PREVIEW: Happy Town People


happy-town-people

There are a lot of city-building and life simulation games around these days from insanely detailed and intense to the easy to pick up drag and drop builders. Christian Merz wants to add one more city builder in to the mix, Happy Town People which is still in Steam Early Access.I’ve got access to the Early Access so I can have a good route around and see what’s currently looking like.

Status: Early Access

Developer:  Christian Merz

Publisher: Christian Merz

Genre:  Town Building with Zombie Apocalypse

Release date: TBA

Type: Single-player

When you load up Happy Tree People, you’re taken straight to the building screen where you can start to build your burgeoning town. The game is shot from a top down perspective, sort of like the original Grand Theft Auto on the Playstation, so it’s not awesome as far as graphics go, but it does get the job done. At the beginning of the game there is nothing, except for a few homeless citizens milling around looking for a home and maybe a purpose in life. It’s up to you to build them everything you could ever wish for, from power stations to churches and superm arkets.

Now, if you’re thinking it’s simply a matter of plonking down the various zones and buildings and the simulator will do the rest, a la SimCity then you’d be wrong. There is far more to building your town and making your people happy than plonking stuff down. For a start you are expected to lay the floorplans and add the items and furniture to each building you want to have in your town.

Even on an individual level you can manage the skills of your people and decide where they work and where they live. The granularity of detail you get with Happy Town People is impressive, although this does have the drawback of it being a very slow and methodical game.  You can’t just rush in and build everything you want, otherwise your cash reserves drop and there’s just a load of unused buildings draining even more cash away.

There is no other purpose in this game other than to build your town up and well, to keep your people happy. There are rumours that there are zombie attacks at later stages in the game, but I have as yet been able to corroborate these. Presumably your citizens would be able to defend themselves in some way against these attacks.

Happy Town People is still an Early Access game and as such there is not much in the way of any tutorials. When you first start you’re instructed to lay a land boundary and then it points you to the residential room plans and items, but after that, no more. You’re on your own. This and the lack of any guides and walkthroughs online have meant that playing this at present is difficult and laborious. You click and lay plans down, and see an endless sea of flashing worker, power and water icons.

That aside, and from what I have managed to figure out, I think Happy Town People has a lot of potential. There is an incredible wealth of detail in this game, and for anyone who loves micromanaging on a fantastically low level this game when finished might be just what you’ve been waiting for. I guess, we just have to see how much more polish Christian will add to this game, as it stands now it’s not overly appealing but there is still time for all that to change.

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