Preview – Circle of Kerzoven [Demo] PC
Now live on Kickstarter, this city-building game does what it can to stand out in an oversaturated corner of the market by really leaning into the more relaxing and simulation elements of the genre. With seemingly no way to fail, even when short on food and water, this stress-free rendition of a usually exhausting test of management and prioritisation skills is like a warm hug, perfect for those more interested in seeing their little grassroots town explode into a bustling city. To make up for the lack of pressure, however, is much more growth to handle. By sending out your villagers on expeditions more locations are unlocked, each with their own unique challenges to overcome such as limited space or harsher seasons. Each of these can also be developed and eventually pave the way for trade agreements between the factions. In this way you’re not just creating a city, but an entire sprawling nation and their economy.
There’s also, apparently, heavy emphasis on the interconnected nature of each unique citizen and the animals co-existing with them as they are all individually simulated with their own wants, needs, and conditions. Whilst I did notice that certain critters were stealing the odd supply, I don’t think my short time with the game allowed me to see much of the complexities a system like this can allow for but it’s an interesting concept, especially if it allows for the slow burn and understanding of a rich ecosystem in a similar way to something like Rain World (though I doubt it needs to be half as intricate as that).
Though the cute low-poly art design and lovely day/night cycle lighting laid over seasonal weather changes is immediately welcoming, I do hope to see some sort of tutorialisation around handling resident requests, managing build/supply priorities, and controlling jobs. Currently there is nothing to teach players how to engage with many of the mechanics and their requirements, while the design of the menus doesn’t do too much to help, coming off very old-school in their look and feel. Extending the functionality of such tools is something I’d also desperately like to see, with focus on being able to direct my people and their job positions from a single screen, etc.
However, with a 2025 drop goal, and the upcoming release into early access, I’m confident everything is going to drastically change for the better thanks to the reasonable time-frame and the bucket-loads of player feedback the team is likely to receive. Admittedly I’m not the biggest fan of these sorts of titles but this much calmer take that specifically accents the balance of the community and the environment they take from is something I can really see myself curling up with. Watching my little neighbourhoods grow along with the cuddly creatures that co-inhabit the regions, steaming hot cup of tea by my side; what a peaceful escape!