In this city-building strategy game, you control a group of exiled travelers who decide to restart their lives in a new land. They have only the clothes on their backs and a cart filled with supplies from their homeland. The townspeople of Banished are your primary resource.
User reviews:
Overall:
Very Positive (18,424 reviews) - 90% of the 18,424 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Feb 18, 2014

Sign in to add this item to your wishlist, follow it, or mark it as not interested

Buy Banished

 

About This Game

In this city-building strategy game, you control a group of exiled travelers who decide to restart their lives in a new land. They have only the clothes on their backs and a cart filled with supplies from their homeland.

The townspeople of Banished are your primary resource. They are born, grow older, work, have children of their own, and eventually die. Keeping them healthy, happy, and well-fed are essential to making your town grow. Building new homes is not enough—there must be enough people to move in and have families of their own.

Banished has no skill trees. Any structure can be built at any time, provided that your people have collected the resources to do so. There is no money. Instead, your hard-earned resources can be bartered away with the arrival of trade vessels. These merchants are the key to adding livestock and annual crops to the townspeople’s diet; however, their lengthy trade route comes with the risk of bringing illnesses from abroad.

There are twenty different occupations that the people in the city can perform from farming, hunting, and blacksmithing, to mining, teaching, and healing. No single strategy will succeed for every town. Some resources may be more scarce from one map to the next. The player can choose to replant forests, mine for iron, and quarry for rock, but all these choices require setting aside space into which you cannot expand.

The success or failure of a town depends on the appropriate management of risks and resources.

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Win XP SP3 / Vista / Windows 7 / Windows 8
    • Processor: 2 GHz Intel Dual Core processor
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: 512 MB DirectX 9.0c compatible card (shader model 2)
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Storage: 250 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Any
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 7 / Windows 8
    • Processor: Intel Core i5 processor (or greater)
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: 512 MB DirectX 10 compatible card
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Storage: 250 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Any
Helpful customer reviews
212 of 225 people (94%) found this review helpful
8 people found this review funny
116.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 16, 2015
Banished strips the complexities of the city-building genre to their essentials. Shining Rock Software has rolled the genre back to the middle ages. There's no sewer system to manage, no power grid to maintain. Just a group of settlers pushing into the wilderness, and a wilderness that pushes back.This simplicity creates a focused game in Banished. It starts as an intimate simulation and grows to be a taut, strategic experience.

Banished feels more like a survival simulation than a traditional city builder. I was plopped into the middle of the wilderness with a dozen people and some supplies, which they immediately began consuming. The race was on to clear enough land to plant crops and build houses before winter.

Each step in this arduous process is shown off by delicate animations that give life to the individual tasks. And each of those animations has a one-to-one relation to the city's production. Ask a citizen to fell a tree, and watch as they chop it down, carry back and deposit a single wood resource into the town's storage. Banished's towns look like a busy little ant colonies from afar, but all the activity is something more. The game rewards careful study, and those rewards made me begin to care about my little citizens.

At the expense of making laborers anonymous, Banished provides an enormous amount of control over their virtual lives. The game's mechanics are closely tied to the cycle of the seasons, so in the spring and early summer I shifted everyone into the fields for planting. In the autumn I pulled laborers out of the mines to bring in the harvest. With such high-level strategy driving my decisions, I felt like a leader, not just a deity pushing at abstracted levers. While I couldn't get to know my citizens as individuals, I had control over their lives.

This worked perfectly until the mid-game, where the simulation gets tedious. Once I pushed the population over 50 workers it became less about dictating the free time of each individual and more about the careful accounting of performance of the population as a whole. But at this level of gameplay, Banished struggles with giving players solid feedback on their actions. For instance, a gatherer will roam the area around town and carry back little baskets of roots and berries. But when the forest has been picked clean they just mutely wander. You have to zoom in, below the trees, and check to see if their hands are full. When you're tracking a small population of workers on a one-to-one basis, this is fine. When the population has ballooned, it becomes a major frustration.

The struggle for information makes Banished especially difficult at points. As I swung wildly from feast to famine and back again, lots of people were left cold and hungry. Entire towns died off before I had an understanding of how to cycle through methods of generating food in order to reliably collect enough to make it through each winter. And even then it was more guesswork than fact; let's try hunting more this year, fishing more the next. While future towns benefitted from my experience, Banished put me through an emotional wringer to earn any pride I felt for my little ant farm.

My only comfort during these tough times was to zoom into the gorgeous fully 3D world. Banished looks phenomenal, and it ran without a hitch at maximum settings, even in the late game when my town of nearly 200 began to sprawl across several screens. At such a large scale Banished resembles a little clockwork machine with hundreds of tiny parts. And as the movement began to slow, the complexity of the simulation allowed me to easily pull off the gears and reassemble them in clever ways. When a disaster, say an infestation of insects, began to attack the crops, I pulled workers from the quarry to quickly bring in the harvest. At the same time I repositioned workers from the coal mine to clear more land for fast-growing, alternative crops. It was a joy to find that sometimes my improvised solutions even worked.

Banished demands your attention. It's a game that shows instead of tells, and at times I wish it had told me more. I failed over and over again as I got my bearings. But the grand scale of those failures just made my improvements feel all the more genuine. Past the steep learning curve and trial-and-error gameplay of Banished lies a methodically crafted labor of love that is as precise as it is thrilling.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
115 of 136 people (85%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
98.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 8, 2015
Finally decided to write a review for this game as it's on sale. The developer deserves all the praises he can get.

AAA quality game under 300 mb. Reminds of good ol' days of PC gaming when hardcore coders not artists / modders used to make games.

Yes its true that 'reinventing the wheel' is waste of resources. But it doesn't mean to forcefully fit the same wheel on every cart/car regardless of its purpose and size. When game are made from scratch with less reliance on generic ready made engines or recycled tools and more under the hood coding, they require less resources and run blazingly fast even on old hardware.

And that is the first thing you will notice with Banished. You can feel the engine underneath while playing. It feels like you just need to press a hidden button to see everything in code Matrix style. It reminds me of the days playing Quake 3 Arena. Very raw yet very crispy.

Banished is developed by a lone coder so it doesn't have detailed tutorials, introductory videos and all other sorts of babysitting that gamers of today have gotten used to. But for someone like me that just adds to its appeal of truly open ended sandbox game. The difficulty I had to stop letting my village starved to death was the best part of the game. And I think that is how the game should be played. Stop reading guides and experiment on your own. Because that is what the game is all about. There is no specific objectives in the game. How city building games should be. The way they are meant to be played.

Having said that, the game doesn't have a huge scope like that of Total War or Civilization games. So without multiplayer, it's not a game that you can keep on playing forever. So don't rush it. Enjoy the game and try different things.

This game will appeal to you if you are a gamer who likes to explore, experiment, decorate and set your own objectives. But if you are someone who likes hand holding, being told what to do while following scripted sequences one after another with specific objectives to accomplish than look elsewhere.

Highly recommended!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
77 of 87 people (89%) found this review helpful
92 people found this review funny
120.5 hrs on record
Posted: December 14, 2015
When I built the first town, they all died of starvation.

When I built the second town, they all died from cholera.

When I built the third town, they all died from exposure.

When I built the fourth town, they all died from infections after using their hands instead of tools for too long.

When they came for me I said, "10/10 would do it again."
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
19 of 22 people (86%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
84.6 hrs on record
Posted: January 11
Banished is an indie town building simulation from Shining Rock Software. Banished is one of the best simulation games out there.

In Banished you play to manage some people who were banished from their homeland because of something, it doesn't really matter because what you need to do is to do everything in your power to make sure these outcast can survive and build a new society of their own. Something like that I think. Either you become a great mayor of a great town, or you just simply build a small ghost town.

Banished gameplay are so great, I can say it is quite so realistic as simulation games can get. You still can't do everything, but when you start playing Banished you're gonna realize that not everybody can be a Mayor. The citizen in Banished will age, they will grow old and die so expanding and balancing the population is important. Citizen can also die because of acccident too, for example a miner can die because of cave in or crushed by a rock, I even encounter one event where one of my citizen is murdered! Damn! Anyway, resources gathering in Banished is quite complex, there is no skill trees but production chains, and it is important to manage those production chains well or all hell break loose. To gather food we can build farms or pastures, do hunting or gathering some berries or roots in the forest, and even fishing. You can even replant the forest so you will never run out of woods. There is also trade, where you get most of your crop seeds and new pasture breeds. Then there's also disasters, a disease breakout (people will not turn into zombies however), or your own disasters because your people are starving or freezing to death. Lots can happen so keep on your toes.

In terms of graphics, Banished doesn't have very advanced graphics, but it's beautiful enough. The graphics is sufficient enough for you to enjoy Banished and forgot to check on the clock. Performances are also good, just keep in mind if you want to build a big-♥♥♥ town, you better have more RAM, just like any other simulation games.

Banished also has a workshop support for mods. Yes MODS! There are couple of mods that adds even more production chains to Banished, even more building and even more resources to gather. Some even has decoration thing for your town. The best mod for Banished currently is the Colonial Charter mods, which add almost everything to Banished that sometimes it feels like an expansion pack. You can also make your own mods that fits your gameplay.

Overall, Banished is a great simulation. If only they add at least a little combat gameplay it could be great, It doesn't have to be a war but something like repelling bandits attack, pirates, looters or something. But that's just my thought. I really recommend Banished for you all simulation gamers.

Rating 10/10
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
41 of 64 people (64%) found this review helpful
10 people found this review funny
42.6 hrs on record
Posted: January 14
Damn, I wanted to like this game... I really did. As a big fan of both RTS and city-building games, the idea of survival being your primary obstacle really seemed like a fresh idea for both genres. Unfortunately I cannot in good faith recommend anyone buy this game. The problems are myriad, and I hardly know where to begin. I guess I'll start by covering the good, since it's by far the shortest list.

PROS
  • Cool gameplay concept
  • Looks cool for an indie release

CONS
  • It would be overly charitable to call the UI "clunky." If you intend to have all of the relevant info tabs open (and you really should if you want to survive longer than ten minutes) anticipate them eating more than a third of your screen. It really detracts from any visual enjoyment you might otherwise get from the game.
  • The learning curve is exceptionally steep. At less than 100 total population the slightest change in resource allocation throws your entire village into chaos. While I appreciate that a fine balance is necessary for a survival game, this game really misses the mark. Convert a fisherman to a forester? Everybody starves. Have three births over the winter versus last season's two? Everybody starves. Admit two nomads into your village? Everybody starves. They should have just called the game 'Everybody Starves' as that's about the only achievable outcome short of OCD-like micromanagement of every single in-game metric.
  • There is nothing intuitive about the mechanics of this game. There are tooltips, but they are vague and unhelpful, especially when taken in combination with the ultra-touchy resource allocation system. I have played dozens of RTS titles and have never run up against a game that was so cagey about telling you what the ♥♥♥♥ it was doing (ie. how the game elements affect one another).
  • AI in this game is a joke, and player control is nonexistent. Sure, you can assign villagers to one of several dozen different job categories, but in some cases that seems entirely futile as they pretty much do whatever they want once assigned. And of course, since you have no direct control over individual villagers, you're basically forced to watch them as they wile away the hours. I've watched farmers nonchalantly gather wood during planting season, fail to make it to their assigned farm until halfway through summer, then wander off through the entirety of harvest time because they were cold. If you lived alongside people like this in an actual subsistence village, you'd flog these farmers to death for constantly putting the lives of the entire town in jeopardy.
  • AI is so garbage it deserves a second bullet point. Builders cannot prioritize multiple tasks. While there is a system in place to manage build priorities, it flat does not work. I have consistently had buildings with zero assigned builders finish well before buildings which had my entire building crew assigned to them, because again: villagers do whatever the ♥♥♥♥ they please, occasionally popping in to do 14 seconds of work at their "job" before wandering off because they're cold or hungry. Why these morons can't dress and feed themselves before leaving the house for work is beyond me, but that's apparently how the developer intended for things to work. The last thing I will say on the subject; because of their failure to prioritize the buildings you select, it's time-wasting and endlessly frustrating to queue more than maybe two buildings at a time. Doing so causes the ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ AI to split your resources among all future building sites (even ones without assigned builders), ensuring you don't have enough resources to start building *any* of your projects. It's one of the stupidest designs I've ever seen in a civilization builder-type game. This also makes planning for the future of your settlement nearly impossible. As a bonus, when food reserves are running low, people forget how to eat. I've seen dozens of villagers die rather than make the trek across the street to the market (where there is food). This is another ♥♥♥♥-poor piece of AI programming. Apparently, villagers like to shop like they're at Costco. If they can't obtain a six month supply of food in a single market visit, they refuse to eat at all. They will, however, attempt to cross the entirety of the map trying to find food somewhere else, even if it's miles away from their workplace and home. Spoiler alert: they starve.

Given what I've seen in my first couple dozen hours of play, I cannot see how this game would scale up in a fun and meaningful way. I currently haven't made it much past ~100 villagers, at which point the game seemingly already requires autistic levels of attention. Based on that, I can only imagine that a larger town would become an immediate and tedious grind.

In summary, I think this game concept had a ton of potential that was just impossible for a first-time developer to fully realize. If you can get it for $2 and pile so many mods on top of it that it effectively becomes a different game, there might be some (fun) replay value there. I've heard great things about the Colonial Charter mod, and am keeping my fingers crossed that it can save this game. However, if you're expecting $20 worth of "fun" from the vanilla game, I believe you'll be sorely disappointed. I'm sad to say I couldn't recommend this game at anything other than bargain basement prices.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny