(This game was previewed on PC)
The Kindred is an indie simulation game, similar in gameplay to other games like Banished, RimWorld or Stonehearth. Developed by Persistent Studios, The Kindred marks the first Steam release from the company, advertising a cute voxel based world, with cube like villagers who you must give orders to, build a new home for and generally keep an eye on.
The game starts you off with a small amount of “Kin”, little villagers who you must give orders to like chopping the local trees down for wood, setting out land to plant farms and ask to craft your items. As you continue playing more Kin will teleport into your world, or be born to 2 loving Kin who find each other in your village. A short tutorial is offered in the beginning, teaching you the basics of the game like how to mine and survive, giving you the freedom from the get go to do as you please in the world.
With the current state of Early Access, The Kindred in its entirety can be played within 4 – 6 hours, depending on how much time you spend crafting buildings, making a lovely settlement or messing around with other mechanics. However, as of writing, there is a new build currently in unstable mode with Research and more to be added in, so you can be assured that more content will be added up to its eventual full release.
The Kindred plays very smoothly and easily, using your mouse to highlight objects or areas, left clicking to gain details or give commands and right click to remove existing objects. You can select an object and give several commands to your Kin, from chopping trees for their wood or harvesting their apples and oranges. WASD is used to move your camera around with the middle mouse for rotating the camera.
The main aim of the game is to make sure your Kin survive and thrive, from feeding them high quality meals, providing electricity from wind farms or coal burners, as well as setting up quarries for minerals. From the electricity you generate you can power machines that will burn and transform your other materials into new ones, allowing you to craft beds and tables, furnaces and presses and more objects to be used within your village.
Every Kin has a food meter of sorts in the form of Nutrition, different meals and quality of food increasing their nutrition and their effectiveness at work. As well as feeding and giving them beds you will also be able to set tasks for them to perform daily, from mining and harvesting to crafting and shepherding. As they continue their tasks, they will increase in ability, performing their tasks at faster speeds.
Overall thoughts and feelings
The music in Kindred is rather plain as of right now, with an almost singular track being played throughout gameplay, on a slightly delayed loop. It’s calming and fits the style very well, but you may find yourself turning the music off to listen to your own after hearing it for an hour non-stop. Sound design follows suit, being very fitting to the world and style, but becoming way too overplayed with higher populations doing the same tasks and repeating the same sound effects.
The Kindred is so close to being one of those games you can get lost in, time speeding by as you build your village and perfect the world. However with a lack of end-goals, upgrade system, consequences or hazards it loses a bit of momentum after the first few hours. You will find that most of your time in the end-game is making sure you have enough beds and fixing any AI pathing bugs that pop up from quarries or badly dug terrain.
Through my time playing The Kindred I encountered many bugs, from lighting and terrain glitches to having the game freeze up or crash. Thankfully the steam community is there to help solve some of these issues, with the devs reading up on the bugs with some quick responses and fixes to them. It is a shame that there are so many bugs, but with the interaction with the development team I am confident they will be ironed out within the future updates.
If you’re a fan of village simulators and the like, then you might enjoy The Kindred, but as it stands right now it lacks a lot of content that other games in the genre offer. No form of attacks on your village, disasters or end-goals really stamp down on the drive to protect your Kin.
Early access on Steam http://store.steampowered.com/app/373410/