Going Medieval is a new colony sim developed by Foxy Voxel and published by The Irregular Corporation. The game is set during the dark ages after a terrible plague has wiped out 95% of the world’s population. This leaves the player starting with a small plot of land in a procedurally generated corner of the world with only three survivors.
Each survivor comes fully randomized with a different appearance, name, background, religious beliefs, perks, and skills. Skills are largely what matters most, as those determine what jobs and duties the survivor is proficient at. There is a wide range of skills, including construction, botany, marksmanship, tailoring, and a range of others. Backgrounds also provide a small backstory to each character while also determining their perks.
Perks can have negative and positive effects, like being able to eat anything, including raw meat, without negative effects or becoming bored easily. The perks combined with the skills make the first three survivors very influential to the beginning of one’s settlement as it determines where players will be focusing their efforts and their survivor’s time.
The first time starting up a game can be very overwhelming and difficult; there is no tutorial at the start of the game. Instead, players are left to read through a series of pages in the game’s almanac that are marked tutorial, but doing so makes the game feel much more overwhelming than it is. The pages leave out some crucial information that would really help players make a solid start, such as how survivor’s thirst is completely filled by alcohol, so getting brewing as fast as possible is a big priority.
Once players get their village established, their attention shifts towards managing their survivors and splitting the workload of survival efficiently while making sure none of them die. This is done through managing their schedules and priorities. While the system can feel a bit like editing an excel file, it actually works once players take some time to get it situated. Editing the schedule of survivors allows the player to set what they spend each hour of the day doing, whether it be working, sleeping, or leisure.
Managing schedules is important to make sure that each survivor gets enough sleep, has time for entertainment and prayer, and gets enough work done in the day to keep everything progressing and food coming in. This is where the priority list comes into play to ensure that villagers are spending their time working on the tasks they are most effective at and that need to be done. This is done by ranking several tasks in priority from 1 to 5. If none of a villager’s priority 1 tasks are available, they go on to priority 2 tasks and so on.
Using the system takes some getting used to, but it works very well at keeping these tasks hands off enough while still keeping them under the player’s control. It works especially well once the player has a large number of survivors living in their community.
From there, the player has to manage to keep everyone’s needs met by building structures, researching new technologies, growing food, cooking that food, and crafting items like clothing and weaponry. To complicate things, raids can happen that require players to defend their colony. These can be triggered by allowing new settlers to join the community and may happen every once in a while independently. The raids are intimidating at first but can be easily survived with a villager or two equipped with a bow on a high building.
Going Medieval is also an early access title, which does show in some of its systems. This is especially true with the building system. There are many great things that players can build, and designing a sprawling fortress is very satisfying. However, the system is also visually cluttered, and it can be tough to parse pieces when they are still see-through before being built. This can make building larger structures, especially multi-storied ones, very frustrating.
As it stands now, Going Medieval also lacks a solid endgame. Once the player establishes a self-sufficient colony, there is very little to do other than the gameplay equivalent to routine maintenance and building additional buildings just for the sake of it.
But the game is early access, of course, and is sold at a very reasonable price for what is currently in the game. The developers have an impressively comprehensive roadmap of what they intend to add to the game over time, and if those plans are all fulfilled, Going Medieval has the potential to become an incredibly detailed and nuanced colony sim that one could easily sink dozens of hours into happily. As it stands now, it is a lot of fun and definitely worth checking out for any fans of the genre or fans who want a good introduction to the colony sim genre. Either way, Going Medieval is a game to keep an eye on.
Going Medieval is available now on PC.