Saturday, May 16, 2009

Ikariam - Simple Review

After playing Travian and pretty much enjoyed myself, it is only natural that I started looking for other city building games. One that caught my eyes was Ikariam. Ikariam is a real time city building games centred around Greek mytho.

I gave it a try, and the game is generally alright. The goal is not exactly clear, i.e. no particular objective except to grow the cities you own. Cities in Ikariam are grouped together on an island, like the picture shown below. Each island will have two particular resources, wood and another e.g. wine, sulphur, crystal. Players on the same island can help each other by upgrading these two available resources on the island, thus allowing for more of these resources to be harvested.

Within each city, there are empty plots where buildings could be sited. Initially the range of buildings is limited. There are some default plots for walls and harbour. After some 'research' in one of the 4 areas, buildings options (e.g. embassy) will appear. Buildings could be upgraded for better functionalities later. News and updates will result in one of the 4 advisors (the 4 faces on top of the screen) having a lighted background.

In Ikariam, resources can be traded easily or shipped among your settlements. If you clicked on the main townhall, a report is shown containing coins, happiness of the citizens, housing left... etc. It reminded me of SimCity somehow.

While gamers in Ikariam are generally cooperative, the existence of battle options mean players will get attacked. I haven't exactly see the benefits of attacking, except perhaps to loot the resources. Walls are useful to up the defence attributes of your troops. Various troops are available, e.g. slingers, archers... etc. Players need to upgrade their barracks level before troop options are available to be built. If the level is not high enough, the game will indicate that.

There are many other islands in this Ikariam world, which contain the default wood, as well as another resource. So players will colonise a few more settlements, partly to reap these other resources. Wine (and taverns) is useful to keep citizens happy, and thus allowing for bigger settlement. Sulphur allows for troops to be built (I don't understand the logic of this but oh well), and crystals can be used in research to improve the attributes of the troops. Stone blocks are needed to upgrade the wall and for higher level buildings.

One thing to note is that when players want to colonise more settlements, remember to send wood piles along with the ships. Once settlements are built, it will be ideal to build governor building soon to reduce corruption. The number of settlements allowed is tied to the level of the palace built in your capital. Also, when more settlements are built, the respective governor buildings have to be upgraded to reduce corruption.

Generally the game is not fast paced enough for my taste, and so after 3 settlements are built, I left the game. :p Give it a try and see how you like it.

1 comment:

Eigir said...

Just a warning to those who are curious on this game: Do NEVER ever spend real money on ambrosia! At least not until you are pretty sure you know every little intricate detail of the game rules.

I was playing together with some friends, and unfortunately we decided to help out one in the team by sending material to him. The mistake was to do that while we where on the same network (behind the same firewall), which according to the game rules is illegal. If we had done it while sitting on different networks, it would have been legal according to their rules.

We all got permanently banned, without any warning, and lost quite a lot of ambrosia (and money). Them keeping the money makes me question the ethical values of the company behind the game (Gameforge AG).

And the dumbest thing, according to the "support" people: We can create new accounts and then spend more money on those... yeah right. :-/