Community Inc from T4 Interactive
Time management:some of us excel at it, for others it is an eternal struggle. Community Inc from T4 Interactive caters to both camps, with more of a focus on item acquisition, crafting and relationships than time management itself.
After a couple of brief tutorials, Community Inc puts the player in charge of a customizable landscape and gives the ability to summon workers, known as Lings. Success in Community Inc revolves around proper Ling management, as each of them can be assigned jobs. Each Ling starts off as a builder, with a variety of other jobs available based on tool availability.
Cut Down the Trees, Name the Streets after Them
Once a few Lings are summoned, the first objective is to raze the land to make space for buildings. Trees, boulders and plants will be in the way, and specific jobs are required to clear them out. These are fairly straightforward; lumberjacks will clear trees, miners will clear rocks, and herbalists will gather plant life. Each job can be increased up to level 10, and earlier on, similar jobs are unlocked to increase the amount of objects that can be crafted.
Basic needs for the Lings are on top priority for the building list: Tents should be built until enough resources are collected for houses, and it never hurts to invest in a warehouse, library or area for livestock. Lings have a variety of status bars, such as health, happiness, education and mood. It’s important to ensure that Lings are fed – farmers are essential to raise the necessary crops – and are comfortable when they sleep.
Crafting in Community Inc is easily the most important game mechanic to ensure survival. Once more jobs such as sculptor and carpenter are unlocked, more valuable items are available to be crafted. A cooker can cook meals for the Lings, a tailor can sew clothing, and a blacksmith can forge swords and armor for guards and knights. The early stages of the game are best spent preparing for the inevitable winter or war with another species. Fur coats and iron swords become essential in the later days of the month.
I’ll Trade You These Rocks for Your Oreos
All of these gameplay tropes are par for the course in simulation/town building games, but what sets Community Inc apart is the emphasis on trading and race relations.
There are eight different races of fantasy creatures for the community to trade with, and each race has a nemesis. Shops can be opened in your community, and excess items can be sold to wandering NPCs. A representative from each race will also occasionally approach the community with a specific request. This is where relations come into play. Trading with one race will upset another, so a delicate balance must be upheld. Whatever you do, don’t piss off the Stone Golems too early in the game.
I often think back to my first play-through, where I managed to aggravate several races, only to watch a pair of Stone Golems walk directly to the center of my camp and proceed to decimate every Ling that was in the way. I felt helpless as my guards would attempt to attack, only to be wiped out in a couple of hits. Thankfully, starting over is encouraged, as the community can be sold for a hefty profit to aid in a new community.
Wait, Don’t Go in There! Ugh…He Went in There…
I had a lot of fun playing Community Inc. However the AI programming for the Lings is plagued with issues. I would often find my community under attack, with my guards unable to defend the other Lings. When an alarm was activated, the Lings would all gather in the center of the community for protection. The problem with this was that my guards who were stationed in the center were not able to defend the Lings. Instead, they would bump into them and run in circles until I suffered enough casualties to low-level attackers. The rate in which Lings would accidentally kill themselves was also a point of annoyance. One would think that fire is something to be avoided, apparently Lings couldn’t care less
Community Inc is more akin to the Sim City franchise than a game like Stardew Valley (which I also reviewed for IGR). It may have benefited from a little more development time, but the developers seem to be addressing player issues with frequent updates.
There’s a lot of potential in this title – it’s a deep town-building experience with a short learning curve. Just be careful not to give too many resources to the Magic Oak; those Stone Golems will come after you.
Watch the official trailer for Community Inc below: