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Foundation Early Access Preview

Posted by GG Goblin On March - 11 - 2019

Why did you put that house there?

The city building genre is fairly well catered for. From building and managing a sprawling metropolis, setting up home on a new planet, and cutting down trees to build a primitive town centre, there is something for everyone who ever had their eye on town planning. Hoping onto the city building bandwagon is Polymorph Games with their previously KickStarted game that is now available on Steam Early Access, Foundation. Forget the millions of citizens in a city that covers many square miles. Foundation is a Medieval city builder where players will have to manage a population in the hundreds and watch as their little town grows in a truly organic way.

found1 (Copy)

Currently available on Steam Early Access, priced at £26.99, Foundation is in early days of development right now, but still manages to be incredibly playable. Gameplay begins with the player taking on the role of a lord and being given a small patch of land along with a small population. In what is common to certain city builders, the player is responsible for assigning jobs to the population, and so will start by sending some off to gather berries to keep the population fed, while others could go and cut down some wood or collect some stone, providing the resources to build. Building follows a similar form as well, with the players setting down buildings that apply to certain jobs, and then assigning villagers to those jobs, with each building able to cater for a fixed number of workers.

New villagers will come along every so often, and as the player reaches milestones, new buildings will become available to build. After a while, new plots of land can be purchased to expand the settlement and gain access to more resources. It all starts quite simple, with the likes of wood cutters and berry gatherers, but before long the player is dealing with planks of wood, sheep farmers and blacksmiths. While at this point in time, not all buildings have a proper purpose, there is already a great deal of variety and possibility in Foundation. However, what really makes Foundation special is the organic way in which the towns grow.

found2 (Copy)

The map in Foundation is incredibly natural, with rolling hills and huge, forested areas. Like some of the more modern set city builders, players are able to zone areas for different uses. For example, an area can be set for harvesting resources, such as wood or stone, or can be zoned for building houses. This is great because as the new settlers come to your village, they will find a spot in the right zone and build their own house. Due to the lack of grid, the zones are painted on which gives the player much more freedom in what they include in a zone, and the houses will pop up in a haphazard manner, with paths and roads appearing according to where the residents need to go for work or whatever. The result is a settlement that feels like it has grown rather than been planned out on paper with a pencil and ruler. As the settlement grows, it becomes more chaotic, but is quite mesmerising to watch.

The player will have to cater to their population, along with the church and the aristocracy, keeping them happy and paying their dues. At the moment, the occasional little mission will come up that players can try to complete for extra favour with one of these factions, which is interesting but still fairly minimal at the moment.

found3 (Copy)

Another highlight is the construction of monuments, which come in the form of large, customisable buildings, such as churches, lord manors and castles for example. The player is able to start building these structures at their most basic and then, using a snap on tool, add extras such as towers or whatever, giving the buildings a more individual appearance, and cost.

Foundation is already a great looking game that runs really well on even a mid range PC. The organic nature of the expansion gives each settlement a unique look, and the brightly coloured, cartoony visuals go a long way to adding charm to the chaos. The settlers each have a simple, again cartoony, look about them as they quite happily go about their business. It really is one the most beautiful city building games that I have seen.

But there are some problems, which should come as no surprise due to the game being in Early Access. There are a few bugs, although I have yet to find anything too annoying. The developers seem to be quite on top of things, rolling out fixes as quickly as they can. When it comes to missing things, things that really need to be added as soon as possible, a tutorial would be nice. While it should be familiar to most city building fans, there are a few quirks to Foundation that a tutorial would be helpful with, such as the trading system which, at the moment, is just horrible. And, of course, attracting new players would be easier with a tutorial. There also needs to be more of everything, including buildings and jobs, and while it can be tricky to get the settlement running smoothly, there needs to be more sense of threat.

found4 (Copy)

But, as already said, Foundation is in early access, so there is plenty of time for the game to be completed with all of the features players could ever want. The developers seem to be listening to the community, and so chances are good that this will grow into the next greatest city builder. It is off to a good start, and is plenty playable in its current state. It may feel a little pricey for an early access title, but Foundation is already a good game and has the potential to be great. Certainly one to watch for city building fans.

Check out Foundation on Steam Early Access.


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