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Community Inc Review

Community Inc Review

Community Inc attempts to add something new to the city-builder genre by grabbing it by the scruff of its neck and chucking it into a fantasy setting. Developed by Brazilian studio T4 Interactive and published by tinyBuild, the game charges the player with developing a settlement of colonists from the ground up around a mysterious portal.

Curiously, Community Inc was only in Alpha for around two months. GameGrin received an invitation to the early build in July, only to find the game releasing in early August. That’s not much time to develop systems and iron out bugs and, as you’ll read later, there are certainly some issues that need sorting.

At the time of release the game comes with four different maps, five different starting loans and four metrics - vegetation, minerals, animals and challenges - that can be fiddled with to change up the game’s challenge. Completing a scenario ranks up your profile amongst the corporate higher-ups of Community Inc’s universe, though at the time of writing the feature seems to be fairly lightly fleshed out.

In Community Inc, you're given 30 in-game days to develop a thriving community of workers, called “lings”. Lings can be hired and paid to perform a multitude of jobs: mining, herb collection, crafting and forestry to name a few. Each has their own name, personality and RPG-like traits that make them better at certain tasks. Managing your workers is key to success in Community Inc, since they are the bedrock on which your new community is built.

It’s imperative that you get your settlement off to a quick start - your lings don’t like sleeping on the ground. Luckily, the game arrives with an impressive number of buildings and features that can be built and implemented in your settlement. Each requires a certain amount of resources to be requested or crafted. This can be a little confusing and time-consuming at the start, as Community Inc’s tutorial leaves a lot to be desired. It took around five or six restarts before I managed to get a small village up and running.

Visually, Community Inc is very easy on the eye. Its stylised aesthetic and cartoony people and animals give it a look and feel entirely unique to the genre. When playing the game it feels like an art style very suitable for the Let’s Players and streamers of the world. Watching a colony of workers going about their business is an eminently satisfying activity when your village is up and running. The game falls behind somewhat when it comes to the audio side of things. There’s not much to write home about - a collection of stock sounds and mildly pleasing music help to create a background to the player’s actions.

Most resources can be collected from the surrounding area: usually a picturesque forest replete with game, vegetation and minable rocks. Anything that can't be crafted or collected can be traded for with the variety of creatures that roam the world you settle. Luckily for you, each “race” that wanders through your village speaks English (or Linglish, I guess) and are fairly benign. Until, that is, they suddenly decide to swoop on on your settlement and massacre your populace.

The game’s AI needs a lot of work, to say the least. The fantastical creatures of Community Inc’s worlds will offer you a few trades and exchanges, or ask you to hinder another race in some way. After a few of those have been ignored, they’ll suddenly attack you. When the player is still trying to learn the ropes it can be a frustrating feature. Compounding this are multiple problems with the lings. Workers seem to ignore orders, build things out of queue order, and become moody far too quickly. Unlike Banished, where the systematic problems in your village can be easily fathomed, in Community Inc maladies happen with no warning or prior knowledge. Lings will commit suicide and sabotage projects en masse, even when you assume things are going splendidly.

Pathfinding is a major problem, too. When under attack, your lings will rush for safety if an “alarm” button is pressed. Clumped together, they suddenly have no idea how to navigate their space. Warriors and guards, ordered to defend their fellows, will instead find it tough to get to enemies. Some problems border on the comical. Buildings, once erected, cannot be properly deleted or torn down. Lings will ignore immediate danger, to the point where they will sleep in burning beds. The alarm button will send lings scattering towards the portal at the centre of your settlement - which is usually where the enemies come from. Pop-up trade requests from other races will also interrupt anything and everything you’re doing until dismissed.

All these issues begs the question: Why the game was rushed into release without a proper beta phase or without going onto Steam Early Access? To give T4 Interactive some credit, the studio has been releasing almost daily updates and bug fixes since release and appears to be working hard to ensure that all the problems here mentioned will be zapped in the coming weeks.

There’s a lot to like about Community Inc. Unfortunately there’s also a lot to hate. The game shows a remarkable amount of potential - a potential that should have been polished off in Early Access or in beta. As it is, that mistake means that it’s difficult to recommend the game in its current state and at its current price point. Though Community Inc will undoubtedly get much better, it’s perhaps worth waiting until it does.

5.00/10 5

Community Inc (Reviewed on Windows)

The game is average, with an even mix of positives and negatives.

There’s a lot to like about Community Inc. Unfortunately there’s also a lot to hate.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Alex Hamilton

Alex Hamilton

Staff Writer

Financial journalist by trade, GameGrin writer by choice. Writing skills the result of one million monkeys with one million typewriters.

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