About This Game
A quick note from the developers:You want to build beautiful cities without investing hours on end into stressful resource management? Say no more! ISLANDERS should be right up your alley.
ISLANDERS is a minimalist strategy game about building cities on colorful islands. Explore an infinite number of ever-changing new lands, expand your settlements from sprawling villages to vast cities and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere.
If you’re thinking about buying ISLANDERS please keep in mind that we are a very passionate but small team of three. This is not a blockbuster experience with hours and hours of content. What we’d like to offer you is a simple game that lets anybody create and explore their own little worlds, while providing enough depth for players who want to challenge themselves. And you can get it at the price of a medium sized pumpkin spice matcha caramel latte.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have feedback, questions, or problems with the game. We’ll do our best to get back to you as quickly as possible and provide support if needed. Also let us know if you enjoyed the game, because that makes our day!
This game offers you:
- Intuitive and rewarding city building gameplay
- Endless amount of procedurally generated islands
- A relaxing atmosphere
- Beautiful, vibrant colors
- Great for playing every now and then, discovering some new islands and beating your high score
This game doesn’t have:
- A cinematic story
- Huge explosions (not even small ones actually)
- Online multiplayer
Wanna know the specifics?
The gameplay of ISLANDERS is pretty intuitive. You start with a set of buildings in your inventory that you can place on your island. Placing buildings is rewarded with points. The amount of points you get depends on what surrounds the buildings when you place them. Gather enough points to refill your inventory and unlock new buildings.
Once your city is big enough you may choose to travel to the next island (they are generated procedurally, so you can literally keep exploring forever). If you run out of buildings the game ends. This is where you high five yourself for beating the high score, take a proud last glance at the epic city you’ve built and start just one more round…
ISLANDERS is inspired by amazing games like:
- Bad North
- The Settlers
- Sim City
- Kingdoms and Castles
- OS: Windows 7, 8 or 10
- Processor: Intel Core i3 2.00 GHz or AMD equivalent
- Memory: 2 GB RAM
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX950
- Storage: 200 MB available space
- Sound Card: We don’t really think you need one. Just humming your favorite tune while playing is perfectly fine.
ISLANDERS is the second game from three-man indie outfit, GrizzlyGames. While it looks like a city builder at first glance, Islanders is actually more of a strategy/puzzle game where you place buildings in certain positions in order to earn points. Earning a set amount of points unlocks new buildings, and eventually if you get enough points you can move on to another island.
ISLANDERS is an excellent little game. The core gameplay works really well, and the whole thing is lovely to look at. Add a bunch of replayability, and you’ve got a great game for just $5. Highly recommended.
If you found this review helpful, please consider following my curator page: Kemo’s Corner.
I have a small dog and he likes to sit on my lap and rest his head against my left arm when I’m at my computer. Unfortunately this means that I can’t move my left arm that much without disturbing his nap. This game can be entirely played with the mouse, so it’s the perfect game for if your arm has been taken hostage. Also it’s really relaxing and cool.
10/10 can play with dog on your lap.
I guess I’ve already gotten my moneys worth.
It’s both extremely simple, and extremely deep.
– Place building near more resources for more points
– Placing buildings near some buildings gives more points, while others may take away points
– Get enough points to fill up a meter to unlock more buildings to place
– Get enough points overall on the map to unlock the next map
– Repeat endlessly (procgen)
– Space limiting means you have to plan ahead because buildings cannot be removed
– Planning 3, 4, 5 building-packs ahead is critical late-game, but it may reduce the maximum number of points you can get out of a building pack earlier on
(example: you get mansions and houses. early-game their max bonus comes from grouping them around the town center, but late-game they get bonuses from different buildings, some of which, like the tavern and circus, may lose points being in proximity to mansions, while others lose points being in proximity to houses)
– Verticality can be critical in late-game point maximization
The cities, because you can’t "plan" them in the same way as most city-builders, and because of the procedural generation, are MUCH more organic and natural-looking than any other city-builder I’ve seen. They feel like how real cities grow.
And for FIVE F****** DOLLARS!?
If you like city-builder games, this should be a no-brainer.
Well, this is basically that, except without the whole "increasing speed" thing. Islanders may look like a pure city builder in screenshots, but this really is more like a funky turn-based falling-block sort of thing, with some elements of city-builders smashed in to reshape that old concept into something new. The idea of Simcity + Tetris sounds very odd on paper, but that’s essentially what we have here, and it ends up working out wonderfully.
Your job here is to build a bustling, high-density city on each of the different islands the game presents to you. As you continue to place buildings down, your score will rise, as will the meter on the right of the screen. Your biggest goal is to fill that meter, which lets you move on to a new island, before you run out of buildings to place. If you do run out without filling that meter, your game is over. It’s a simple concept, but one that works out very well, and it creates a pleasant sort of tension as you try to fit more and more pieces onto an island with limited space, trying to use each one in such a way that allows you to reach the needed goal.
There are many different buildings available to you, yet not so many that it seems overwhelming. From houses and mansions, to circus tents and temples, there’s all sorts of things here. There are even "plateaus", which are big platforms you can place that then act as more land you can use. Unlike traditional city builders, buildings in Islanders dont really do things as they sit there. You have no resources to manage other than your inventory of buildings to place, so there’s nothing like buildings that produce resources or any of that nonsense. Instead, each individual building produces points based on which other buildings are within it’s radius when you place it, and the size of that radius varies greatly from one structure to the next. When you hover over a building in your inventory, the game will list just how many points you get for specific buildings that it interacts with. However, most buildings also have interactions that will take away points. For instance, you cant just smash two lumberjacks right next to each other… they dont like that, and you’ll incur a penalty. Keep them out of each other’s range though, and you can use them without trouble. A huge part of the game’s challenge is juggling the positive VS the negative with each piece. As well as planning for future buildings. Some of these are very difficult to use properly. The temple for instance is a gigantic thing, worth huge points if used right, but it needs a ton of space and there are some buildings (such as markets) that it will react very badly with, costing you huge points. Like any falling block puzzler though, you just have to deal with what you get. Which means careful, strategic planning. You have to actually think about what you’re doing. You have one big advantage though: Unlike block puzzlers, the pieces arent drip-fed to you one at a time. As you fill up the meter on the left of the screen, you’ll be given the opportunity to get a pack of new buildings. These packs are usually themed, and you choose one out of two packs to grab, and get a pile of new buildings based on that. This choice ends up having alot of impact. The best part is, there are many different approaches you can take in this game. If you browse through some of the game’s screenshots, you can see all sorts of screwball tactics on display there. The buildings in the game are quite versatile in the ways you can use them, and that’s part of what makes the game shine.
On top of that though, there is no grid or anything here. Buildings are not made of "tiles" like in many builder games. Instead, the bounding box for each building will exactly match it’s shape. That L-shaped house can slot in with other buildings in exactly the way it LOOKS like it should. Which just adds even more to that whole Tetris-y feel. And it’s extremely satisfying to do, too. Though it also means that when you do make mistakes, those mistakes are obvious, awkward little holes in your design that nothing will quite fit into.
The other brilliant part is actually the islands themselves. These are procedurally generated, and their size, shape, and features will vary wildly. What makes it so great though is that the islands themselves have a huge effect on the strategy that you’ll use on them. What works on one island might go very badly on the next, purely because the shape is different, forcing you to adapt and do things in a new way. Alot of games that use proc-gen, will tend to do so in a way that manages to make it not REALLY matter… each run ends up same-y even despite all of the supposed procedural aspects. But not here. The proc-gen is very meaningful, and will keep the challenges coming as you keep playing. I’m seriously impressed by this aspect of the game. It’s always exciting when you move on to the next island and see what sort of challenge you’ll be facing next.
And even with all of that going on, Islanders is a game that respects your time. You dont need to do long 3-hour sessions to feel like you accomplished something. Granted, you CAN do that, and chances are you will indeed do so (the game is very addictive and fun) but at the same time, you could jump in for a quick 10 minutes, build a bit, score some points, and feel like you did something. You can save and exit at any time, which is important in a game like this.
Overall, Islanders is an amazing game, with endless replay value and challenge for those that want it, yet managing a quite relaxing, non-frustrating atmosphere at the very same time. Easy to learn and play, yet the depth it contains means there’s no end to the possible strategies you can employ. A truly masterful example of minimalist design done right.
I enjoyed the honesty of the dev’s video to kind of give you a quick run down.
The game isn’t a fun little city builder. When playing you have to put aesthetics aside because it’s not about making your city look good. It’s all about optimal placement for each building to get awarded the most points while minimizing any penalties. To keep playing, you have to reach an ever increasing score threshold. At some point you’ll accumulate enough points to progress to the next island. If you haven’t unlocked the next island and fail to meet the next score threshold, it’s game over.
The strategy comes in understanding the building combinations that work well, having a plan for where you’re going to build, and deciding which buildings to place first. As you accumulate points, you’ll be awarded more buildings. You want to keep thinking ahead so that you can build up an area so that you can realize the maximum potential of those high scoring buildings for 100+ points at a time. However you have to be careful that you’re not planning too far ahead and lose sight of the immediate goal of repeatedly hitting that scoring threshold. Eventually you will run out of room, optimal scoring locations, and you’re done. Hopefully you’ve unlocked the next island to continue.
I enjoy the game and do recommend it. However it’s one of those games that is meant to be played multiple times, always trying to beat your best score. It can start to get repetitive, even with the procedurally generated islands. Then after playing a few hours and reaching a new high score, it’s a bit deflating starting back at the first island with 0 points. That’s just the way the game is.