Quite how it has taken so long to port Townsmen 6 from J2ME to Android is a mystery, but anyone keen on resource management and strategy won’t be complaining. The Townsmen series has long been one of the best strategy games available for mobiles – but will this latest incarnation disappoint?
The Revolution is coming! But to Android, the mob is storming the Bastille about 18 months late…
Gameplay: Your task in Townsmen 6 is typical of the genre. It sounds easy: build a town, make sure everyone has enough food, water and other resources, then fight the neighbours – or, as the title suggests, the corrupt King and Queen of revolution-era France. But while Townsmen lures you in with easy tutorial missions, the difficulty quickly ramps up. You rarely have enough of any given resource to keep all of your buildings operating, so you find yourself constantly switching workers from Forge and Bakery to University and even Barracks to keep everyone supplied. Add inter-townsmen conflict to the mix and what started out as a slow-paced chin-stroker of a game becomes gripping and even a little stressful.
The Townsmen series has long aimed to recreate the Settlers vibe for mobile. With this sixth installment, they seem finally to have got close. Fun, thoughtful, occasionally frustrating and pretty damn big: there’s a campaign mode that will take a dozen or so hours to complete, plus a free-play mode.
Annoyingly, there are a few obvious features which just seem to be missing, such as lists of buildings and the location of your Townies. Casual strategy gamers won’t object to their absence, but most Townsmen players will be well-used to PC games like Civilization and Total War and know that lists are very useful – and not at all boring! Honest…
Graphics: Early installments in the series were squint-inducingly difficult to play as developer Handy Games tried to fit a whole town onto a tiny low-res screen. This version is much nicer even than the J2ME original, and the cute cartoony Townies looked great on my X10 mini’s tiny screen. A fully-featured lite-version is available, but if you have a small screen like mine it will be worth paying to get the ad-free version. My only gripe: not only does in-game rain make your population miserable, it also makes the game awkward to play while the rain lashes down, blotting out the view between you and your town.
Sound: Pleasantly pastoral background music with a vaguely period flavor. Average sound effects don’t really contribute much, and the music gets repetitive too soon – but then again, we strategy gamers are used to being short-changed on the audio, so it’s pretty much par for the course.
Overall: A really good stab at a mobile strategy game; the paid version is remarkably cheap and with a free version available (full version with ads) you may as well give this a try. However, as close as this comes to a fully-featured strategy game for Android, it’s still only nearly there, especially when compared to PC or even console equivalents. I have a hunch there’s something big and strategic just around the corner. But Townsmen 6 will more than do until then.
Developer Website: Handy Games
Market Link: Townsmen 6