It can be difficult to find the time to quit a video game, especially if you play just a few hours a week. In our biweekly column Short Play we propose video games that can be started and ended on a weekend.
Usually I will only cover one game at a time in Short Play, but after 20 minutes Metropolis and Islanders back to back, it's hard not to worry about how they stand together. Both are city-planning puzzles with very different approaches to gameplay and style. Nevertheless, they both feel that they are similar to mankind's exploitative relationship to nature.
First 20 minute Metropolis is like an expedited version of SimCity where you are located Try to build the best city in 20 minutes. Each building costs resources (stone, wood, metal or plastic), which you get when cutting down forests, when lifting mountains or when mining ruins. Each site has a limited amount of resources. To acquire them, you have to create "work" that is produced in apartments. To produce this work, flats need food from farms and landfills where they can dispose of waste. If you summarize all this, you have a simple but complicated ecosystem. "
The ultimate goal is not to create the most populous city. Instead, you get points when you do parks. The puzzle of the game is to create an efficient city that can constantly produce the resources you need while also taking away resources to create more parks.
Islanders on the other hand Did you try to build the best possible settlement on a procedurally created island? Each round, you get a number of different buildings that you can place on the island, and the place counts a lot. If you place them nearby, you will get positive or negative points, depending on what they work with. In general, this process makes logical sense for the design of a city. Houses and villas, for example, are near the city center, but also near parks. Tree fellers may be near trees. Shaman huts are like being close to nature and far from other buildings.
If you earn enough points during a turn, you will receive a new set of buildings that you can add to your island. This will continue until you run out of space, do not accumulate enough points, or move to a new island (which opens when a certain threshold is exceeded on your current island). The puzzle becomes a complex question: how do you maximize your points now so you can have more laps in the future while leaving room for future laps to maximize point synergies?
Both games are great: 20 minutes Metropolis scrapes that SimCity / Cities: Skylines craving to effectively run a city or an interconnected system but in a condensed and sometimes hectic way. Conversely, Islanders is a slower and more relaxed experience where you can take your time planning and placing your buildings to maximize the synergies between them and improve your score. But the final state of each game leaves the world around these cities free of nature, which was at the beginning or even degenerated in some cases.
In 20 minutes Metropolis When you dig up a mountain, harvest farmland or cut down a forest, the tile turns into an empty meadow. Nothing fills up again; Forests do not grow or expand, no farms, and grassland tiles do nothing. As a round progresses, you must quickly expand your city to connect to more distant resources. In this way your city looks like a strange organism in a Petri dish, looking for nutrients while you clear mountains or something else on your way.
In Islanders you often start on an island to try Avoid destroying nature. Lumberjacks, a building you can sometimes get early, collect points when you are near trees, but only earn those points when they are placed. As the island begins to fill up, it will be better to place a building on a tree as there are fewer opportunities to accumulate points. This eventually leads to loggers who are surrounded by trees or houses instead of trees. When you are done with an island, it is usually free of nature and densely populated with buildings.
The genre of a city farmer seems to be a peculiarity, changing the nature around you. However, in games like SimCity or Cities: Skylines you can often find more environmentally friendly ways. This may mean that forests or other green spaces are being created in your city to try to balance the nature repressed by your city. However, this does not always have a mechanical impact on the game. Sometimes it is more of an aesthetic effect.
Perhaps this aspect stands out more because 20 minutes Metropolis and Islander are simplified versions of a city builder. Unlike a city game with longer forms do not try to create something sustainable that can take tens to hundreds of hours to complete. It's just something that's around 20 minutes away before it's discarded, so you can move on to the next town. Strangely enough, this tight timeframe can feel like a more honest simulation of the actual construction of cities.
The Islanders were created by Grizzly Games and 20-minute metropolis by Dejobaan Games. You can get 20-minute Metropolis with a Humble Monthly subscription ($ 12 per month). Islander's is available on the Steam for $ 4.99. Both games are Windows only. It takes about 20 minutes to an hour to complete one round of each.