Beaver City Builder Timberborn Makes for a Dam Good Time

Reviewed On
Steam (PC)
Available For

I really enjoy city builder games. I’ve wasted tons of hours on City Builder 4 on the PlayStation 4. Additionally, I have spent hundreds of hours on management titles such as Football Manager and Zoo Tycoon. So, when I got Timberborn to review, all I had to hear was that it was a city builder with beavers, and I was definitely in. I’ll be honest, I never thought of beavers as the species that would outlive us all. But I get why a city builder with cockroaches wouldn’t market as well as those lovable beavers.

Now might be a good time to also bring up the fact that Timberborn is in Early Access at this time. Even though the title has been in Early Access on Steam for a while and has improved greatly since its early days, my review may still age poorly as developers Mechanistry continue to add even more features. Even so, it’s a pretty complete game at this point, and well worth the price of admission for those that enjoy building sims, especially ones with a neat twist or two.

Right from the start, the tutorial walked through the basics of Timberborn and covered it well enough for me to get started. It took longer for me because any games that require designing cities around power lines are kind of tricky for me. I’m not artistic at all, so my city designs are not elegant or well thought out. Honestly, calling them haphazard would be too nice. Before anyone asks, I was not great at SimCity either.

I started out in the waterfall area which the developers were kind enough to mark as beginner friendly, and that kind of makes sense given that your entire workforce is comprised of beavers. I was excited once I started figuring out how I could definitely use my first settlement as a testing ground to see how everything worked.

Speaking of which, Timberborn lets you customize your land to some extent, including naming your settlement. I opted for Beavertown as my founding town.

So, after going through the tutorials, I got to work trying to make Beavertown a great settlement where all beaverkind would be proud to call home. I got the housing in place, and then the farms and water pumps. Water pumps and storage are important in Timberborn as the humans left the world in quite a mess, including messing up the environment to the point that bad droughts can occur every cycle. When that happens, the river which is your lifeblood dries up and your beavers have to use the water stored in containers to live on in the meantime. The first cycle I did fine. The second cycle had a population boom, and I didn’t have enough water saved up so a few beavers were lost.

Timberborn is a complex city builder first and foremost, and the beavers are incredibly industrious. You will find yourself making very complex machines, engineering marvels, and building skyscrapers that would make the residents of almost any human city jealous. But there is also the interesting subplot that this is a post-apocalyptic game. Humans ruined the climate and poisoned the land, and then they died off as a result. Now it’s up to the beavers to rebuild from those dry ashes and toxic environments, growing their society while healing the land.

Once I figured out the mechanics and developed some good strategies for growth and expansion, Timberborn became very peaceful to play. More than once I found myself lost in the environment and the catchy music as I happily built even more things with my busy beavers.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that Timberborn is one of the best city building titles I’ve ever played. It could be released from Early Access right now and would be a fine game that is worth the money. However, it’s also nice to see new features constantly being added. For example, there are now two factions of beavers, the Folktails who try and build wooden structures and maintain a harmony with the environment, and the Iron Teeth who are more into shaping iron while using science to conquer the land (kind of like the humans did before them I would suppose).

I am excited to see what comes next for Timberborn as it continues to evolve. Much like my recommendation with Palworld, Timberborn is worth getting in Early Access. Not only is it fully playable right now, but jumping into Early Access will allow players to help test the new features, provide feedback, and influence the title as it continues to develop.

Right now, I would say that Timberborn earns 4.5 GiN Gems, which is pretty amazing for an Early Access title. Like the beavers in their story, if developers Mechanistry keep building up new features, things can only get bigger and better for this unique city builder.

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