The Wandering Village is an upcoming city-building simulation game, coming to Early Access in 2021. Stray Fawn Studio is the successful developer of two different Kickstarter projects, Niche and Nimbatus. The Wandering Village is an innovative take on the classic city-building genre that’s seen its fair share of iterations.

The game takes place in a post-apocalyptic world infested with toxic spores. This uninhabitable landscape forces your village to search for a habitable spot to settle. You and your villagers seek shelter on the back of a giant creature known as the “Onbu”. With different hazards and resources at every turn, it’s up to you to ensure the survival of your village.

Gameplay

According to the game’s Kickstarter pageThe Wandering Village will feature most of the major city-builder tropes like farming crops, foraging, and obviously building the village.  The game will also feature resource management as well as rogue-like and survival elements. Not only will you have to maintain your village, but also the health of the Onbu which you are “riding”.

As the village grows in size, players must ensure that the creature is kept happy with this arrangement. This symbiotic relationship pushes the boundaries of the city-building genre and makes for a compelling narrative for fans of the genre to explore.

The wandering of the village (Onbu), adds a level of unpredictability, as the next biome could be a barren desert or a lush forest. Players would have to consider this variable when dividing up resources for expansion and improvements. Along with the addition of the “Onbu”, the toxic spores make it so that the village must constantly be on the move, for fear of infestation.

The player can deploy flame-wielding squads of villagers to dispose of toxic spores.  However, neglecting these infestations will most likely lead to problems down the line.  Given the mention of rogue-like elements being present in the game, I think it’s safe to say that negligence will trigger a game-over, or something similar. With so many different things to juggle, one can only hope that the many gameplay systems come together in a way that isn’t painstakingly difficult.

Artstyle

The Wandering Village certainly has a very distinct art style, which blends 2D villager models and a 3D world. The developers drew inspiration from legendary Studio Ghibli titles such as Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and Princess Mononoke, as well as French artist Moebius.

valley-of-the-wind
Lush greenery to contrast the toxic forests
Toxic landscapes as seen throughout Nausicaä

As a long-time fan of both Nausicaä and Studio Ghibli, the art and game concept definitely drew me towards this title. It’s exciting to imagine building a village from the ground up in a Nausicaä inspired universe. For those that are uninitiated in the realm of Studio Ghibli films, Nausicaä is a great place to start.

Kickstarter Stretch Goals

As with any Kickstarter project, the room for development increases as support for the title grows. So far, The Wandering Village has exceeded its Kickstarter goal of £30,000 by nearly 5x, accumulating funding of £117,655.02 (at the time of writing this article). Thus far, the stretch goals that have been funded are as follows:

  1. Pet Onbu – “Your villagers can send a party to Onbu’s head to pet it. Watch its cute reactions as they deepen their bond.”
  2. Tame Birds – “Your villagers can learn to tame wild birds. They can become pets or help out on scouting or foraging missions.”
  3. Water Biome – “Your villagers discover bodies of water that they’ll have to cross with Onbu. They hide new opportunities and resources, but also new threats.”
  4. (Added at £120,000) Flying Merchants – “Flying merchants will roam the skies and pass by your village from time to time. Trade with them for rare resources and artifacts.”

I became a fan of this game concept very quickly, and their first stretch goal sealed the deal. Knowing that the devs have a list of additions at the ready suggests that their Early Access and post-launch could allow them to build the in-game features even further.

Conclusion

With a mixture of reliable gameplay mechanics, as well as the inclusion of new and innovative ones, The Wandering Village is looking like a strong addition to the city-building genre. Granted, the game is still early in development, so skepticism is a natural reaction.  If you’re like me and willing to get in on crowdfunded games early, I’d recommend giving this title some thought. This small development team has put forth some fresh and ambitious gameplay concepts that will hopefully inspire other studios to do the same.

As of the release of this article, the games Kickstarter has 7 days to go, so there’s still time to expand the studios’ development stretch goals! For those that aren’t keen on investing money, you can show your support by following them on social media or wishlisting the game on Steam.

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