Adventure Era
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 4 August 2014, 9:23 am
Different types of games are suitable for different platforms, and then often proliferate on the platform they are most suitable for. Mobile platforms like tablets favor games that do not require large blocks of uninterrupted concentration. So slow city-building economic simulation games, where you only need to see after your city for a few minutes once in a while are quite common on iOS and Android platforms. Finding a good one is often not obvious because there are too many of them on offer. And it is not only the quality of the game itself that varies, but as most of them are Free2Play, there are also huge variations between how well the game plays with no or little payment.

I am currently playing Adventure Era (from Game Insight / Krivorukoff) on my iPad, and found it to be one of the better games of this type, both in gameplay and business model. In gameplay you could compare it to games like The Tribez on iOS, or The Settlers or the Anno series on the PC, but as I said, mobile games are usually designed for slower gameplay. You build up a village over weeks and months, not hours. While you can speed up everything to instant completion paying real money, that would definitively not be the recommended way to play these games. Rather the idea is to give commands to your workers, log off, and check back a while later. The speed of your progress depends a lot on how often per day you can log in, but personally I don't mind for example progressing slowly during the week where I only play mornings and evenings, and faster on the weekends where I have more opportunities to play.

The basic concept of Adventure Era is simple: You first build houses to have workers. Then you build production buildings in which to employ those workers to collect various resources, like food, wood, or stone. With the resources you then build more advanced buildings, level up your buildings, or pay for research into new technologies. Soon you find out how to transform your wood into planks or your stone into slabs, progressing you to new buildings and new technologies. So you have a whole economy running, with taxes and buildings that make gold to finance the cost of the resource production.

What makes Adventure Era stand out from a large number of similar Free2Play games is both the quality (nice graphics and animations, good balance of the economy), and the unobtrusive monetization. Apart from being shown the option in the tutorial, you aren't constantly pushed towards accelerating your economy with real money. And if you pay money it is actually better spent on buildings that provide additional workers or income, which helps you in the long term instead of just speeding up something you could have waited for. And playing without paying is also totally viable. Personally I don't mind paying minor sums for games I like, and found the additional worker and income buildings a good investment.
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