The Steam Next Fest has only just begun, and I sat down yesterday intending to blow through a record number of amazing-looking demos. Foolishly, I picked Lakeburg Legacies to play first. So, instead of brief looks at a ton of new games, I ended up sinking over two hours into building up my village, harvesting love from well-matched couples, and, eventually, crowning a ruling sovereign.
The fact is, I didn’t even recognize I’d put so much time into the demo until it kicked me out for playing too long. Yep. I played so long the demo cut me off. But the game’s well-balanced loop is really to blame.
After the two-hour mark, my settlement was famed throughout the land for its many amenities, including a bakery stuffed with artisan bread-makers, hunting lodge boasting three expert markswomen, and a sewing operation large enough to supply the ever-growing population.
Constructing all these marvelous businesses took all lot of resources, like coin, wood, or stone, but also a steady stream of hard-working inhabitants. These I managed to attract in several different ways.
When I had plenty of cash on hand, I could simply recruit someone from a nearby community. The cost went up as the game progressed, but each single villager opened up a second option: matchmaking. Partners looking for love were a free source of new blood.
Successfully wooing a new resident was a multi-step process. First, I would peruse eligible companions and decide if their interests aligned with my villager in a beautifully drawn, Medieval version of Tinder. Turning someone down to continue looking required spending a few hearts, which automatically accumulate when I had couples in my settlement. But this lovely currency runs out quickly, so it was hard to be too picky.
After I gave someone a shot, the pair went out on a three-stage date. At each stage, I picked conversation topics that would hopefully make everyone happy and start the couple off on a good foot. Happy couples means more hearts, of course. And at the end of the date, I decided whether the pair would get married.
With more people, I could staff more enterprises, bring in more money, and reap more resources. Married couples also gave birth to aspiring workers, who I could apprentice as soon as they turned six. As the villagers grew accustomed to their standard of living, they began to want more. To keep my residents content, I needed to construct more buildings to produce increasingly fine products.
This is what ultimately compelled me to play Lakeburg Legacies for so long, despite my library being stuffed with demos. And I know there’s so much more left to do. I want to see what happens when I establish skilled trades, a ruler passes and the heir takes the throne, and how the next generation will handle things. Luckily, the full release is set for spring, so the wait won’t be long.