Landnama is a strategic city builder game telling the story of many viking clans settling in a new area. Each clan has its advantages and weaknesses. You must choose the clan you feel will give you the best chance survival. You only get three chances to complete your saga. If you fail three times, then your saga is over.
Landnama is an easy game to learn to play, but one that is very difficult to master. There were several times when I thought I knew how to succeed, only to have a disaster foil my strategy. You begin each clan’s attempt to settle an area with 5 hearts. Hearts are what you use for currency. You gain hearts from different structures you build. Your settlement starts with two hex pieces. Each hex piece represents a new piece to your settlement. You select the piece with your analog stick and see what you can develop on it. Your goal for each settlement is to upgrade your capital structure five times. Each time the upgrade will take longer and cost more hearts.
There are complicating factors in your quest. During each year of your settlement, you have two things to contend with.
The first is a random disaster. These disasters range from political unrest to famine. They will give you two options for penalties. Which option you choose depends on your current levels of hearts, and the time you have left.
The other thing you must contend with is the winter. Each winter has a range of cost. The cost range will gradually go up as you progress through the years. The amount of hearts that the winter will cost you is random, you hit the ‘A’ button and see the number. If you don’t have enough hearts to pay the cost, you have two results. One is your clan perishes. The other is that you use a Vegvisir to lower the cost of winter to the minimum of the given range. The game will only permit three of the clans perishing for each saga.
This game looks simple, but that isn’t a bad thing. Landnama is a mechanic heavy game, and doesn’t really need flashy graphics. The graphic style reminds me of a board game. As far a performance goes, I never saw it dip below 60 fps. I wouldn’t have expected it to dip below 60 fps, but you never know.
The story in Landnama is also very minimal. The premise is explained to you through various points in the game. Landnama is very mechanic focused, so the story doesn’t really need to be very deep. You start your saga and experience every disaster and winter along the way.
The sound in Landnama is very relaxing. I enjoyed playing the game with my headphones. The music gets you into a zone, and before long many hours have passed.
Speaking of value, if you like games like Civilization, but don’t have the time or patience to manage all of the different systems, then Landnama is perfect for you. I was able to pick it up and play for as little as my 30 min lunch break to 2 hours on a rainy day. As I have noted, you can buy this game for $13.99 on Steam, and you will certainly get your money’s worth with Landnama.
Sonderland Games has made a very simple fun game in Landnama. It is a game where you can spend as little as a lunch break playing, up to several hours at a time. You can purchase Landnama on Steam for $13.99. On behalf of the Handheld Gaming Community I would like to thank Sonderland Games for the review code.