Guest Author - Lisa Shea
In the style of the many city-building games that came before it, Children of the Nile lets you create homes, shops and estates in classic Egypt.
First, I am a huge fan of city building games in general. I have spent countless hours laying out roads, adding in plazas, watching with glee as the homes upgraded and the people became more and more happy.
I do have to say that the graphics in this game are pretty impressive. You can zoom out to an overview level to watch your city's progress, or zoom in to such a level that you can see the individual flowers. Each home, person and land formation is clear and identifiable.
However, the gameplay itself is extremely slow. I have very high end systems here so it's not that my system was "slow". It's just that the gameplay *is* slow. You request something, and then sit around for quite a while waiting for it to happen.
Adding to the sense of time going slowly is the game clock. It isn't even ticking by day after day. It ticks by *minute by minute* which makes little sense for a game that spans years. You have three seasons, and a certain number of days per season. The minutes going by make it seem sim-like, but of course the actual timeline doesn't quite make sense.
As far as the AI goes, this game goes for the family approach. Each household has a male, female and child. The male tends to do whatever the "job" of the household is (farming, making bricks, etc). The woman has to go out from shop to shop, buying household necessities. In some homes she also has to do the crafts. The child either helps with work, or runs off to school.
The game is pretty straightforward in its chain of commerce. You put the brick maker near the clay. You put the brick layer partway between the brick maker and where the brick homes will be built. You build shops nearby so the wives don't have to go far to shop.
I realize that the game has to be slow for beginners, but even the fastest speed still trudges along at a crawl. If you really set it on the slowest setting, you could go eat lunch before anything began to happen! Zooming in and out of every part of your town only keeps you occupied for so long.
Recommended for younger players who are fine with a very slow pace, but for most players this is just going to be too tedious. Small maps, few campaigns, and long, long waits between action.
Immortal Cities - Children of the Nile