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Co-op Village Management In The Wilderness: Northward

There's a glaswegian fella in this image. Nope, not the guy with the bow.

Northward would likely have you believe its tale of noxious fog spreading out from the mountains at the top of the world and corrupting all those it touches is a fantasy one. I believe different, it’s a far future sci-fi tale of what will come to pass should Scotland achieve independence. I’ve seen the machines, they’re plotting something.

Thank goodness Nemoria, who we last heard from with adventure game Oknytt, have discovered the plot and chosen to inform us through the medium of game. In it, you expand a village (uh) northwards to discover the source. The kicker’s that it’s all designed to be played in co-op, managing joint resources and planning next moves in tandem. Their Indiegogo campaign for €32,000 (£25k) just started, complete with a demo.

I wasn’t wholly convinced by the pitch video, but the demo really struck me. It’s still quite basic, just a few buildings and some simple plotting to be done before you can trigger an attack by monsters. You assign villagers to buildings, which defines their role – in the demo there’s woodsmen, stonecutters, builders and fletchers. They’ll then automatically carry out their task, taking resources to a storeroom or using them to make arrows and buildings. With all the usual strategy game busywork taken out, planning the village roads and delivery routes has a classic feel that fed some long forgotten neural pathways.

The pixel art is fantastic, conveying the bleak theme while making important map elements obvious. It’s a lovely game to leave running in window mode too, the music and soft taps of mining and building a nice backdrop to, say, writing a news article.

I’m interested to see how the co-op elements work in the full version, as they’re not an option in the demo. The promises made make it sound perfect for a couple of friends, not so much over the internet. I do hope it’s also playable solo, as I found it quite relaxing. Nemoria are planning to operate the multiplayer through Steam, so it’s their only platform and they’re in need of your Greenlight votes.

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