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Island Saga
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Island Saga

Release Date:  2011
Publisher:  Gorilla Gaming
Developer:  Gorilla Gaming
Genre:  
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Island Saga is a browser-based strategy online game that can be played via Facebook connect. The game is developed Gorilla Gaming, the maker of Stone Age Kings. In Island Saga, you are a caribic island mayor and build and rule your own island. You need to build residential houses, tailors, rum distilleries and a lot more interesting buildings.

It is identical to Castle Empire, or The Settlers Online as its interface and mechanics are almost visually the same, and what is only different around Island Saga is Build something on Island rather than land. It is not surprisingly a rip-off of the settlers online, which, After all, has been awarded for several times and enjoys growing popularity so far.

Preview:

Island Saga is direct. Without character creation, we are at the very beginning brought to the game world, a beautiful island invisible only in a small area leaving its majority enveloped by floating clouds. Without any tutorial, we are expected to try to click the icon of crossed shovel-and-hoe, finishing the first building of a Hunter. It may be hard to believe, but the whole game is really summed up in one action: build.

Nor does it have any back story. We simply continue to build. After the first Hunter to provide food, we proceed to build the wooden huts for residents, lumberjack, stonemason and then Townhall, the first bigger building. As I assumed earlier, as we level up with more buildings added, the covering clouds will be dissipated gradually to reveal more land of the isle.

All buildings fall into four major categories, known as Residential, Production, Fabrication and Decoration. The interesting part lies with its special circular resource system. To put it more clearly, residential buildings such as Hunter, Wooden Hut and Settler House need food for residents to generate golds, which in turn are necessary for other building styles such as Lumberjack and Stonemason to work on producing resources. With its sort-of self-sufficient resource system, the game moves a step forward in the city-building genre.

Yet soon enough, imbalance in resource management strikes. Since wood is required in all buildings, it is used up quickly. Just following the building list without thinking much, I built one structure after another, only to come into a halt when the wood storage is drained to zero after building a Lumbermill around Lv. 5. So to ensure a smooth and quick level-up, it doesn’t work to blindly follow the quest line. After the basic building group is set up, we can actually take quests to accumulate XP but also build buildings the way we think proper.

Zero wood storage is one factor to impede the progression. After the quick upgrade to Lv. 6 after half an hour’s play, another pace Action Points (AP) also uses up. Equivalent to the Energy setup in other facebook games, AP is consumed by every move. A maximum of 50 is fairly large, but it still Vehicle collisions do not happen by chance but are the consequence of unsafe what is defensive driving practices. doesn’t suffice to keep the build-only action rolling, for clicking to build, collect and start production all need APs. At Lv.6, besides Townhall and Storehouse(which requires no APs to collect or start production ), I still had 17 constructions that needs to consume at least 2 clicks per building in one round of production and collection; so even if the AP is full, it cannot support even two rounds of gameplay. Although we can get one more AP per minute, it really wearies away interests to wait for points trickling in one by one so as to click one building.

As we upgrade to higher level, the game naturally becomes slower. Buildings of high level require more time to complete; and quests gradually demand more requirements to finish. For instance, to create better material for bigger construction, we need 50 wood to generate 25 plank every time at lumbermill; and to upgrade Townhall or Storehouse to Lv.2, we must invest different amounts of gold, stone, plank, XP and AP.

Island Saga strikes me with so concise an interface that is rarely seen in other games. On the left enlists AP, XP, Rubie and quest-offering NPC icons from top to bottom; on the right lines up a series of bars indicating residents, golds and resources of all kinds; and at the bottom is a simple wooden box (that can be stashed away) displaying unlocked buildings. Thus, it is really game-oriented, with an entire interface almost filled up by the island scene with building activities on it. And it’s only made possible by its essentially build-only gameplay and simplified setup: instead of adding a particular upgrade icon or a pop-up interface, it simplifies all operation into a click, clicking unlocked buildings to build and clicking built structures to drive them to produce, harvest resources as well as upgrade.

Focusing purely on city-building, the game is naturally expected to provide an in-depth enough mechanics to worth delving into. Its circular resource system is a great design, which in turn ushers in the role of strategy. As mentioned above, wood is in large demand, so we have to build more lumberjacks; but if we solely consider wood production, we can soon find ourselves stranded in another dilemma: the coin drops quickly. It’s not easy to balance various resources so that we can keep moving in the game smoothly and quickly too. Yet it is where the fun comes from and what the game is really about.

Island Saga is in open beta at present. We don’t know for sure whether other additional contents will be appearing when the final version is launched. But on facebook, social element is normally included. As in Ravenskye City, docks are embedded to attract traders from distant lands; and once docks are built to connect with outside world in it, we can anchor coming ships and trading with other players. But it’s only a guess. If you prefer strategic building, you can play it and check out by yourself.

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