Last night, I decided to play Fate Tectonics [official site] for five minutes, just to get an idea about how its world-building puzzles worked. It was a long five minutes. Around an hour and a half, all told. I was hoping for a JRPG-styled take on the strategic balancing of Skyward Collapse when I first saw Fate Tectonics. In Arcen's game you must encourage equilibrium between warring factions, ensuring that neither side actually wins. Fate Tectonics is different - it's Populous as a tile-placing puzzle game, in which the gods themselves must be appeased. It's rather good.
There are two modes in Fate Tectonics - one lets you build with no pressure, trying to make the prettiest, weirdest or largest world possible, and the other introduces cycles of creation and destruction. Either way, you'll be given tiles to rotate and place in an isometric void, connecting like-to-like in an effort to create stable forests, grasslands, mountains, oceans and more. As you progress, new Fates (gods, to all intents and purposes) will arrive, introducing their own powers and allowing you to populate and strengthen your world.
All things move toward their end though. The Fates become angry if you make certain combinations and you must attempt to keep them all on side lest they crumble your lands like a cookie. The initial phase, connecting tiles to expand biomes, is quite soothing and the world that you're building looks like the map from a roleplaying game. That's a fun thing to create and I was miffed when everything started to fall apart. But the increasingly frantic attempts to balance, rebuild and placate have their own charm, creating rifts, chasms and wastelands.
Fate Tectonics is out now on Steam for Windows and Mac. I'd love to spend more time with it. Time is the most precious resource of all though and mine is in short supply.
The included accessibility options are noteworthy - it'd be nice to see this kind of detail on more Store page descriptions and, indeed, in more games:
Accessibility options cater to gamers with motor skill, cognitive and vision impairments:
Multiple control schemes, remappable keys and input options
Design and colour palette are resistant to 3 types of colour blindness
Advanced options for cursor speed, font size, game speed and more
Separate volume controls for music and sound effects
Full-screen and windowed modes
All menus and screens have a half-second cooldown between inputs
In-game hints and guidance for new players
Assistive tile auto-rotate feature that learns your preferences
Comprehensive save system featuring overview of progress, multiple save states per save file, and thumbnails for each save state for a quick visual reference of progress