Sim Hero Has A Free Beta: Build Towns, Manage Heroes

Sim Hero is on Kickstarter! No, wait. Sim Hero was on Kickstarter, where it was successfully funded last year. Now the RPG management game – in which you tweak and send parties off on adventures, but don’t control those adventures yourself, like a kind of Football Manager for goblin fighters – is freely available to play in its beta form for backers and not-backers alike. I’ve been playing it after RedViv mentioned it in the comments, and it’s worth a try.

The story goes that you’re exiled to an island and must start a settlement, placing down a tent and expanding from there. Place down a second tent and you’ll attract (unseen) villagers, who can be set to forage and hunt for food or chop down trees. Place a Wayrest and you’ll attract heroes, who can be formed into parties, their equipment managed, and then sent off for adventures at nearby caves, dungeons and the like. They do the fighting out of sight, but when they return – assuming they survive – you can paw over their combat logs, see what they encountered and how far they reached, and then make tweaks before their next adventure.

This then creates a compelling loop: your adventures unlock new building types, which allow you to expand your little village, gather more resources and upgrade your buildings, and the increase of fame brought by success will attract more and more powerful heroes to your settlement.

I love games which let you make a few important decisions and then watch the action play out, either in real-time or after the fact. It’s tense to see whether you win or lose, as in Football Manager or Gratuitous Space Battles. It’s also exciting to imagine the unseen adventures as you read the combat logs; there’s sadly nothing as detailed here as Dwarf Fortress’s granular wounding systems, though the damage dealt stats and list of enemies met do enough to conjure scenes for anyone familiar with RPGs.

The current state of the game is significantly different from that first pitched in last year’s Kickstarter, where your character was active on the game map and so were villagers and heroes. Now all the management is done via interface, and the map controlled via a cursor. That old version is still available from the Sim Hero site, mind you.

I’m going to keep playing the game for now, and see what I can discover.

Thanks, RedViv.

50 Comments

Top comments

  1. RedViv says:

    You're welcome, Graham.
  1. MajorFordson says:

    Those assets look stock RPGMaker, or is it just me?

    • Meridia says:

      Yep, everything in the screenshot seems to be stock.
      The kickstarter page did say that 40% of the funding would go to expanded tilesets, I hope that includes replacing the stock ones and not just adding more…

      • Bugamn says:

        At least it looks like an RPG Maker game that tries something different instead of just promising a “great story”. But I agree and hope that they get new assets.

  2. Wret says:

    Sounds a bit like Majesty, except you have a bit more control over the heroes before they scamper off. And you don’t have to bribe them with economy crushing sums of money to get them to actually defend the Kingdom @_@ (Trolls, trolls from all sides)

  3. Premium User Badge

    Neurotic says:

    Sounds like a popular Android game that used to melt my old Samsung, Dungeon Village. Exact same concept. I always hoped someone would do a PC version, and here it is. There’s that other PC game that I forget the name of, where you had indirect control of heroes and you built up a village too – not Majesty, it’s a newer one that had loads of randomisation elements. Eh, anyway, it never really grabbed me, and I got stuck at one point and never went back. But this looks good.

    • Martel says:

      That’s exactly what I thought when I saw this. I’ll have to check it out.

    • puzzlepiece87 says:

      Edit: After trying Hinterland just now, you definitely *didn’t* mean that.

      Maybe you meant Hinterland by Tilted Miill?

      link to tiltedmill.com

    • icemann says:

      Dungeon Village was the first thing I thought of when reading about this game. Seems very similar.

  4. Llewyn says:

    Aha, I knew I’d read something of this kind. RedViv, how close is Sim Hero to what you had in mind?

    • RedViv says:

      Not an open city-builder, which is what the core of my Imaginary Thing would be, but it’s nonetheless delightful even at this point.

      • Llewyn says:

        Hmmm, so more of a (classic) SimCity with heroes and external threats contributing to resources and needs? Admittedly it doesn’t help that I’ve not been able to download Sim Hero yet to see how it actually plays.

        Your comments the other day got me thinking about maybe having another experiment in game making. Not that I’m promising to actually get anywhere with it of course, I suspect it will probably be more about the journey…

        • RedViv says:

          More akin to the city-builders by Impressions. Mostly Zeus, I guess, what with the heroes being so important. I started dreaming this up around the time I replayed that, had just played My Life As A King, realised I had way too high expectations of Majesty 2, and Dwarf Fortress was becoming a Big Deal. So 2009-ish.

      • khalilravanna says:

        I like the sound of this Imaginary Thing. Sounds like you might like the dwarf fortress-y city-builder to be, Stonehearth. It’s one of the projects in the works I’m most excited about fits that description and they’ve been making consistently solid progress.

        I’m also working on a game myself that’s supposed to be a mix between DF/Banished/Majesty. I.e. city building on a smaller scale with more of the simulation of dwarf fortress. This Sim Hero game’s hero simulations actually remind me a lot of one of the goals for my game which is to essentially simulate the outside landscape around your town and have heroes wander in (like Majesty). They’ll have stories to share of their adventures, treasures to sell, or maybe they’ll just get drunk in the tavern and murder some helpless villagers. Self-promotion aside, my project is only 4 months old and as such won’t be complete for a very long time. I’ll have to check this bad boy out.

        • RedViv says:

          Yes yes yes, your project does definitely fit The Vision. Loving the words on meta-micro divide. Do carry on.

  5. Uglycat says:

    Chrome thinks that the .zip is malicious. Not a promising start.

    • Premium User Badge

      Neurotic says:

      I downloaded and opened it in Chrome, no problem.

      • Uglycat says:

        I over-rode the prompt and no AV picked anything else up, but it doesn’t fill me with assurance when I have to do that.

    • Person of Interest says:

      Their file host can’t even find the beta .zip when I try to download it.

    • Martel says:

      Are you sure it think it’s actually malicious or did you perchance misread an error message about it being too big to scan, therefore they can’t verify if it’s safe. That’s the one I got, which isn’t quite the same thing as being malicious (just says they have no clue and you’re on your own), but is really easy to confuse the 2 when clicking through.

  6. Drake Sigar says:

    Looks interesting. Since we’re doing comparisons it reminds me of Grey Dog Software’s Guild of Heroes and Arena of Death except those are entirely text. I’ll give it a try soon!

  7. Shiloh says:

    It does look interesting, but I’m currently a bit maxed out with sim games, given I’m still coming to terms with the new 3.19 mechanics of Unreal World (I can’t milk my cows in winter!)… also coming to the end of 1849, and continuing to plough my way through Dwarf Fortress… there’s also that other game mentioned on RPS a few weeks ago, with the hero called Keith although the actual name of the game escapes me…

    EDIT “Unveil” – that’s what it’s called.

  8. GF_Matt says:

    While we work on getting file hosting going through our domain, try this link to download instead:

    link to dropbox.com

    (you only need the FULL game zip)

    – Matt, Geek Fever Games

    • xyphious says:

      Its dead jim

    • tumbleworld says:

      Looks fun. Thanks Matt!

    • Gothnak says:

      It’s too blooming popular!

      Sorry, you can’t view or download this file at this time.

      Too many users have viewed or downloaded this file recently. Please try accessing the file again later. If the file that you are trying to access is particularly large or is shared with many people, it may take up to 24 hours to be able to view or download the file. If you still can’t access a file after 24 hours, contact your domain administrator.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hodge says:

      Seems to be working again now.

  9. RedViv says:

    You’re welcome, Graham.

  10. Chris Cunningham says:

    Between this (at time of posting, nobody has yet mentioned ActRaiser) and the other front page post at the moment by someone posting about Diablo I from the perspective of someone who started with D3, I’m feeling pretty bloody old today.

    • GF_Matt says:

      Chris – I’m the other person on this planet who’s played ActRaiser :)

      IIRC, that was a “light” empire management sim mixed with an action side scroller… heh…

    • Martel says:

      I’m not sure if I should add myself to the list of ActRaiser players (I owned and loved it) as that makes me old as well :(

    • RedViv says:

      We are the ancients. At least some of these youngsters make a sport of defending us, so that’s something.

      • khalilravanna says:

        I like the sound of this Imaginary Thing. Sounds like you might like the dwarf fortress-y city-builder to be, Stonehearth. It’s one of the projects in the works I’m most excited about fits that description and they’ve been making consistently solid progress.

        I’m also working on a game myself that’s supposed to be a mix between DF/Banished/Majesty. I.e. city building on a smaller scale with more of the simulation of dwarf fortress. This Sim Hero game’s hero simulations actually remind me a lot of one of the goals for my game which is to essentially simulate the outside landscape around your town and have heroes wander in (like Majesty). They’ll have stories to share of their adventures, treasures to sell, or maybe they’ll just get drunk in the tavern and murder some helpless villagers. Self-promotion aside, my project is only 4 months old and as such won’t be complete for a very long time. I’ll have to check this bad boy out.

    • Premium User Badge

      Bluerps says:

      I know ActRaiser too! Hurray, I also belong to this club of old people!
      (Though I think I did not play it when it came out, but a couple of years later – but that sill means “sometime during the 90s”)

      I still remember that it was a good idea to use the earthquake spell on one of the cities, because then all the wooden houses would collapse, which caused all the people to build stone houses, which were better.

    • webs1 says:

      I have vague memories of awesomeness when I think of ActRaiser.

    • Premium User Badge

      rustic says:

      Another ActRaiser player here… Can anyone perhaps help me identify another old game? My brother and I have vague memories of this mid-nineties PC game were you were tasked with building a village and defend it from weird looking red monsters that came running. I remember that you could build traps in your village to stop the monsters, and you also had some sort of warrior/avatar walking around in the village that you controlled when fighting the monsters.

      Anyone of my fellow old geezers who have the slightest idea of what this game might be called? I think we only had the demo…

      The graphics were a bit reminding of Warcraft 1 and comic-like, if that helps.

  11. GF_Matt says:

    Ahhh… free file hosting. It’s the price of business for a guy in a basement. One of these should work:
    link to dropbox.com
    link to drive.google.com
    link to copy.com

    Good luck and sorry for the unpreparedness for the traffic. We were unaware of this fine initial review by RPS!
    – Matt, Geek Fever Games

  12. JarinArenos says:

    Their dropbox link is overloaded. I think you just DDOS’d them. :P

  13. emptee says:

    Couldn’t play it for more then 5min. The UI is sooo fiddly and non-userfriendly that it just made my skin itch.
    The last straw was when I had to re-enter the same 3-4 layers of menu just to open the chests the heroes brought home.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      I turned out to be more willing to endure the UI, but yes, a less Carpel Tunnel Syndrome-aggrivating way of dealing with chests is a must

      • GF_Matt says:

        emptee / Harlander: Patch 0.4.0 addresses the loot (those resource chests were never meant to be “final”) and should solve that particular gripe.

        As far as the interface in general, it is what it is :)

        Enjoy!

        link to geekfevergames.com