Don Diego de León is back, and he’s on another important mission of rescue and exploration. On a mission for gold through the New Land, Don Diego and his team encounter friendly locals whose villages are in need of repair. A patched up hut here, a restored garden there, all in the name of goodwill towards his fellow man. As it turns out, some evil priests are trying to summon a demon to conquer the New Land. Maybe Don Diego can do something about that, too?
Most of what makes Adelantado 4: Aztec Skulls tick is stock controls and layouts common to time management games. You start with a worker and some general level goals, things like “collect all the gold” or “upgrade all of the buildings”. Click piles of resources or other points of interest to send your worker over to do his thing. Felling trees offers up wood, picking berries gives you food, and grabbing piles of copper, well, gives you copper. You have to spend resources to do most actions, so keep a stockpile handy so you won’t have to wait around twiddling your thumbs.
Beyond basic resource grabbing, Adelantado 4 features buildings you can repair that generate resources for you, things like gardens for food and sawmills for wood. You can also upgrade buildings so they work faster and more efficiently, which is totally in line with what you like to do, too! Aztec Skulls also throws in a few random events and power-ups, just to make sure you stay on your toes.
The interesting thing about Adelantado 4 is that is bucks some trends in the resource management genre yet doesn’t suffer as a result. Case in point: task queueing. Normally you can line up actions for your workers to complete, even while they’re busy. Waiting on a guy to chop wood? Click on his next task and he’ll get to it when he can, easy. That doesn’t happen in Adelantado 4, yet strangely, you won’t mind. Some actions don’t require a return to home base, meaning you can bust open a jar or clear an obstacle, then click to have the worker immediately walk to the next task. This forces you to pay attention to your people, not your level goals, which is a fascinating shift.
Another trend Adelantado 4 adjusts is the concept of obstacles. Normally a road is a road, and if there’s a pile of debris in the way, nothing’s getting through. Here, that’s not so much an issue. As long as there’s solid land to walk on (i.e. no busted bridges or invasive waterways), workers will happily sidestep roadblocks to carry out your orders. They can even walk off-road to pick up items, all you have to do is click. It’s somewhat surprising when you stumble upon this for the first time. It absolutely changes the way you play the game, and for the better.
Adelantado 4 departs from previous games to provide a more streamlined, casual experience. Fans of the series may be disappointed at all the changes, but at its core, Aztec Skulls still delivers as a solid time management game. It’s easy to pick up, easy to get hooked on, and offers just enough challenge and originality to keep you clicking from level to level.