A stellar sequel that, despite easily surpassing its predecessor, is still too similar to its role model
If you always wanted to learn how the cavemen left their caves, The Timebuilders: Caveman’s Prophecy might have a far-fetched, yet entertaining and quirky answer for that. The sequel to The Timebuilders: Pyramid Rising goes back in time even further, presenting to the player a prehistoric era with dinosaurs, mammoths, and houses that look more like caves. While we were not overly impressed with the predecessor, we can definitely say that the second part of the series has improved in nearly every respect.
The Timebuilders: Caveman’s Prophecy features one mode with 40 levels (and some hidden surprises that we won’t spoil for you) that can be finished in either expert or normal time. For each level finished in expert time you will earn a flystone that automatically enhances your personal village with buildings or decorations, but apart from that there is no additional advantage. Players who prefer a slower pace will be glad to hear that it is possible to progress at your own time without any pressure. All in all the game will take around four hours to be finished, with an additional one or two hours if one aspires to complete each level in expert time.
If you have played the predecessor (or Royal Envoy for that matter), the gameplay of The Timebuilders: Caveman’s Prophecy will immediately feel familiar to you. By building varying sorts of houses you will earn steaks (which sort of serve as currency here) on a regular basis which can be spent on hiring new cavemen and cavewomen, producing stones, which is the only material in this game, trading at the markets, or getting past aggressive plants. Cavemen are responsible for construction tasks, while cavewomen collect the steaks and deal at the markets.
The controls of The Timebuilders: Caveman’s Prophecy are very intuitive, and fortunately the graphics and menus have extremely improved compared to the predecessor. The different menus and related buttons are easily recognizable and quite large, which is a very important aspect in a hectic building simulation like this. It’s also nice that the game got rid of damaged buildings, which becomes a cumbersome and annoying aspect in nearly all similar titles, so the omission of this feature works quite well.
The goals are pretty varied and require very different strategies. Sometimes you have to construct four fully upgraded castles, chase away 40 cats, create impressive monuments which need permanent workforce and replenishment of materials, at other times your goals will include hatching five eggs or earning 40,000 steaks from the market. In this respect the game is definitely more diverse than the first part of the series, especially because special buildings such as the port and the smoker seem to be more useful.
Apart from the new setting, which is brought to life pretty convincingly and the adorable graphics and animations there are also a few new twists to be found in The Timebuilders: Caveman’s Prophecy. There are different eggs that you have either in the beginning of any level or that are available at the port. Those eggs can be hatched at regular building lots and will provide you with either steaks or stone. Furthermore most levels also include “gotchas”, which can be harvested a few times before they wither and that offer similar benefits as the eggs.
We do not have as much to criticize with The Timebuilders: Caveman’s Prophecy as we had with the first part of the series, but there are still some points that are a bit disappointing. Despite the welcome addition of eggs there are still not enough buildings, upgrades and new features to keep the game fresh and surprising until the end, and even this newer part does not reach (but still apparently copies) the overall quality of this genre’s role model, Royal Envoy, which is already out one year after all.
In the end though we can definitely recommend The Timebuilders: Caveman’s Prophecy to all fans of building simulations. The game does not reinvent the wheel, but it’s clearly an advance for this series and a solid addition to its genre. If you already liked the predecessor you will surely enjoy this game, and considering how rare new building simulations have become most players might look forward to a game with challenging levels, amazing graphics, and some interesting twists.