So I got the chance to play a very early alpha build of Northward, Nemoria Entertainment’s new hardcore, cooperative survival simulator that is currently up on Indiegogo to be funded.
The game sports a top down, pixelated look, and it’s quite basic in the sense that it sticks to the very roots of the strategy simulator genre. It also doesn’t really hold your hand at all, which I personally found to be a nice touch.
You start off with one villager, a storehouse, and a builder camp. You have to delegate the roles of harvesting wood, stone, constructing buildings and roads, as well as arming your villagers with bows and arrows.
The story within the game is about a strange fog that has been spreading from the northlands, covering villages and towns and turning people into lifeless husks that eventually wander into the wilderness, to never return.
You can see the fog and mists somewhat bordering the outside of your village, giving a somewhat mysterious aesthetic to the game world. Since you can’t directly control your villagers, it makes me wonder how Nemoria is going to incorporate exploration into this story driven experience.
There is a cooperative mode planned for the game, and despite that easily being the highlight of the core experience, it wasn’t available in the early build. Still, the foundation for a solid, engaging, and unrelenting simulation game is here.
However, I’d like to prepare some of the more inexperienced simulation/strategy players out there – in its current build, Northward has a limit of three villagers, which kind of made it a bit tough to defend the village against the final boss.
I dunno if I was doing something wrong, but since I learned to stockpile as many damn arrows as I could before engaging the enemy, every time my villagers killed a foe, if there wasn’t a foe immediately within their range, they’d leave their towers and go back to restock on arrows … regardless of how many they fired.
Now this isn’t an issue in the alpha, mostly because there are only a few waves – but this has to be resolved in later releases, as my tower defenders left to restock on arrows as the boss was slowly, menacingly, inching his way to our home.
Still, the moment they perched atop those towers they fired endlessly onto that giant baddie and felled him before he even was able to start wailing on my towers.
I really enjoy the premise of Northward, and I commend Nemoria for making such an early build available, but I wish there was more! I sincerely feel like there is potential for a deep, rewarding experience in Northward, it’s just that Nemoria hasn’t gotten there yet.
If you want to throw some money at Northward, or play their early alpha, head on over to their Indiegogo page.