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Settle For Less: Retro-Pixel Castles

Retro-Pixel Castles [official site] is a game I’d been meaning to play for a long time. It’s still moving through Early Access, with regular and meaty updates, and is often described as one of those fabled ‘Dwarf Fortress with a neater interface” games, a select group in which Rimworld is the undisputed master (disputes to take place in the comments!). I fired Castles up this morning, having spotted that it’s 50% off in the Steam sale right now, available for £3.49 until July 4th. It’s more like the Settlers as a strategy roguelike than a sibling of Dwarf Fortress, and I can see myself spending a lot of time with it.

Caveats out of the way first – I haven’t played for long enough to know how well the game holds up over time in its current Early Access state. It’s receiving a stable build every couple of months though, with experimental builds in between, and these are bringing improvements to AI as well as additional features.

One of the game’s promises is that you will eventually fail so rather than aiming to build a perfect settlement, made of supply chains and security, you should try every idea that comes into your head. Play, experiment, fail. That said, there are some basics to understand, mainly in those supply chains, which instantly reminded me of The Settlers. There’s satisfaction to be found in setting up a thriving factory of a community and when everything starts to go wrong – zombies, slimes and other horrors – that functional town damn well better have some tower defense type channels and killing floors interwoven between the supply chains.

I’m not completely hooked yet but I’m keen to see more.

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