The simulation genre of games is one of my favorites. That’s why I was charmed and delighted by Stonehearth, a city-building sim with blocky Minecraft-like art style. Stonehearth tasks you with building a town. As your town grows, people will move in. These people can be trained to carry out a variety of tasks, such as farming and masonry, that will make your city grow even larger. If your city grows large enough you’ll catch the attention of other races like goblins who are afraid of your expanding empire.

Stonehearth has a huge variety of items to help you build your town. Similar to The Sims, Stonehearth has pre-built furniture and other housing elements that you can use to make your city bigger and keep your residents happy. And you can expand in a number of ways by collecting resources. You can even dig under the ground and expand there, as in Minecraft.

The people management in Stonehearth reminded me a little bit of A Kingdom for Keflings. But Stephanie Dee, one of the game’s developers, explained how much more you can train your people, including training them to combat to any threats against your city. But you don’t have to have combat or any other negative aspects of gameplay. When other races come to check out your city, you can negotiate with them to keep them from attacking you or stealing your stuff. People in your city can level up in their specialties,  making them complete their jobs quicker and better.

stonehearth

In order to be ready for combat, you must craft armor and weapons for your people to use.

Stonehearth is available as part of the Steam Early Access program, and Dee said they’ve already gotten lots of feedback from kids and parents who play the game together. She said one girl said she wanted a barn so her horses wouldn’t get cold, while another didn’t like the act of fur trapping because she didn’t like to see the animals die. Dee said they love all the feedback and are constantly updating the game based on player feedback.

I really like Stonehearth’s art style and depth of gameplay. The game seems to combine a lot of different simulation gameplay into one accessible package.

 

Nicole Tanner

Nicole Tanner

Nicole has been playing games her entire life. Now that she's a mom, she's passionate about promoting games as a healthy pastime to other parents around the globe. She has been an editor at IGN, where she launched and hosted the Girlfight podcast. In her spare time (which is not very much, honestly) she enjoys gaming, reading, and writing fiction. Most of the time she’s a mom to a crazy, intelligent, and exhausting little girl.