisher: Triskell Interactive / Plug In Digital
Age Rating: 3
Price: $19.99USD / $24.99CAD / £17.99 / €
Release Date: 24/10/2019
Review code used, with many thanks to Plug in Digital!
Housemaker, Housemaker Make Me A House!
Alright, I’m going to drop some honest truth on y’all. Big old world building sim games are not usually my go-to games of choice. I have a couple of friends who get really into Civilization, and I’ve had a couple of gaming days where we played Civilization 5 for hours – and I was like, “What the heck!?” because I guess I was doing REALLY well (but I didn’t know it, but my friend’s DID know it and just didn’t tell me), and the NPC character playing as Greece kept hating on me for seemingly NO reason; and then, all of a sudden Greece declares war on me and now I’ve lost Thebes! Aaahh!!
My only other experience with world building god-like simulation games is playing The SIMS for about 30 minutes and then realizing that I wanted more SIM interaction and less house building and I think at that point I decided to play Dragon Age or something instead.
Lethis: Path of Progress felt like a much simpler version of a game like Civilization. I’d say it’s in between The SIMS and Civilization; you are building and growing a town into a city, rather than a person’s home into a mansion, or a culture into an empire. This is very good for someone like me who isn’t a strategic kind of gamer where I have everything planned out twelve moves in advance.
Incidentally, the game of chess it not my forte.
As I was playing though Lethis, I could definitely see and feel the appeal of it. You are playing a god in a way by creating and controlling this town. Where a game like SIMS is almost crying out for the hilarity of a random and vengeful god, Lethis is all about being that loving, benevolent creator and making a beautiful thriving city the people want to be in.
Hey kid, I like the look of you.
There is something fascinating about watching your little world slowly build and grow around you. I can only imagine it’s the same kind of feeling and fascination as owning and watching an ant farm. You set down all the building blocks, and then you watch the little creatures make a life out of it.
Lethis: Path of Progress is set in a Victorian Steampunk universe. So there’s that whole brick, and steam, and cobblestones look to the world as well. It is easy on the eyes, and I enjoyed watching all of my little people running around town. I felt an especial wonder and satisfaction when my little farmers started carting all of their harvest to the storage facility, and then watching the facility slowly fill up with potatoes and wheat and stuff.
The visuals particularly appealed to me. The delight I experienced when placing a park bench down and then watching the roads nearby suddenly upgrade and become cobblestone, and the homes spring into a cool brick look felt a little bit like magic.
This game has proved to me that I am a happy goddess, and not a vengeful one; I really enjoyed watching everything go right. When the balance of people to jobs was perfect, and the little people were upgrading because they loved their homes. On the flip side, I was always disappointed in myself when things went wrong and I failed.
Easy, Breezy, Beautiful Mode For This Girl!
As a gamer, I have always had a certain amount of what I like to call “gamer pride”. My gamer pride kicks in a lot when I start a new game and says “You gotta play in normal mode at least! Easy mode is for wussies!”
As I get older, however, I find my desire to have a fun experience overrides my desire to play something difficult. So I have no shame in admitting that I played Lethis in easy mode. So perhaps I had a more forgiving time building houses, farms, and parks than most. BUT, I am also not ashamed to admit that I failed several times… in the tutorial missions no less!
I say this because if a difficult challenge is what draws you to these games, I am sure that desire can be easily fulfilled in this game as it has an easy, normal, and hard mode.
While we are on the topic of modes, Lethis has a couple of other kinds that might interest you:
Tutorial Mode: if you are like me and you’ve barely ever touched this genre of video game, but you’re up for anything and are looking for a new experience, then this tutorial mode is what you will want to start with. It will take you through each step of the game and what the town needs to make your people happy.
As a complete newbie to the genre, I personally would have appreciated a bit more hand-holding in terms of telling me what to do (especially after I failed the same tutorial mission a second time). I say that a bit lightly however, because when I finally beat the mission I felt good that I did it without needing the game to help me more than it already had.
Campaign Mode: This mode consists of a bunch of missions requiring you to complete various different objectives. I would basically consider it the “story mode” for lack of a better word.
In this mode, seems like this whole “steam power” thing was just discovered, and now you’ve got an emperor all up in your grill to make your town the best so it can pay tribute (in the form of meat, or whatever).
Typical totalitarian ruler, amirite?!
Sandbox Mode: This is the mode for people who just want to mess around and create something of their own. You’re given all of the tools and you can go be as god-ly as you dang-well please!
The game boasts: “An amazing soundtrack with over 20 different songs!” I can attest that the soundtrack is lovely, and adds to the whole ‘pioneer’ feel of the game. That’s kind of all there is to say about it for me.
The Little Niggles
The game has the ability to play using the touch screen. Excellent, right?
As I was playing using the joysticks and buttons, I found myself feeling a bit limited and wishing I had a mouse. So, I tried it in touch screen mode. Now it felt really good using the touch screen, much more intuitive…
That is, until I tried to put down some buildings. When I clicked on a store to build it, my whole finger completely covered up the little house, so I could not see where I was placing it. And in this game (maybe in ALL games like this, I’m not sure) placement is important as you need to have your houses and buildings and services all connected to roads in order for people to work/live in them.
So as much as I liked the quickness of using the touch screen, I felt that I couldn’t because it hindered placement. Not that the regular controls are bad, they just feel a bit slower.
I like it!
It’s a cute little sim-world-building game with a lovely soundtrack and adorable artwork. This was the perfect game for someone like me to break into the genre, in fact I think I may even like this genre now, so thanks Lethis!
If you are already a fan of this genre, I think you will get good bang (and fun) for your buck out of Lethis – Path of Progress.