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TFM: The First Men Early Access Preview

Preview code used, with many thanks to Future Friends Games.

TFM: The First Men is an early-access colony strategy sim released by developers Gathering Tree on Steam.

After playing numerous simulation, and strategy games this year, I was keen to try out another; you can never have enough of a good thing. But did TFM: The First Men live up to my expectations of a good strategy game? Read on and find out.

Fantasy World

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Wake up on shore.

TFM is character-driven base-building with exploration. Set in a fantasy world with many different races of people and creatures. TFM: The First Men is so named as your journey starts with your own Adam and Eve, or in my game, Teretha and Hagen. You’ll make the first men or women in your image by using countless traits, items, and skills.

The game starts with a lonely survivor, Teretha, washed up on shore. She sets out to find her shipmate, Hagen, to establish a camp and build a boat to escape from the island.

Manage your Characters Abilities’

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Teretha and Hagen

Your characters have five different resources to manage, which are the main attributes of each person. They are body, mind, soul, self, and heart and the most consequential one is ‘path’, a unique resource that allows your character to learn perks and new buildings.

As with other grand strategy games, you have many things to worry about in TFM: The First Men, such as building your camp and feeding your survivors. You also have the various traits and abilities that make characters special and unique to contend with.

Grow your Colony

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Grow your colony

As your colony evolves, so will the characters, and over time they will become an integral part of your emerging community. But, of course, you can also count on the usual systems of collecting resources, building various structures, and assigning jobs to individual residents as well.

You need to specialize your people. Some will be copies of the same path or ability to build the necessities around your ramshackle base. Meanwhile, a select few will be the adventurers you send out into the field. You’ll gather your party to explore outer regions, fight through dungeons, and loot hidden treasures.

Limited Tutorial

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Start of a settlement

The game does have a tutorial, but more is needed for first-time players; even experienced strategy players like myself would need more detailed help to play this game.

Like most players, I want to build my camp rather than sit through info about stats and attributes from the beginning. While I understand that the game is based on the characters’ attributes, it makes for boring reading. So there needs to be a better tutorial to the game than blinding the player with this instant info. It could be much better explained to the player once they have settled into the game.

Early Access

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Image courtesy of The Gathering Tree

I like the originality and innovation of this game’s resource management, but it just doesn’t feel good to play at this stage. To construct my first building, I had to understand all my people’s little variables, and I didn’t.

Meanwhile, I’m waiting forever for them to grind enough ‘path’ for something to happen; it is slow going! I’ve also soft-locked myself out of the game twice by using items needed elsewhere. As a result, The First Men could be much more beginner or even user-friendly.

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Image courtesy of The Gathering Tree

Beyond that the UI isnt intuitive. However, the character sprites are nicely animated and detailed, as are the environments in the game. With TFM: The First Men, there are the makings of a good colony sim, though it may have needed more development time before being released on EA.

You can find the Steam page for TFM: The First Men here.

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