Township has been available in the Windows Phone Store for some time now and recently we had the opportunity to spend a little time with this city builder. The game focuses more on time management, city development and supply/demand issues than conquering the world.
In many respects, you are building a rural community that relies on farming and manufacturing for its growth. There are plenty of farming, residential and commercial properties to build. You also have opportunities to sell or trade your goods through air, train or water.
Township does have a casual feel to it but challenging in the time management elements and in designing your town. While you may not get the chance to invade neighboring towns, if you like city builders, Township is a Windows Phone game worth trying.
As with most city builder type games, Township will start you out with a series of tutorials. These pop-up guides will cover growing crops, harvesting them, using them in one of the many factories, selling the goods and building up your town. Township's game mechanics are simple and accomplished through a series of taps and swipes. For example, when you are ready to feed your chickens to create eggs just tap on the feedbag and slide your finger across the row of chickens to feed them. When the eggs are ready, just tap or swipe across the eggs to collect them.
The backbone of your town lies with your farm. It will start small and have a limited range of crops you can grow, but as your town grows so does your farming area and crop range. You raise crops that are used in factories such as a bakery, a feed mill and dairy plant. The goods you generate in turn can be used to create other raw materials, sold or traded. For example, wheat is a crop that can be used in the feed mill to generate grain to feed cows. The cows will generate milk, which can be utilized in the dairy plant to create cheese. All of these items can be sold or traded.
Your activities are centered on a map of your town. Along the top of the map, you will find your gaming statistics and access to the game's settings. Stats include your gold count (earned through achievements and selling goods), Town dollars, experience level and population levels. Town dollars are basically used to speed up time or buy raw materials needed to complete construction.
Settings include support to connect the game to your Facebook account, notifications settings, sound/music levels, a help section and language support.
Gaming controls line the bottom of the map and include access to your trade/market routes (train, helicopter, boat, etc.), a link to your Facebook friends and your construction menu. You also have an edit button in the bottom left corner that can be used to create roads or change the landscape surfaces (grass, dirt, mud or water). You can also move/rotate/store existing structures with the editing menu.
Construction includes everything from building houses, factories, retail buildings and public service buildings (fire, police, etc.). You also have a wide range of decorations (trees, shrubs, parks, fountains, etc.) and a special category of structures such as casinos, museums and other specialized facilities.
While some construction items are free, roads for example, others will cost you gold and will have an experience and/or population restrictions. Some buildings will need a particular allocation of resources (foundation pads, glass windows, bricks, etc.) that are generally obtained through trading with other towns. Housing is noted not only with cost but the number of residents the structure will add to the town.
I did find one omission in the construction choices that bears mentioning. You have several styles of roads to construct that include dirt, cobblestone and asphalt roads. What you do not have are bridges. You cannot build a road on the water. Instead, you have to use the landscape tools to change the water to land. A bridge would be a nice touch for appearance sakes to allow for lakes and streams to be contiguous. The lack of bridges isn't a deal breaker but would enhance the games aesthetics.
The time management comes into play in several ways. It takes time to grow the crops and operate the factories. You have limited space in your barn to store materials and it takes time to construct new buildings or see your goods sold or traded. You will find yourself juggling raw materials between the farm, factories and merchants just to keep a flow of goods going. You can upgrade the capacity of your barn and at first that expansion is dependent on goods traded with other towns. You lack the ability to create hammers or nails, but other communities will trade those goods for your wheat, corn, bread and other commodities. It took expanding the capacity of my barn twice, bringing the capacity to 85 units, before the juggling became easier to manage. But even then, the orders for commodities increased creating the need to have a constant flow of goods to and from your factories.
One quick note on time requirements with Township is that many of the activities will not take a lot of time to complete. You do have some tasks that will take a day to complete, but it only takes two minutes for a parcel of wheat to become ready for harvest. These shorter times can be a good thing and a bad. It's good in that you don't have to wait forever to take care of fundamental tasks. It's bad in that you have to keep that flow of goods flowing, or you will find yourself with an overstocked barn and factories with finished goods that cannot go anywhere.
The management of your town's economy comes into play with the trading of goods and selling them. You start out with a helicopter service that brings orders for goods from the town's residents. Once you reach a certain level, the train depot opens up for business where you can trade your town's goods for goods from another town. Eventually, you will unlock a mine, shipping port and airport to sell, trade and mine additional resources and goods. You'll need to keep a good pace in filling orders and sending trains off to trade for goods. Establishing a good flow of merchandise will generate revenue that can be used to build new structures and expand your town limits. A solid trade route will help you acquire construction materials you cannot produce locally.
At various points throughout the game, you will have citizens speak up with recommendations on new buildings. You may have someone ask for a movie theater or a grocery store. Construction of these buildings will generate bonus items such as Town Dollars. You will also have pop-up bubbles appear over structures that will give you a clue as to what your population is wanting.
While there are no invasions to defend against or neighboring towns to conquer, Township is an entertaining Windows Phone game to spend a lot of time with. Township's graphics and animations are excellent and the challenges of the game can keep you busy for a long time.
One nice feature with Township is that if you cannot get to harvesting a crop or collecting a factory delivery, the game will wait on you. There are some farming related games where the crops will begin to wither if you ignore the game for an extended period. I have not experienced such with Township.
My only nit with Township, and it is minor, is that the city map view cannot be rotated. You can hide the structures to construct roads or change the landscape types, but if you build a house behind a taller structure, the house will remain out of view.
Overall, Township is a wonderful Windows Phone game to have pinned to your Start Screen. The content is suitable for all ages and it isn't difficult to get addicted to game play. Township is a free game with the customary in-app purchases to build up your gaming resources. Township does require a data connection to play and if you give the Windows Phone game a try, let us know what you think of things in the comments below.