Timberborn by Mechanistry
As one of the resident Canadians on staff here at IGR, it felt only inevitable that I’d have to offer up at least SOME perspective on Timberborn, the Steam Early Access smash hit about our national animal: the beaver.
At the same time, city builders are one of a few genres of games I’ve never been able to grasp. So the question is, can a simple Canuck like me still get something out of Timberborn?
King of the Woods
A self-styled “woodpunk” city builder, Timberborn is all about starting off small and getting big. REALLY big.
Your clan of beavers starts off small and building simple necessities. They need food, water, places to sleep, safety through droughts, all the essentials. Once you’ve got a steady crop of wood, water, and food, though, then you can get to expanding your beaver empire.
Soon you have things like wood-gathering automatons and electricity-fueled factories increasing your productivity to the point that your cities will look more like an adorable Industrial Revolution London than woodland whimsy.
What especially change how you expand are the two different factions of beavers to play in the game’s Early Access version: the simple and laid-back Folktails or the industry-heavy and relentless Iron Teeth. They manage to feel quite different even with similar mechanics, which is genuinely impressive.
When the Woods Were Young
If this all sounds daunting, trust me, it was for me too.
Thankfully, Timberborn does a great job of onboarding new players, thanks to a combination of customization options, and a tutorial that gives you the basics. Starting off small is the name of the game here, and the game generally does a good job of guiding you with where to go once you’ve gotten rolling.
I will say, though, that the tutorial could do with explaining WHY what you’re doing in each stage is important a bit more than it currently does.
What also really helps Timberborn shine is just how charming the entire package is. The novelty of controlling a clan of beavers never really wears off, and I often found myself clicking on the little guys just to hear their silly gibberish noises.
Coupled with the game’s simple but attractive art design and relaxing background music, this is more or less the definition of a “chill” game, even as you’re struggling to store enough food for droughts. The various difficulty settings available also let you tailor the game’s experience to your taste.
Add in an impressively robust map editor, and Timberborn is already shaping up to be an impressive city-building package.
The game has already received several major updates during its Early Access period, each bringing substantial additions to the overall experience. Hopefully, the folks at Mechanistry can keep this going until we get a final release that, upon playing it, has even skeptics like me saying “Dam.”
Timberborn is available via Steam Early Access.
Watch the trailer for Timberborn below: