Game: The Wandering Village
Genre: Simulation, Strategy, Early Access
System: Steam, Windows, macOS & Linux (also available on Xbox Series S/X)
Developers | Publishers: Stray Fawn Studio
Controller Support: No
Price: US $24.99 | UK £ TBC | EU € TBC
Release Date: September 14th, 2022
Review code used, with many thanks to Stray Fawn Studio.
The Wandering Village is the third simulation with survival and rogue-like elements game made by Stray Fawn Studio. They also developed Niche – a genetics survival game that Yvonne reviewed on the Nintendo Switch.
Previously it was a Kickstarter campaign with 6,491 backers pledging €155,964 to help bring the game to life. I also played the game’s demo when it was released during the Next Steam Fest and loved what I saw and was keen to review the game. So here we are. Let’s find out what the game is all about.
The Wandering Village has a unique twist over other city-builders in the genre. You are tasked with taking care of a group of people, the Nyomans. They stumble across a giant beast, Onbu, thought to be extinct and set up home on the back of the wandering giant.
The game is about the survival of your people and the beast they chose to set up home on and help. They flee from mysterious plants spreading all over the earth, emitting toxic spores.
To survive, you must set up a village on the back of the giant, wandering creature and form a symbiotic relationship to stay together in this post-apocalyptic world. But, of course, living on the back of a living, breathing beast comes with its challenges. Challenges include helping maintain the creature’s health, building trust, and keeping everyone alive.
It’s the standard survival simulation gameplay at the start of the game with a decent tutorial to help you get started. There is also an Elders Notebook to read if you hit a stumbling block. First, you set up a village by building tents, farms, and gathering posts. Then, construct a research building and work through the tech tree, opening up new facilities to grow your community.
Find Resources on Onbu’s Back
Trees grow on the creature’s back, and there are stones and other resources to collect for building structures. You will also research some buildings to place near the head of Onbu that lets you communicate with the creature. In addition, you will make decisions such as what path Onbu will take on the map, as well as taking care of Onbu by feeding him.
You’ll also have to survive a variety of different biomes and events that occur. It is not an easy task to keep everyone alive. A few times I thought I was doing alright; my village was growing well as Onbu trundled along. We had picked up a few nomads along the way, which increased the population of my village.
Then Onbu got contaminated by the poisonous toxic spores as they started growing on his back. You can’t miss the poisonous spores as they appear blue on the back of the creature. You can send your villagers to remove the toxic spores but beware; they will get poisoned too and eventually die if you haven’t built the village doctor’s building. Lesson learnt!
Even in this Early Access build, I love the game’s challenge. I especially like Onbu itself, and the concept of building a community on the giant’s back is unusual. Also, travelling through different biomes, the temperatures change and add more of a challenge to keep everyone alive.
The unique art style with a blend of 3D and hand-drawn, hand-animated 2D graphics blew me away when I saw the game on my laptop. For example, the back of Onbu changes colour as he moves through the map, and the villagers look like paper figures and are well-animated.
Music and Sound Effects
My advice is to wear headphones when playing, as if you don’t you could miss the fantastic music. I picked up the sounds of children singing and some throat singing, if I’m not mistaken. The music is relaxing, and I will be buying the soundtrack as soon as it becomes available.
The other advantage of wearing headphones is that you get to listen to the noises that Onbu makes as he moves along; they are well done and bring the giant beast to life. The game’s sound effects are also good and add to the gameplay.
Conclusion – A Gentle Giant
I’ve been enjoying playing The Wandering Village. I like what the developers have done with the game. And I think I might be in love with Onbu, as I spent a lot of time just watching him trundling along. The game will be one to watch as it comes out of Early Access and see what else has been added to the game. I’d love to be able to click on individual workers and send them to do specific jobs. As it is at the moment, they pick their jobs to work at; sure, you can highlight and speed up the building of structures or the gathering of resources, but it would give the player more freedom to direct them to do individual jobs.
As it is now, if survival simulations are your go-to game, I recommend you try out The Wandering Village. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go and check out my new pet, Onbu.
Final Verdict: I Like It a Lot