>>EDIT: The game has seen two patches in the last week or so. The review has been editted heavily to reflect that and will be pretty long. Additionally, it was only a matter of time before the white knights started showing up to try to silence the truth... but notice how none of them, including the developer, say that anything written here is either incorrect or based on unreasonable expectations.<< - End of edit
Right off the bat, I didn't thumb this game down because it's not good. That isn't necessarily the case, but because of the state the game is in after two years of early access development, the level of confidence this state instills in me that the end product is going to be worth the investment and it's cost. The idea is good. What actually exists of the game has the beginnings of being good. The level of actual progress being made and the chaotic direction it seems to be going in is disappointing and unfortunate.
This thing is so rough.... I find it very odd that for a game that's been in early access for around two years, there's no way to keep track of your citizens efficiently. Hell, there's not even an inefficient way to do it. Well, okay, there is but it is over-the-top inefficient. This is bad because in Folk Tale you can control each citizen as an individual, not like, say, Banished where you only have some limited control of groups.... and even Banished gives you a very efficient way to keep track of everybody.
I get it. It's early access. The game is not finished, nevertheless, it's going on two years in early access and this one incredibly important feature is still absent.
So, let the text wall begin! I wonder if text walls are spider-proof....
*** The obsolete, buggy "Old Tutorial" has been removed. It hasn't been replaced with a proper one, just removed entirely. There is a link to the website for game help but, well, it used to have a tutorial.... that you could play. Not so much a problem as it is a shame that content was actually taken out of the game instead of brought up to date, giving you now LESS content for your $25 than before.
*** A save feature has finally been added, after close to two years. Prior to this your only option was console saving that may or not have worked. Two years it took to get a save feature implemented into the game.
*** New settlers pour into your village much faster than you can provide for just the ones you already have.
>>EDIT: To clarify, it isn't that you're unable to provide for them, it's that you're still trying to figure out how to do so. I'm sure it's entirely possible to grow too fast and be unable to feed them and that's fair enough.<< - End of edit
Think you can build a couple houses for your four little people and accomplish something? Forget it. As soon as you do more settlers show up. More and more and more and more, every time you build a house, and you're still trying to figure out why you can't assign a farmer to that field you just made.
>>EDIT - As the developer says in the comments below, this is how you grow your village. I understand this is how it works but where's the sense in it? How did these people even know I built a cottage? And who said they could come here? And how did they make it thru all the spiders? Moreover, it's like instant villagers on demand. Need more villagers? Throw up a house and "voila!" five more villagers appear out of thin air... like it or not, almost instantly.
What it feels like is a chaotic, cobbled together mechanic that I truly hope is not intended to be permanent, and herein lies one of the glaring issues with this game - Such a basic and fundamental part of the game, after almost two years, seems just tossed in there because they needed some way to get villagers and it doesn't make any sense.<< - End of edit
*** Don't get too close to your villagers. Not only are they weak, they're painfully stupid. A lone hunter has zero problems killing deer all day with his bow but one single spider (half the size of the deer) will kill him in a matter of seconds and he doesn't even have enough brains to run away from it. None of them do, no matter how outnumbered they may be. Dumb is one thing, but a reckless disregard for even their own lives is unacceptable. The dismally slow camera doesn't help matter much either. And no, you can't adjust the speed in the settings.
>>EDIT - This issue has largely been fixed in the last two patches. Oh, your villagers are still dumb as a bag of hammers. They'll still walk right up to a spider like it was a child's teddy bear and slap at it while it tears their guts out but the spider nests have been moved back and the point in the game when they're scripted to spawn has been delayed. Still though, your villagers are just as absent-minded as they ever were and I think the whole scripted spider bit needs to be completely done away with anyway. The spiders are cool, the way they work not so much. << - End of edit
*** Day/Night cycles are so short that they may as well not even exist. Your villagers don't care anyway. They never go home. They never stop working. They never stop suiciding into packs of spiders.
*** Some of the stuff in the game is just too silly. For example, when one of your villagers goes to the supply cart to get something to eat you're given a text notice, but the text doesn't say something like "So-and-so is buying rations because he/she is hungry", no, you're given ~"So-and-so is buying rations to om nom nom". Om nom nom? Really? I can get behind silly and comical, but "om nom nom" is neither. It's just juvenile. It's something you say to your six year old to make sitting at the supper table sound like fun.
Well, it has some good stuff too:
*** It's pretty.
*** Your hunters actually hunt. They don't just wander around in the woods magically producing deer meat, like in Banished. Same with the fisherman.
*** The RTS element might be nice once every homeless Tom, ♥♥♥♥ and Harry on the continent stops trying to move into your village... and some sort of decent way to manage your population and resources is implemented. As it is now, prepare to hear a neverending loop of this:
"Building complete", "New settlers have arrived", "Your villagers need firewood", "New Settlers have arrived", "Your villagers need food", "New settlers have arrived", "New settlers have arrived", "Building complete", "New settlers have arrived", "Your villagers are freezing", "New settlers have arrived", etc., etc., etc.
It'll make you want to scream. It really will.
>> EDIT - This, too, has been improved in one or the other of the last two patches. It's still going to happen but not as much since some of the villagers needs and consumption rates were tweaked.<< - End of edit
*** All the makings of a great game are here and I'm sure the developers are committed to it. It's just that for going on two years in early access and a $25 price tag, there's almost nothing to show for either. If you were to play this game today, for the first time, you'd swear to God it just hit early access yesterday. I buy a lot of early access games and I have paid less and gotten substantially more from almost every one of them in terms of both content and playability and I'm talking about at the time of their release, never mind two years later!
But, you know, I'm going to keep playing it and looking forward to what the updates offer. I like the game, not because it's good but because it CAN be good. To be more specific, because it WANTS to be good. For $25, though? UNTIL PROGRESS AND DIRECTION IMPROVES over the long term I do not recommend the game with a $25 price tag.