Hello friends!! Welcome to Monday Mini’s, where today I will be talking about the video game, Townscaper!!
Townscaper is my anxiety go-to. When I’m feeling stressed or upset or angry about something, it’s my happy-place. And honestly, I feel like that’s one of the best things going for it. Why be stressed or upset when you can calm yourself by building an entire city above water.
If you aren’t aware, I’ve been reviewing a bunch of COZY GAMES that I play. Cozy Games are low-stress games that have little to no combat, and really don’t require any gaming expertise or knowledge. Button mash all you like. The games themselves are predominantly story driven, and are just generally cute.
If you’re interested in previous games I have reviewed, please see below:
So, let’s go take a look at Townscaper!!
Mini game review: Townscaper
Developer: Oskar Stålberg
Release date: June 2020
Players: 1 (single player only)
Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox series X, Xbox series S, Nintendo Switch, PC/Mac, iOS, Android
Genre: Simulation, Indie, Building
Build quaint island towns with curvy streets, small hamlets, soaring cathedrals, canal networks, or sky cities on stilts. Build the town your dreams, block by block.
No goal. No real gameplay. Just plenty of building and plenty of beauty. That’s it.
Townscaper is an experimental passion project. More of a toy than a game. Pick colors from the palette, plop down colored blocks of houses on the irregular grid, and watch Townscaper’s underlying algorithm automatically turn those blocks into cute little houses, arches, stairways, bridges, and lush backyards, depending on their configuration.
I wasn’t joking above when I said this game was my happy place. Because it really is.
I have always been what I lovingly refer to as a ‘Simmer’. Someone who plays The Sims. I played SimCity on a Commodore 64. (Please don’t look that up if you’re under 28. It’s a gaming computer from before the internet. I am old.)
Townscaper is essentially SimCity if there were no rules, no disasters ― natural or otherwise ― and no people to please. It’s literally you, placing buildings, over an endless expanse of water. And some seagulls flying around.
You basically have free rein to build whatever type of city you’d like. There’s no structured plan or goals. You don’t have any quests to action. It’s just placing coloured blocks that turn into buildings or arches, with walkways and clotheslines between buildings. And it’s so cute.
Now, you don’t get total creative control. When you move building blocks around, the game fills in the blanks for you. I play the Switch version, and you can’t place your own benches and potted plants, etc. But if you leave different sized gaps, you can figure out pretty quickly what the game will put in for you. I.e. if you leave gaps over the walkway, it will automatically build cute arches and alleyways, but if you have a house block and try to build an arch over that, it still gives you a rooftop.
The buildings themselves give me total Amsterdam vibes. The colours are so adorable and you can make little canals between the buildings if you want. Or you can pave the whole lot and make one huge city.
The only downside you might have (and it’s a personal preference), is that not all the blocks are uniform squares. Some of them are more trapezium or rhombus shaped. Some are star-shaped. And some of them are downright triangles. Again, I’m not sure if you can turn this off, but I think it adds to the appeal of building a real city experience where not everything is perfect.
I wouldn’t say that Townscapers is super fun or exciting. It’s a very relaxing, calming game. More down the line of Unpacking, rather than My Time at Portia. It’s also super nice to just watch someone play and create a little city.
One of my life goals should be to recreate Venice in this game. Because, why not?
Tip: Make one of your buildings one block wide, and then alternate colours as you build up ― I promise you won’t be disappointed!!