Important: This article was originally written and published in 2014. It has been republished here for historical and testing purposes. Images have been replaced with versions from the Steam Store page.
Ever wanted to be a Peasant in medieval times? Well now you too can toil to survive, build a house, farm, mine and stab other Peasants with Axes! This game is no Minecraft, but if you like building and medieval age combat, You should check this out.
You start by gathering sticks, flint and plant fiber, using these to craft crude tools. From here you start clearing land, falling trees, crafting building materials and getting a small village started. Along the way you’ll need to search for food, possibly through farming/fishing.
I’m not going to cover the mechanics much, since they’re pretty straightforward, but the summary is this. Peasants have a myriad of attributes which you level by doing related activities, however you only get a limited number of attribute points which forces you to eventually specialize in certain tasks. (This can be changed by server admin.) Inventory is naturally limited and progression is fairly slow, but I think this does build a sense of satisfaction after building even something as basic as a hut.
Worth noting is that the world is Voxel-based, letting you form and shape it as needed. As noted above, this is important for building as you need flat land to place structures. Over time it becomes quite clear where your settlements borders are and it’s surprisingly satisfying when you arrive back in your small settlement.
Due to the nature of the game, I’ve barely scratched the surface of what players can do. Player factions, raiding villages, competing castles, these are all things that can occur and the mechanics, while incomplete, do support this occurring. Combat hasn’t been touched on as I haven’t had a chance to get into it properly. I’ll update the impression when this changes.
The entire project is actually intended to be a precursor to a full blown Life is Feudal MMO. It seems to hinge on the success of the server-based version and they have a ton of interesting design ideas on their website. This includes a mini-game based gathering system you can do on both your computer and mobile device letting you improve while out and about. All really cool stuff, but I’d worry about the long term sustainability.
Now in terms of the bad news, Well there’s some of that too. The usual Early-Access issues are abound as expected, but an odd, though workable, control system and some server issues do exist. In fact when I went to grab screenshots of our settlement I was unable to get the server online to connect, so I’ve had to include make-do shots until I can get it working again. This is the first time I’ve had that issue and I suspect It’s user-error, but It’s worth noting.
Life is Feudal: Your Own avoids many of the pitfalls plaguing similar titles in the sandbox genre, and while it may be incomplete, It does contain enough content to justify Early-Access. I’d say It’s worth picking up if you’re looking for something in the genre, but realize you’ll have to put up with some issues until it’s further complete.
Now personally, I’ll continue to play a bit every so often as new content is added and progress is made. I believe this game is great for people who enjoy long-term, meaningful progress such as myself. There are fairly-regular updates and the developers seem committed to seeing the project through.
Full Disclosure: A copy of the game reviewed was kindly supplied by the developer.