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Going Medieval: Accidental Success or True Hit?

The gaming industry may seem dark and mysterious to the uninitiated. Games that no one believed, in turn, out to be hit and hit the jackpot. Projects that fail in sales and do not earn the rights to a sequel become iconic and set the tone for years to come. Sometimes success defies any predictions: remember even Among Us, which everyone found out about when the creators were already going to give up on it and switch to a sequel.
On June 1, a small (only seven people) Serbian studio Foxy Voxel released its debut game into Early Access. And in less than a week, Going Medieval confidently topped the top sales of Steam, leaving behind Necromunda: Hired Gun, which had high hopes for the re-release of the cult Mass Effect and the eternal inhabitant of all the Grand Theft Auto V chartsIn the first week, 175 thousand copies of Going Medieval were bought, more than three thousand reviews were left about the game - and they are 91% positive. And all this even though at first (and not at first) glance, Going Medieval looks like a three-dimensional spin-off of the famous RimWorld.
So does the medieval colony simulator stand a chance of a long and glorious life? Let's try to figure it out.
Going Medieval: Accidental Success or True Hit?

Space Middle Ages

The similarity, it must be admitted, is really striking. Anyone who has spent at least a few hours in the RimWorld story generator will easily recognize most of the mechanics used. The setting is fundamentally different: if in RimWorld our wards were wrecked on an unknown planet, then in Going Medieval the settlers flee from the plague that decimated all large and even small cities.
In both games, a simple scenario includes three colonists by default. In both projects, the most difficult tests are prepared for the loner - except that in Going Medieval there is no option with five settlers. But both here and there, full scenario customization is available with a choice of the number of wards, available resources, equipment, and even open research. The selection of colonists is carried out in the same way: you can rely on the automatic completing of the team, or you can sort out the options in the hope that an astronaut or a peasant with good starting characteristics and without particularly negative features will drop out.
In the case of the scenario for a loner, the action also begins on the eve of winter, when food can only be obtained by hunting
Backgammon is still the only peasant entertainment, not counting the prayers at two types of altars
All settlers are independent individuals with a name, character, and (in the case of Going Medieval) even age, height, and weight, although it is not clear how the difference in these parameters affects the gameplay. As compensation, medieval peasants are not supplied with bouquets of diseases and only suffer from wounds.
The beginning of the game will also seem familiar to all RimWorld veterans. Our controlled ones find themselves in the selected territory surrounded by piles of resources - each of the heaps can also be "allowed" or "prohibited" so that they do not pull too much into the warehouse. And the process of building a new life begins: we erect buildings, set up machines and beds, establish farming, send settlers to hunt, repel attacks and try to cope with the heat, cold, hunger, and boredom. The priorities of work and the schedule of the day, again directly borrowed from RimWorld, help in all this.
So what's the difference then? There are only two major differences, but both are decisive.
Educational tips in Going Medieval are detailed and intuitive

Above the rafters, carpenters!

The first, main, and most noticeable difference is three-dimensionality. Even though the faces of our peasants consist of a jumble of polygons, their three-dimensional animated figures look much more alive than the chips from RimWorld. The same applies to deer and rabbits (the fauna of Going Medieval is not very rich yet), and the surrounding forests, and even cabbage in the garden: this world is more pleasant to look at, it is easier and more familiar to navigate in it - especially taking into account the free camera. Take, for example, dry trees: what to cut can be seen here at once, and there is no need to click through all the same sprouts in search of “ripe”, as in a space adventure. And the photo mode allows you to view pictures of everyday life and labor exploits from different angles.
The change of seasons is present in the game from the very beginning, and together with the lighting, it gives mesmerizing views
But the advantages of the 3D world are most clearly visible in construction. Both games have abandoned building units in the spirit of "barracks", "mill" and "smithy" - we build all buildings, both residential and industrial, brick by brick. But if alien cities in their very heyday are not far from the level of Prison Architect, then our Middle Ages is focused more on The Sims series.
At first, the colonists are content with straw mats and rejoice at the roof over their heads. A couple of days of work - and now a wooden hut with a barn has been built. And then the very first exploration opens the beams, and life changes forever. Beams allow you to build a second floor over almost any above-ground and even underground structure, erect a roof of any shape and configuration on a building - and thus build a real fortress or build a whole city. In short, the imagination and architectural talents of the player are given almost complete freedom.
A prime example of a creative approach to the use of beams: such a roof configuration is not so easy to build.
The structures that users build for their wards impress even discerning spectators. Yes, they are largely redundant: the game so far rarely sends more than twenty colonists, and such several people with all the machines and common rooms can accommodate and much more compactly. But do not forget that all buildings serve two more purposes besides work and rest: they are needed to protect against attacks and store supplies.
If in terms of enemy attacks, Going Medieval differs little from RimWorld (except that the role of rifles here is played by bows and crossbows), then with the safety of food, clothing, and resources, everything is much more complicated. There are no air conditioners in the Middle Ages, and warehouses have to be located in cold basements - experts are already scribbling treatises on how the temperature in warehouse changes depending on the depth, area, and materials used, and share insane constructions of multi-story underground hangars in which deer carcasses and cabbage forks can lie for almost years.
Warehouses for different purposes can be highlighted in different colors, as well as special rooms like a library or kitchen
But I must admit that building such a structure is much more difficult than coming up with. The layer switching system looks promising, but in reality, it is completely inconvenient. Probably, the developers should have pulled up something from the same The Sims: floor up, a floor down, walls are raised, walls are partially or completely lowered - such a tool would make it easy to navigate several levels and make sure that the peasants do not immure themselves into mine, accidentally bringing down the stairs to the top.

Living is easy

Of course, the differences from the "original" are not limited by the transition to the third dimension and many centuries ago. Going Medieval already has a couple of original and fun mechanics. For example, research: settlers at a special table literally write books, tracts, and textbooks and pile them up. If you get enough of it, you can study new technology. But while they are gnawing at the stone of science, enemies may well invade and take out half of the supplies. And soon they are going to add fires to the game, and they, too, will easily nullify all the fruits of peasant labors. Yes, it's a shame to hell, but how realistic!
There are a lot of innovations in the plans
The developers have a lot of things planned for the future: in particular, some of them still missing mechanics, familiar from RimWorld, will appear. For example, traders, caravans, factions, social interactions between settlers, animal husbandry, and animal domestication. But there is something unprecedented in the plans. For example, natural caves: colonists will likely be able to settle right in them, and this opens up wide horizons for new architectural delights.
But at the moment there is not so much content in Going Medieval, even if it is noticeable only after a few hours of play. Our peasants are very faceless - and, despite all the prehistories and special character traits, they behave almost the same. Stocks of pieces of furniture and structural elements are small, even taking into account the possibility of switching between the available materials. The technology tree is not terrified by the abundance of possibilities. So far, the developers have brought into early access only the frame of the game, covered with flesh in places, and now they plan to increase meat on it.
Large-scale constructions actually prove there isn't much else to do in the game.
But, oddly enough, this asceticism went to the advantage of the game - and became the second fundamental difference from the content-rich RimWorld. In its current form, Going Medieval turned out to be simple and very accessible: even a green beginner will be able to figure out several buttons and tabs, and detailed illustrated tips will really help him with this. At the same time, all the necessary mechanisms work almost perfectly: the colonists willingly grab onto the work prescribed to them, quite rarely fail tasks, and are quite capable of patiently getting along with little while we decide how to organize their existence. They have to be watched only during raids: at the sight of enemies, the peasants instantly become dull and acquire suicidal tendencies.
The defense of the fortress is arranged wonderfully well, but it will not help: one of the peasants forgot to close the front door
It is this combination of work mechanics with minimalist content that makes Going Medieval the perfect first game for anyone looking to build a colony for a handful of survivors, but who have not mastered the Dwarf Fortress difficulty curve, been buried under Banished's willfulness, or loved the 2D RimWorld. And several unique opportunities presented by the three-dimensional world can arouse the interest of the hardened veteran of strategic survivors.
The corpses of unlucky settlers or defeated enemies can be buried in graves without any frills. But burning is prettier!
Each settler is provided with a background story. I would like his biography to continue and develop
Is Going Medieval's starting success justified? Yes, more than. Its undeniable resemblance to RimWorld is very quickly forgotten, it is worth delving into medieval life and starting to build the fortress of your dreams. In addition, the fact that the developers brought to early access, although not impeccable, but quite a working project, deserves respect in our times. Few people remember, but the premiere of the space story generator was much more deplorable.
Does this mean that Going Medieval has a great and bright future for one of the best city-building survival games? Not at all. Before this title, she will have to go through a long and thorny path of early access, acquire content, survive the inoculation of additional mechanics, and be sure to learn how to support custom modifications. And it would not hurt to find something unique, your own - in a word, something that will once and for all make you forget about all borrowings, no matter how creative they are.
Have you already played? Share your impressions in the comments.

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