Envision Entertainment have released a demo for rustic city-builder Pioneers of Pagonia, and as they say in Manchester, by 'eck it's gorgeous. Designed by Volker Wertich, one of the original creators of The Settlers, the new village 'em up puts you in charge of medieval tribes scattered around an almost eerily scenic island chain.
It's all about the little touches: check out those azure windmill blades, flickering in the breeze! And how about the little animations of people hefting barrels of water? Man, it makes me want to jump in there and start stamping on everything, wailing and babbling like a mad god. But let's not do that. Let's play the demo instead. It gives you three maps, and lands ahead of the game's early access launch on 13th December.
The demo accompanies an early access roadmap. Launch players can expect neutral and hostile encampments - the badniks include hench wolfpeople and menacing chaps in bird-themed attire - together with procedural maps, terrain and difficulty settings, plus a trade system and "more wusel". As Kaan reported in June, "wuselfaktor" is a German term roughly meaning hustle and bustle, which certainly describes the sight of villagers hauling carts while laughing together and ugh, it just makes me want to set the whole hillside on fire, whooping like a banshee, but we won't do that. We won't do that.
The early access build will cost £25.99, €29.99 or $29.99 USD. Tentative Pioneers of Pagonia updates for 2024 include the addition of fishing huts and subsurface mining, together with a productivity display, because there's no fantasy of colonialism so utopic that it can't be optimised to within an inch of its life.
Pioneers of Pagonia arrives at an opportune moment. The Settlers franchise is at a relative low point - in his The Settlers: New Allies review from February, Rick Lane summarised it as "[beginning] promisingly, with a lush new setting and satisfying construction" but added that "its hallmark production systems sorely lack depth, while its RTS combat adds little of value." Hopefully Pagonia can fill the breach. Here's the Steam link with that demo - let me know how you fare!