Preserve Demo Impressions

A demo code was used, with many thanks to Mark Allen PR on behalf of Grindstone.

Lately, hexagon-based games are finding their way to Steam. We’ve already reviewed Pan’orama, and before that, Dorfromantik, and seeing Preserve, I was wondering if it has the same kind of gameplay. Yes, the tiles are there, and yes, you do get cards with which you can build and make the landscape your own. Preserve lays its emphasis more on being a puzzle nature-building game that takes players on a journey into a harmonious ecosystem. Let’s see what makes Preserve special.

Earning Harmony Points

Starting the game, you are presented with a good tutorial. A base number of hexagon tiles is there, and a set number of cards. The cards represent biomes, animals, or rainfall. You have to use the cards on the hexagons, turning them from barren land to green first using rainfall or storms (which can water multiple tiles). You get one harmony point for every hexagon you make green.

In-game screenshot from Preserve showing a stylized hexagonal tile-based environment floating above water. The tiles feature various terrains: green grass, brown earth, and a small section ablaze with fire. A bright beam of light highlights a particular tile, suggesting an in-game action or event. On the left, interface elements display a "+14" green bubble and a diamond-shaped icon with a "C" and numbers "17" and "117". Below are three cards depicting a tree, a deer, and two wolves, each with different symbols and a number "1" on them, indicating gameplay elements or resources. Published on: LadiesGamers.
Try to get the most of the cards dealt.

Improve the tiles further by placing a forest card or a flower meadow one or one for marshlands or rocks. When three identical tiles are adjacent, those tiles form a habitat. They score an extra harmony point for each tile. The cards also show on which elevation they can be used: lowlands, highlands or in between.

Based on their size, they can house several animals. Animals are worth 10 points. Place three of the same kind in 1 habitat, and you get 30 bonus points. And 60 bonus points for placing three different animals in 1 habitat. But you can’t just keep on placing them; the habitat has to be big enough to house more of them.

The goal is to reach a harmony milestone, after which you can expand your map and receive new cards.

Screenshot from the video game Preserve featuring a hexagonal tile island with diverse biomes including grassland, forest, and a small burning area, all floating on a serene water background. A beam of light shines on a tile topped with a house icon, possibly indicating an objective or special location. Interface elements include a diamond-shaped icon with numbers "56" and "80" and a green arrow card. At the bottom, player cards are shown depicting rainclouds, a tree, and a boar, each with associated numbers and symbols, suggesting these are options for the player to use in the game. Published on: LadiesGamers.
Adding animals to the forest habitat

Classic and Puzzle Mode

The objective is to foster and sustain thriving and diverse biomes, with each component functioning in symbiotic harmony. It’s fun to see the boar roam the forest or to see bees above the flower meadow. The landscape you form ‘lives’, and you can zoom in to look in on it.

There is a game element in the classic and puzzle modes. For the demo, you just have access to the European biome. Locked are the Savanna biome and the Marine biome, and maybe more that I can’t see yet. In Classic mode, you can choose to play on a small area, a medium one or a large one. This last one is locked in the demo.

Screenshot from Preserve, depicting a hexagonal tile-based island with varied terrain types such as grass, forest, and bare earth, surrounded by water with subtle wave patterns. A singular beam of light descends onto a tile with a house icon, potentially indicating a point of interest or goal. In the bottom left, a diamond-shaped interface element displays the letter "C" with numbers "49" and "90" adjacent to it. A card featuring a deer with a number "1" is shown in the foreground, hinting at game mechanics involving wildlife. Published on: LadiesGamers.

The puzzle mode is all about optimal placement. You have to score a required number of points with a set hand of cards.

Creative Mode

You can also choose “play creative” you get all possible terrains, vegetation, and animals and make it as you want. This does take away the game element, but it is relaxing to see your little world come to life without having to worry about creative points….who says points can even be placed on creativity? 

There’s a camera available, so you can capture what you have made and share your fruits of labor!

A gif of the creative mode in the game Preserve, showing a beautiful landscape placed on hexagonal tiles

Thoughts About The Demo

Preserve is shaping up to be a game to look out for. You can opt to go for a challenge, but the creative mode is truly a wholesome experience. For now, the game is expected on Steam in Q3 2024, but there’s a good chunk of demo for you to try out!

In this screenshot from Preserve, there's a vibrant hexagonal tile-based island with dense forest areas, flowering meadows, and a cascading waterfall leading into a blue water body. Various animal icons are overlaid on the tiles, possibly signifying wildlife within the game. Interface elements include several icons at the top, such as a camera, settings gear, and various resource symbols. The upper right corner shows a house icon with "32 | 40" indicating a score or resource count. Arrayed at the bottom are numerous cards with illustrations of animals like a deer, a bird, a bee, an eagle, a crane, a wolf, a fox, a goat, and a boar, each with a number, likely representing the player's available actions or resources. Published on: LadiesGamers.
All animals to use in Creative Mode.

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