System: iOS (iPhone and iPad), Apple TV
Developer: Pomelo Games
Age Rating: 12+
Price: Requires a subscription to Apple Arcade, $4.99/month or $49.99/year
Release Date: September 17, 2019
We’re still in the middle of a pandemic, and games where we’re allowed to get out and explore the world are more appealing than ever. Outlanders is a strategy and resource management game where you get to settle your new colony and explore free and open lands. What could be more perfect?
Self-described as a “charming town-builder simulation game,” Outlanders gives the player a sense of simultaneous freedom and urgency when it comes to getting your followers situated and productive. You begin the game with a few resources and one or two buildings, then soon start working towards the goal of building out so much more. Once you’ve got a good idea about how things work, you’re practically unstoppable.
Finding your own style of gameplay is extremely satisfying, and it’s thrilling to watch your colony thrive. This is in part because of simple and comprehensible gameplay — survival simulations are tried and true. However, it’s also because of the extremely well-crafted design of the game. You can tell they really went the extra mile. Every time you start to think “it would be cool if–,” you immediately realize that the designers have already had that thought and implemented it into the game. This makes for a consistently surprising and entertaining game.
As mentioned previously, Outlanders is a strategy, resource management, and simulation game. Overall, you have to make sure all the members of your colony survive. Ideally, though, you’ll do more than that: you’ll make sure they’re happy by giving them places to live, food to eat, and jobs to do. There are two ways to play: the main mode, which is separated out into levels, and the sandbox mode, which is free flowing but allows for multiple save files.
Since many strategy games are laid out more similarly to the endless sandbox mode where you start out with nothing and build as much as you can, I was delighted by the unique level mode, in which you are given some resources to start out with and one or two goals to accomplish within a certain timeframe. Both modes of gameplay are extremely satisfying and fun with their own unique challenges, and they can be played for short or long amounts of time in one sitting.
Interesting Methods of Survival
From foraging to farming, there are lots of ways to ensure the survival of your colony. I won’t get too into specifics, as discovering how things work for yourself is one of the most exciting parts of the game. I will say, though, that the game gives you a ton of options. There are even some just-for-fun options, like building a tavern where they serve beer. It’s not the most nutritious option, but it does raise the happiness of your villagers!
Live to See Another Day
Overall, I was absolutely charmed by Outlanders. The multiple gameplay options are unique and endlessly exciting. It can be engaging for an hour or for a whole day. The developers are still working on the game and putting out new levels, so there’s sure to be even more to discover by the time you’ve read this!
I highly recommend Outlanders to everyone who enjoys or has ever enjoyed a strategy and resource management game; the difficulty level is in that sweet spot where both new and more experienced players will quickly learn to love this game. The subscription to Apple Arcade may or may not be worth it depending on how often you play mobile games, but there is a month-long free trial, which I highly recommend that you take advantage of. Outlanders is one of the best mobile games I’ve played in a long time.
Final Verdict: Two Thumbs Up