Enixan’s Homesteads is a low-key town builder perfect for the casual gamer. Want to farm without suffering heatstroke? Trade goods without needless haggling? Travel back in time and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the Wild West!
As the owner of a new homestead, it’s the player’s responsibility to harvest crops and build houses, among other tasks. Listen to the needs of the townspeople and they’ll give rewards in return, like gold and cash. Expanding the town increases population and player level, which unlocks more structures to build. Some buildings can only be unlocked at certain player levels, but thankfully there’s enough to do beforehand. Besides houses, other buildings include a stable, court, school, and church. Though these are merely decorative, they all add to the town’s overall population. Buildings that serve a purpose are those that make goods, like a dairy and bakery. To use those buildings, crops need to be planted and harvested. Wheat, corn, sugarcane, and others are all needed for making goods.
Planting crops costs gold and each type demands different growing times. For example, wheat costs two gold coins and takes a minute to grow. Crops don’t always go into making goods, however. In the marketplace, townspeople often ask for specific crops. Giving them what they ask earns gold. If they ask for goods, each requires two or more kind of crop to be made. For instance, one cloth requires three flax plants. Another way to earn gold is to sell crops and goods using stagecoach caravans and the river station. Four different stagecoaches can carry multiple products and have the player wait for up to an hour before returning. Items like glass and door hinges are given in return and are used to help build structures. The river station operates in the same way.
Cute but Slow
The people in Homesteads vary in age and appearance, plus they’re appropriately dressed for the Wild West time period. Women have ankle-length dresses and frilly bonnets, while men are either cowboys or fancy gentlemen. They can be seen walking or riding in horse-drawn carriages around town. It’s all very peaceful and picturesque. Though visually appealing, there’s unfortunately a lot of waiting. Building houses, planting crops and trading goods all force the player to wait for completion, sometimes for hours. While cash can be used to speed up production time, doing so makes cash disappear fast. The player can use real money to purchase more cash, with IAPs running from $1.99 to $79.99. Personally, I don’t think they’re worth buying. Homesteads isn’t a fast-paced, complete-tasks-within-a-time-limit game, it’s a casual town builder. If this game stresses someone out, they’re not playing it right.
Between farming and catering to the townspeople’s needs, players can always count on having something to do. Varied people and animals make for unique visuals and different kinds of goods to make. It’s not perfect, as there are long building times and cashflow is stagnant. More active gamers might not enjoy all the waiting around and the real cost of buying cash with real money. However, there are enough tasks provided to keep most casual gamers coming back for more. There’s no competition and no need to be first. It’s just a fun, simple game.
Is it Hardcore?
Entertaining for the casual gamer, less so for the more competitive.