Ostriv is a city management and building simulator being developed by a huge team of one person, Yevheniy from Ukraine. He began developing Ostriv in his spare time back in 2014 and looks to take on the role of developing the game full-time thanks to income produced from sales of the game.
In Ostriv you become the Governor of an 18th century town, the goal is to build a successful community from the ground up. That means turning your small group of people living in tents into a large, diverse collective living with their families in homes. Building businesses and workplaces for the residents to earn a wage is vital and of course ensuring resources are replenished thoroughly are a must.
Starting out you have a group of people and some tents serving as houses and storage. You are then instructed to build a forestry to create wood and houses for the families which is a launching point that allows you to learn the ins and outs. What resources are needed for the buildings and how to obtain them, you find out along the way through gameplay. In terms of tutorials and hints, at the moment these are limited and you have to really dig into the game to figure out what you need to be doing. Outside of the game you can always use the readme file that comes with the download to give you a head start.
I’ll admit straight up that I turned my community into a land of empty buildings, all of my residents left me, that’s right, and it hurt me a little emotionally. I didn’t erect the various buildings in the right order and as such wasn’t producing any food, only wood, nails, clay and thatch, none of which you could sustain off of as a source of nutrients. This halted everything, couldn’t create new structures because I had no workers and labourers, I was done for. But thanks to the creation of a new game I could right the ship and redeem myself.
The main thing a simulation game needs is variety otherwise it gets boring. At the moment there are 37 structures and decoration pieces available to be placed in the world with a lot more on the way, so variety, its got it. The structures are split into categories such as Houses, Government, Production, Trade & Transport etc. All of this can be seen clearly thanks to the simplistic UI at the bottom of the screen, everything is quickly accessible for as and when needed. You can even see future categories like religion, education and health to give you a glimpse into what more is on the way. In its current state you are given enough to have an enjoyable time without feeling like your playing an incomplete game.
Being in Alpha comes with a connotation that the game is nowhere near finished and could probably drastically change from now to release. Having that in mind, I must say, the way the game visually looks right now is great, some more optimisation, option variation and polish overall would be nice, but certainly not needed anytime soon. The textures are detailed and feature a colour palette that adds to the authentic look that’s trying to be accomplished. Houses have this procedurally generated feature in which not all of them look the same due to different skins, this adds to the immersion, during the time period not all homes looked the same, there wasn’t a one recommended layout and design that was being stuck to etc.
One feature absolutely deserving of recognition is the seasons. Currently in a very early stage with only two seasons, Summer and Winter. I love that when you hit December, boom, snow starts forming and turns the lush green landscape to a field of white. When March rolls around, this white begins to melt and the grass comes back. Great design and I can only imagine what else could be added from this.
In-game audio is currently limited to some ambient sounds such as bird noises and the noise produced from labourers working on buildings. This at least establishes the feel of a living world from get the get go which is nice. However, in the winter months of December to February it’s completely dead unless you are building something. I feel it dampens the experience and if intentional I appreciate why it would be designed this way.
Ostriv is a competent city building simulator in current form and will only get more fleshed out with features along the way. Those interested in the genre should jump in on this but be prepared in the sense that this is an alpha title right now, there is no set release date for the full game.
Check out the Ostriv website for more information here.
Written by Rhys Baldwin.
(Disclaimer: CONQUEST received a preview/review copy of Ostriv, however this does not in any way affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)