- Novel new spin on city-building gameplay. Visuals are attractive and surprisingly distinct. Quests and money curve are well-balanced. Social mechanics emphasize a feeling of community.
- Game quickly becomes unplayable unless you have friends playing it with you. Juggling happiness, population limits, and number of plots can be tedious. Converting resources feels needlessly tedious.
Township is a city-builder that really conveys the feeling of building your own community
Once a game genre blows up on Facebook, it gets increasingly more difficult for new developers to find a way to make their entry in the genre feel distinct. Playrix’s Township, rather remarkably, manages not to look or feel excessively like any of the other city building games currently available on Facebook. What sets Township apart is a mechanic that ties the size and prosperity of a user’s town to economic factors like farming, industry, and trade. While the result may levy a “no friends” tax on solo gamers, it has lots of promise for players who have friends in the game with them.
You start a game of Township with a relatively well-settled starter town and plowed plots of land where you can grow crops. You begin with wheat but can eventually grow other staples like cotton and sugar cane. You get 10 plots at the game’s beginning and have to unlock more by growing your town’s population. This involves managing the happiness level of your citizens, which determines how many people can live in your town. You make citizens happy by building decorations and certain types of buildings. Once they’re happy enough, you can increase your population by building houses.
You can simply sell the crops you grow in Township, as in many other games, or you can invest resources in processing them. For instance, if you grow wheat you can opt to use your mill to grind it into flour and then ship the flour off to your bakery to become bread. You get much higher profits for selling 10 loaves of bread than you would for simply selling 10 units of wheat. This in turn helps you afford more decorations and lets you level your town up faster. You can build additional types of factories over time, which usually requires expanding your town due to their sheer size.
Building things is where Township levies its “no friends” tax. Every player in Township has a factory that produces a resource vital for building new structures, such as glass. To get other resources your game can’t produce, such as girders and concrete slabs, you need to trade with friends who happen to have that type of factory or buy the resources with real money. While the prices involved are reasonable, you’ll have to start making purchases extremely early in your game. Getting far in Township without friends in the game with you would be an expensive proposition.
Township is still a solid game offering a strong sense of advancement, well-designed quests, and extremely satisfying visuals. While the game isn’t 3D or anything fancy like that, it has a look that’s bright and friendly without feeling like a retread of any other game. It also ran very well during the test period, even on low-powered machines. The only reason not to play Township, in fact, is if you don’t have any friends to play the game with you and share resources. If you see a friend on Facebook playing it, though, you’ll probably have a good time if you decide to hop in, too.