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Key Info: Developer: Raymond Doerr (SixtyGig Games) Genre: God-Like, City Management, Tower Defense Price: £11.39 (Steam Link) Overview: Rise to Ruins is a brilliant mix of the city building & tower defense genres, with a hint of god-like features, where you aim to establish well rounded towns in a world blighted by the ‘corruption’, essentially all manner of walking dead and monsters aiming to take control of the map that you also want to keep for yourself. Worked upon by Raymond Doerr since it’s initial early access release in 2014 Rise to Ruins finally received its 1.0 update and full release on the 14th October. In Depth: The game offers it’s players the opportunity to choose from 45 Locations on the World Map to begin setting up their initial base, all of which have different layouts and their own challenges for players to overcome, whether it’s a lack of certain resources or terrain that offer no obvious ‘nice’ places to start from, where you could reasonably grab a stretch of land that is easily defensible. Though the World Map also serves to function as a longer term campaign for players to work their way through, as once you’ve got an initial base established and producing resources you can look at having your villagers emigrate to begin populating another village on a different map, in fact as the corruption begins to push too hard in one map the aim appears to be to pick up sticks and move on to somewhere a little less tainted to carry on. More locally the aim on any specific map is to carve out a stretch of untainted land to establish your village in safely, or if you’re feeling particularly adventurous you can aim to begin pushing the corruption back, although completely cleansing a map doesn't seem to be a game design, and this is where one of the biggest balancing acts comes into your decision making. The corruption will continue to spread across a map if left unchecked, and as it continues to spread the land available to you lessens, while also increasing the number of enemies that will crash upon your defenses night after night in an attempt to destroy your village, however, if the corruption isn’t able to expand as it wants to the waves of enemies that besiege your village will increase in difficulty, and so you are left with the tough ask of finding that sweet spot in between that doesn’t allow the corruption and its minions to overwhelm your defenses. City building and management is deep and meaningful, with actual choices to be made as you are limited in how quickly you can expand through a building support limit, as well as through the actual villagers available to you to fill these workers slots. Building also serves a secondary purpose, and that is expanding the area in which you’re able to build in, initially you’ll be given an ‘area of control’ around the camp that you place and all other buildings must be built within that area, but each additional building will extend the area of control around them allowing your controllable space to increase, with some buildings designed purely to give you more room to play with. This is where the perfectionist within me clashed with what I knew was the right thing to do, every other city builder I’ve ever played I’ve aimed for the ‘pretty’ town, the well thought out layouts, the aesthetically pleasing, but in Rise to Ruin you need to put that to one side and focus on extending your area of control. If you aren’t ambitious early on in grabbing land, you’re going to find it very hard to build everything you want, and just as hard to expand beyond your walls due to the time and resources needed to make an area safe – be bold, be ambitious, maximise the area of control! This brings us to the Tower Defense side of things, every night (and occasionally during the day) monsters are going to come for you, in a slow trickle to begin with before increasing night after night until hordes of enemies are descending upon your village! The AI is designed so that the monsters follow the shortest accessible path to your village, think Rimworld, and so you’re going to want to wall off three sides of your village and begin creating the ultimate path of doom. Defense is provided in multiple ways; constructed towers, golems, your own villagers and finally some god powers that you have available to you, but the nightly attacks can easily catch you out if you’re not prepared for it, and after the first night or two, you really cannot get by relying on purely the powers available to you (think fireballs, magic missiles etc). The difficulty ramps up pretty quickly, and more than once I’ve been sat there on night 3 or 4 and known that it’s game over already because I hadn’t planned properly and gotten the towers and supporting buildings needed for ammo built in time. Overall it’s a game I’ve been more than happy to follow through Early Access to its full release, and it offers a really solid challenge in it’s gameplay while also looking lovely as well! I can easily recommend the game to anyone who enjoys these genre’s, and if you’ve already played it let me know your own thoughts below! HappyFeet