Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Dawn of Discovery DS

With the ability to actually play DS games again also comes the ability to expand my DS library. Such is the case of Dawn of Discovery, which originally came onto my radar for the Nintendo Wii. Through a mixture of laziness, anxiety and Gamestop's low stock I never got the chance to buy the Wii version, but on a recent trip to pick up some DS games I did pick up the DS version.

Dawn of Discovery is an economic management simulator that loosely reminds me of a mix between Age of Empires and Sim City. With two modes to choose from, continuous and story, you'll be taken through building and managing numerous islands in what I assume to be the 1400s, simply because the game is called Anno 1404 outside of North America. Story mode will teach you the basics of the game, and Continuous mode is where you're set free to test the skills they have taught you.

Dawn of Discovery can be addictive, but it can also be acutely frustrating. While building homes and manufacturing buildings you'll need to pay close attention to their needs to succeed, which means placing them within a certain radius of a building they deem vital to their survival. For example: when building a garment factory you will need to place it within a certain distance (rather close) to the material provider. This doesn't always work, as more often than not the game will tell me that it's not within the already small area in which it should be, even though the needed area was clearly marked when placing the building.

This becomes even more frustrating when building housing for your residents. The lower level homes are the most fussy and must be placed around a few things with such a small radius that you may find yourself taking up valuable land that should be homes, but is instead just duplicate buildings that are already a few short meters away from each other.

Once you think you've mastered that, which shouldn't take too long, your population will thrive, then dip, then thrive again, then dip down again, then you'll be in debt, get a loan from the king, lose all that money and need another loan, all before you eventually figure out that your populous are all just a bunch of whiny bitches. Yep, I said it. Your populous will always find a reason to complain, coupled with the game already not being too accurate with making things work by it's own rules, you may find yourself just walking away from the game for hours on end.

Despite the growing pains I eventually found a good balance. My residents always have something to complain about and no matter how many garment factories, date plantations, milk farms or food producers I have going successfully, it's never enough for them to ever be completely happy. Regardless I've managed to get it to correct itself just before the income drains and I need yet another loan, so I believe that's how real economics work anyway, right?

Sure, Dawn of Discovery can be a pain in the ass sometimes, and sure it's not all that well put together, maybe just because it's a stripped down portable version, but I did eventually start having fun with the game. I haven't started a new continuous mode yet so I'm not sure if the islands are randomized, but if so this game does have some replayability. For 99 cents I would suggest it, maybe not highly, but I do actually enjoy it. I'm sure after I sharpen my skills on making things work it will become more fun, but it does initially seem very frustrating.

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