Steam Challenge: Banished Experience

-Welcome to this series where I resolve to play my Steam games backlog! Here are my discoveries!-



Game: Banished
Time Played: 10.6 hours

While not technically a part of the Steam Challenge, as I started playing the night before I resolved to do this, I want to start with a quick review of the game Banished. I just wanted to note before I start that this game is incredible just with the fact that it was created by one person!

What Is It?

Some people call this a brutal and deceptively peaceful city builder. I’d say they are completely right. In Banished, you oversee a city of refugees who must build a new life in new lands. While there’s no warfare with other nations, it is a game that pits you and your ability to balance resources (both natural and labor) against nature. This is a city builder where defeat is very real.

Just starting out, so full of hope. Oblivious to the DEATH that awaits...
Just starting out, so full of hope. Oblivious to the DEATH that awaits…

You can choose your difficulty setting, the type of land you start in, the type of weather conditions and things like that from the start. It doesn’t matter though, you’re still going to lose. In fact, you’ll probably have to restart several times just to get through the third or so winter.

Then, once you think you have control over the situation, and you’ve learned how to balance food, labor and population expansion, if you accidentally tip that delicate balance in any way, it all goes south. And when it goes south, it goes fast with little hope to salvage the situation.

Despite the difficulty, I find myself having fun and drawn to try again. Maybe this time, I’ll have closer access to water (lands are generated by seeds). Maybe this time I won’t concentrate so much on farming — is that where I went wrong? This time, I’ll make sure I have enough tools to keep efficient production rates up so that we don’t all starve and freeze to death. Yes, this time, I will beat this!

I got to a population of nearly 100 when everything fell apart for me. Not quite sure what tipped it – maybe it was accepting that one extra family of nomads? Ah, well. 70-something years of keeping the settlement going isn’ t too shabby for a fourth try!

Oh, and I want to note that the game tutorials are excellent to start you off, if you’ve been scared by this review already. The game is easy to play and the UI is pretty intuitive.

Really, all that stands between your people and death is your own tactical thinking. While I agree there’s still room for some improvement (sometimes I don’t understand why people starved to death, and I do think there needs to be some sort of achievements to work towards other than just keeping the town functioning), it’s a fun game that kept me coming back for the challenge.

All in all, I’m keeping this one on my hard drive. I can see myself putting some more time into this on down the line.




    1. Haven’t tried Dwarf Fortress. This game doesn’t need hordes of anything rampaging to be evil. There are natural disasters, though, which I kept turned off during my gameplay. 🙂

      1. Well, let’s just say that the most common cause of fortress destruction for beginners is “Forgot to keep dwarves drunk enough” and leave it at that. 😀

        1. Haha…. that’s a bit more lighthearted than watching a population of 72 adults turn into 24 within the space of 5 minutes due to starvation. XD

          And then you know the rest will die (with children) next winter. No getting around it.

        2. I’m not sure you understand. Dwarves who are not drunk enough will go berserk and slaughter other dwarves. The dwarves whose friends died will then go berserk…

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