Game and the developers.
Banished has been developed by Shining Rock Software. I was very surprised when I learnt this, but Shining Rock Software is actually a team of.. Well, a single person. Just one guy programmed the game, added graphics to it, and composed music for it. I mean, talking about a talent! I wish I could find a bit more information about this, but sadly their website only said that. I will, though, try to get in contact with the guy and ask him for an interview. I think that will be rather interesting.
Banished is a survival city-building game, in which you tell humans what to do in order to, well, survive. You need to focus on keeping your people alive. You do that by telling them what to build next. But to build that, they need materials. Now, in a non-modded version of the game materials are quite easy to get, but the gameplay is very hard and challenging. For now I'll talk about a non-modded version, and then later about the modded one. In a non-modded version you start up with, depending on your difficulty settings, some food and building materials. With those materials you need to focus on obtaining more food by hunting, fishing and plant growing. Of course, you also need to build some houses to let your people move in. All of that requires materials, so you need to order your people to chop some wood down. But trees don't grow themselves back, so you will need to plant some trees yourself. Then again, you don't have that many people to manage all of this, so now you have to wait few years until your children grow up and are able to work. But while you are waiting for your population to grow, a disease breaks out. So now you quickly build up a hospital but it's already too late, you lost 80% of your population. And boom, you lost the game. So let's re-start it! Now you know what to do, what not to do, and you play it slow and safe. And that's exactly how you get to enjoy this game even more.
Achievements play a big part in this game since they always give you something new to do. Obtaining them is very hard, and can prove to be a big challenge, so that makes things even more interesting. Some achievements are focused on your citizen number, others are focused on your animals, food, or stockpiles.
I wish that the developer let the player discover his / her own crops, plants and animals by pure accident in stead of just trading for it. Trading for it can sometime take a very long time, because you never know what you get. I am forced to dismiss 90% of my trades just because they never had any crops or animals, and I really didn't ever need anything else.
Now let's talk a little bit about modded version of the game. There are some very interesting mods which allow you to build over thirty ( 30 ) new buildings, collect and build many more materials, grow more crops and own more types of animals, trading goods, send people on adventure and so on and on. If you use the right mods it actually feels like you are playing a different game. There are of course some slower aging mods which allow the player to expand their cities much faster. But it all comes for a price. As soon as you have active mods, you do not get any achievements. So for achievement collectors this is a big problem. But then again if someone really wants those achievements I am sure that they will be more than happy to play the vanilla game, just like I did.
Graphic and Audio.
Banished has very beautiful, quite detailed graphic. In fact, I am deeply surprised by how beautiful it is knowing that just one person did all of it. The in game songs are also very nice, but they do tend to get rather annoying after about ten hours of repeating the loop. And sadly the songs don't really fit into the game. Sometimes the songs are very fast, while you do nothing other than plant crops. Or the song is very nice and calm, while your entire village is being torn apart by a tornado.
Pros, cons and final grade.
- Amazing graphic.
- Amazing game play mechanic (Connections between buildings)
- Feeling of accomplishment when your people manage to live through 300 years.
- Very slow starting faze.
- Can't find and tame animals, can't find different seeds, the player is forced to wait for the right trader.
- No way of changing the ground in any way.
Overall Score: 9 / 10.
Even though Cons seem to be rather annoying, the game always finds a good way to let you enjoy it and have a great time playing it.