Community Inc is a “village builder” type game, where players control people called “Lings” in order to build a thriving community. At the start of the game, players can choose a number of game types like normal and free play and a number of varied landscape environments on which to start building.
You will start on a plot of empty land with a portal in the centre, and it’s from this portal that your very first ling will appear.The ling will be a builder on default, but by entering a screen you can change the profession from a list of choices. Farmers, carpenters, miners,traders, guards, hunters to name but a few, with each ling having the ability to learn up to 5 professions in total. Lings are set out to forage basic materials from the surrounding environment. Trees for wood, rocks for stone, and plants for plant fibers. On the left side of the screen is a bar listing various tasks like forage, craft and build and players can craft and build a numerous range of items like furniture, tools, weapons and tents, shops and houses.
This game has very little story. You are assigned to create a profiting, harmonious community within 30 days, with the option to sell the community at any given point. As you set out you will learn that you are not the only race here as the game has 8 weird and varied clans all willing to interact and trade with you. Tact is essential here though because if you enter a contract agreement with one clan and build a good reputation, then there is one other clan that will not like it.They may get angry, attack or even declare war, meaning players will have to maintain a steady balance in order to avoid any kind of conflict here. It’s also important to keep your lings happy, as it’s possible that an unhappy ling will either walk away from your community for good, attack or even burn your buildings to the ground! Who said that the job of community manager was easy?
Through day and night cycles, it’s really good to see your little men going to and fro with the various tasks you’ve set them.Developers have even added a winter season requiring you to create warmer clothes to prevent your lings from getting unhappy or feeling sick.It’s only after you have spent 5 or 6 days here, that certain things start to get slightly irritating!
The interface, once you get your lings into double figures and have numerous tasks to set them, starts to feel very cumbersome.You forage for wood and stone, requiring you to open the left bar, press the forage button then move a giant green cursor square across to the trees and stones you need to forage. Add numerous visits to various bars to instruct certain lings to create or build, and the experience can grate.
The Lings also need constant monitoring as they are task specific, and once completed will just wait around the campfire. It would be nice if they could attend and work areas from the multiple occupations they are given, but only one occupation remains general, that is unless you want to pull up the tab menu for lings, go to the job screen and manually change each one yourself, which you can see is complexity in itself. It would also be nice if there were differences in appearance but every ling looks similar, and when you need to centre the camera on a guard ling in a mass of lings in order for them to fight and protect your community, it once again feels very hit and miss, clunky and not as smooth as you would like.
That aside though and the biggest culprit here, is the clan notification screen(informing trade offers or clan description) that appears in the centre on unpredictable and frequent occasions. If you are selecting tasks from any bar, then this notification resets any bar highlighted, meaning you have to start selecting bars again. It may seem picky or trivial, but trust me it gets frustrating! !
Graphically, everything is quite nicely rendered with some very nice lighting effects(sunrise and sunsets) for the various times of day. The soundtrack is also a pleasant tune that blends well with the game theme,so for a good part of this game everything looks,sounds and runs pretty decently.Unfortunately,it’s just a shame that the management system starts to trip over itself when things start to get busy out there.
So to summarise, it’s tricky to judge on where this game actually stands. On one hand it’s a joy to see your community work and grow,evolve from tents to buildings and establish a competent commercial trading and thriving community and on the other, it’s let down by micro management in all its clunkiness.. “Village builder” aficionados will certainly despair at this at some point in time, yet to novices or a younger teen audience not delving too deep into the games intricacies, there is still fun to be had..
Decent game, if you have the patience to work through its flaws..
Thanks to Tinybuild for the code