Timberborn is a city builder featuring super smart beavers
Beavers are the builders of nature, and in Timberborn, released Wednesday on PC in Steam Early Access, players manage a colony of these industrious critters in a post-human world. The city building simulation has a cuddly exterior, but make no mistake, it’s legitimately difficult. As game developer Mechanistry described on their Twitch channel, in Timberborn “Beavers work or die.
Timberborn takes place in a future version of our world where humanity has sapped planet Earth of its precious resources. Super intelligent beavers have evolved and formed “lumberpunk” societies, where timber is an essential resource that powers agriculture, river control, and the growth of society. Rather than building the city alone, TimberbornThe elements of settlement management rely on survival simulation, requiring players to take care of food and water by cultivating and building waterwheels, all while the river level changes as the river level changes. over the seasons. And then, of course, resources require warehouses for storage, or they become raw ingredients to build or maintain other processes.
It’s a satisfying, sometimes punitive balancing act. Within an hour of my first game, I accidentally solved my beaver unemployment problem by dying en masse from starvation. I didn’t realize it until there were only three beavers left, two of whom perished while going blueberry picking, reducing my entire colony to a living beaver child. Of course, the carrot and potato farm I had meticulously laid out went well half a day later. I love this game.
And although I usually waste a lot of time initially in colony management simulations building comfortable accommodations – it depresses me to see someone sleeping on the floor – Timberborn is the only exception. Watching the beavers curl up on the ground is cute as hell. That said, these beavers have more advanced societal needs like creature socialization and comfort (heh), which affect their “well-being” rating and therefore their productivity. You can build housing for them, which increases their comfort bar, as well as add design elements, such as monuments, to make your colony more liveable.
But it is in the construction of the city that the game really shines, thanks to the committed realization of its “lumberpunk” concept. They are beavers, after all! They’re cutting down trees with their choppers – seriously, zoom in and you can watch – and they’ve developed technology and a supply chain all around it. The wood is transformed into sawmills which refine the wood, rinse and start over. Buildings can often be built vertically on top of each other to save space as you grow your beaver society. Scrap, mined from human ruins, can be turned into additional engines and technologies. These are classic mechanisms of urban construction, but because Timberborn When it comes to beavers, it’s all about water and wood management – and that’s way cuter. And naturally, their hard work results in the creation and maintenance of a magnificent dam that allows the colony to manage the flow of the river in the event of flooding, fallow and drought.
This fluctuating environmental conception draws on a little Frostpunkethics of, with no explicit timed challenges or almost difficulty curve this to punish. It is also similar to Don’t starve together, which force players to store food to survive the winter. In the same way that these sims issue seasonal, sometimes cyclical challenges to keep players on their toes, TimberbornThe drying up of the river forces the player to constantly rethink and reassess. Water is essential for survival in Timberborn, because it is necessary to convert wasteland into arable agricultural land, among other tasks. A player can use explosives to dig canals for the rainy season and build huge grain warehouses to prepare for drought. Forget to store and you have a bunch of dead beavers.
It’s all wrapped up in a package that is both nostalgic and new, with a visual style reminiscent of early 2000s CD-ROM games like Ubisoft’s Settlers franchise, but with pathing and placement tools from construction a little more RollerCoaster Tycoon 3. That said, it does have that sleeker layout that befits a modern take, including a map editor that lets players design their own environments.
Timberborn has quietly climbed into Steam’s bestseller list, just behind giants like Death loop. Since it’s still in Early Access, it has a few issues, but I expect those to be ironed out. Also, I might be reading too much in my own player error… I’m not saying I killed my first colony because I spent too much time laughing and zooming in as they were chopping down trees and were running to do their chores. Again, I am not not say that.