I was very lucky to be given three games from someone for Christmas off of my wishlist and one of them was something that I put on my wishlist earlier in the year and totally forgot about.
That would be this game, Islanders that was released in April of this year.
Which TECHNICALLY means it can be, if I like it, put in my top games of 2019 list. Winning.
Now for some reason I probably thought this game was a settlement building type game and it turns out that whilst it kind of is it very much isn’t.
What Islanders actually makes you do is choose between two sets of buildings and then strategically place them to gain points. You have to accumulate a certain amount of points with each set of buildings you choose to unlock the next pack and if you don’t make enough points with each pack then it is game over.
Each building has certain other buildings that will either give it more plus points or even negative points and the Islands themselves are pretty small and difficult to place things on.
Which is where the fun really is!
When I sat through the very small tutorial I was worried I wasn’t going to enjoy it as much as I thought I was going to when I thought it was a settlement building game but actually it is very clever in how it works and makes me determined to do better with each game. Sometimes I’ll admit I don’t even get through the second set of buildings because my placement of the first was so poor.
It is a game that makes you think not just about what you are currently doing but what you’ll be doing in the future. You might not be able to tell just what it is that you’ll be getting a choice of next but you’ll be keeping areas safe just in case you get the Lumber set or bigger spaces free for the city type sets. When you start it is a case of “where will this make more points” but the longer you play you see yourself sitting there thinking “this might make the most points now but I don’t need those points so where can it go that will make it easier to gain points later” which…. I’m not very good at.
That being said I have got to a third Island, after a certain amount of points you do get the option to move to another Island, and amassed just under 1,500 points in one play through.
Which I’m pretty proud of.
That being said it isn’t a overly taxing game in so much as it is a game you can put on and play absent mindedly if like me you enjoy watching people streaming or want to watch a movie but keep yourself busy at the same time.
As of writing this review I’m watching Hat Films painting for the Jingle Jam (telling you exactly how long ago I wrote this blog and had a free Saturday to post it) and just playing this in the background and it is kind of soothing and fun. Then again if you wanted to really put effort in it is a game that won’t stress you, when it goes wrong you can kind of see it coming and see where you personally went wrong and the game itself doesn’t ever feel unfair.
Away from the game play and the actual aesthetics is amazing.
It is very simplistic, the colour pallet kind of reminded me of Dyscourse which was one of my favourite games that I played throughout last year, but it is just beautiful and bright. It doesn’t tax the eyes, the buildings are all clean shapes and inoffensive and just generally it is super easy to lose yourself in.
I guess this is important because it stops you from getting stressed.
It is so beautiful and calming to the eye that you kind of just don’t care. Who cares if you have to restart five times within five minutes because you keep messing up in the earliest of stages when it is so calming and nice?
Not only that but initially you might see that you can move to a new Island and feel that this is the goal you should be following but after a while you just stop and feel like filling one Island up completely and then find out that the longer you are on one single Island the more options you get. Of course it also gets more difficult in the strangest of ways the longer you play, my third Island in my longest play through was my biggest Island but each and every set I opened literally had like 3 or 4 of the same building in them which made it difficult to figure out placements for everything.
When you think you know what you are doing it changes everything up on you and makes you think again.
This game is honestly a 100% recommendation for me. As I said this was a game brought for me on the Steam sale but less then £5 for a nice chill game that also is pretty challenging is absolutely a bargain.
Such a fun game.