Outlanders LadiesGamers

OUTLANDERS Review

Game: OUTLANDERS
Genre: Strategy, Simulation
System: Steam, Windows (also available on Apple Arcade)
Developers | Publishers: Pomelo Games.
Controller Support: Full
Price: US $14.99 | UK £12.79 | EU € 14,79
Release Date: March 7th, 2023

Review code used, with many thanks to BigGames Machine.

Originally released on Apple Arcade, Outlanders is a charming city builder developed by Pomelo Games.

The game is being released on Steam with many updates focusing on delivering the optimal Outlanders experience for PC players. I’ve spent some time with Outlanders for this review and enjoyed it, so let’s look at Outlanders.

Survive

Outlanders LadiesGamers
Build a settlement

Outlanders is a carefree settlement builder that focuses on macro-management. There isn’t any combat in the game; this is a peaceful city builder. But don’t worry; you will have your hands full, taking care of the villagers and hoping they don’t starve to death as they live on the edge.

Different Modes of Play

Outlanders LadiesGamers
Choose how you want to play.

There are a few modes of play to choose from, Sandbox and Campaign, along with a decent tutorial that, once completed, sets you up to take on the mission-based campaign mode.

The campaign mode presents a string of increasingly difficult mission-based levels. In addition, each mission has specific completion criteria, such as a set time and a few goals. They also introduce a new town leader and population each time.

Village Leader

Outlanders LadiesGamers
Village leader

Playing Outlanders, you’ll take control of a village leader’s will and must balance the resources carefully to lead the town to prosperity. Every choice you make directly affects your town’s progress and impacts your followers’ happiness.

Each mission begins with a few villagers, some adults and children, a stockpile of resources and a few key buildings. Then, you give a task to each villager to gather resources or go to work building.

Construct Buildings

Outlanders LadiesGamers
Showing the collection range of the hut.

You’ll build a lumberjack’s cabin from those humble beginnings to harvest more logs. Then, a sawmill to turn those logs into planks and a forager’s hut to collect the mushrooms and berries that grow nearby. Most buildings require villagers to be assigned to them, and the more villagers you assign, the greater that building’s output.

There is a day and night cycle in Outlanders. So your villagers will wake up, do their jobs, eat dinner and then go home to sleep. Well, that’s the theory, but it doesn’t always run as smoothly as that.

Assign Villagers to the Buildings

Outlanders LadiesGamers
Nighttime in the villages

Building structures takes time, and each building can have up to four workers. The number of villagers you have is limited until they have children, and of course, you’ll have to wait for them to grow up before they can work. So more workers in one building mean fewer workers in another. The villagers will do their tasks diligently until the resource they’re gathering or producing runs out.

However, when the resources run out, more strategy really comes into play. The resource buildings have a limited range in which the workers can collect resources. You can click on the building to see its range.

Strategic Play

Outlanders LadiesGamers
You can’t move buildings; they have to be destroyed

Furthermore, you can’t move buildings, so once the resources run out, you must build another building in an area with resources. But your overall space and resources like mushrooms and trees are limited.

So long as there’s food, everything should be fine. But if you run out of it, your villagers will soon starve, your population will quickly decrease, and buildings won’t have anyone to operate them.

Use Decrees

Outlanders LadiesGamers
Use decrees

Fortunately, you do have decrees to use. Decrees that let you direct the behaviour of your villagers. There is a decree to ration food and other decrees to use. However, using decrees is risky as they impact the villagers’ happiness, and if happiness levels plunge too far, they will revolt.

Also, I find the population balance is always precarious in these types of games. Too few villagers, and it’s impossible to gather resources in a timely fashion to continue the community’s construction. However, too many quickly lead to starvation, consuming more food than they can gather or grow.

Furthermore, most children in the game are little eating machines until they age into adults and don’t work. So this can quickly become unmanageable if your villagers are too eager to reproduce. While there are no raids, wars or combat in Outlanders, the game still challenges those who want it. Managing the resources and the workforce is critical to success.

Unique Feel to each Level

Outlanders LadiesGamers
Unique feel to each level

Each level you play has a unique feel to it. The pastel-coloured graphics are mixed with sound effects of birds singing and a gentle breeze, and a lovely relaxing musical soundtrack. The atmosphere it creates is impressive, as you discover a rich story weaving through the different town leaders and their search for a simple life.

Based on player feedback, a refreshed UI for the Steam release ensures every action is only a few clicks away. The UI is straightforward, laid out well, and easy to use. Outlanders performed quite well on my laptop, there was the odd framerate slowdown when I moved the camera, but it wasn’t enough to take away from my enjoyment of the game.

Outlanders LadiesGamers
Growing crops for food.

Conclusion

Outlanders is a fun game with a significant challenge for the player. I enjoyed trying to meet the leaders’ demands on each mission. I didn’t always succeed first try, but that’s part of the challenge to try again.

Final Verdict: I Like it a Lot  I like it a lot

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