Build Your Own Never-Never Land With Fabledom

It’s no secret that city building games are extremely popular these days. We have been reviewing quite a few of them lately, with each one bringing a slightly different aspect of the city building genre to the table. For example, Manor Lords presented an extremely realistic look at medieval life and town construction, while Against the Storm combined city building with roguelike mechanics for quite a few surprises. Timberborn was all about building with beavers, while Cities Skylines 2 brought things up into a realistic and modern world.

With all this popularity, it makes sense that even more titles would be released that break the mold in one way or another. Enter Fabledom, a beautiful-looking city builder that uses a fairytale type of style and a simpler interface to entice players who might not normally venture into the ranks of elite builders. In addition to just that, Fabledom introduces romance and marriage into its mechanics, with a choice of partner that changes the playstyle and even governs what players are able to construct.

So, Fabledom has a lot going for it in terms of uniqueness right off the bat, and the cartoon-like graphics coupled with a humorous narrator makes the initial presentation really alluring. Even just picking out a map was a pleasant experience and seemed very natural. Every map offers different lands to take over that vary in size and terrain. If I didn’t like any of the maps, I could have a new one randomly created by the game. I eventually settled on a small plot of land sitting on a peninsula for my first playthrough. With that I would have access to large amounts of water, which I figured would be quite an advantage for my new fantasy kingdom.

Fabledom has a great tutorial which matches its creative and casual style. Compared to a title like Manor Lords, the tutorial here was extremely easy to follow. In general, Fabledom follows the same type of mechanics as other city builders in that you gather lots of resources and then construct buildings which either support your population or unlocks higher tier structures. It’s just that with Fabledom, everything is simplified so that there is not too much complexity. That makes the tutorial pretty easy to get through. But even with that simplicity, there are a few odd quirks that are, unfortunately, not fully explained.

For example, food consumption, a pretty basic need for your people, is not very intuitive. I had residents (known as Fablings) starving to death in town despite having a huge surplus of all kinds of locally grown vegetables. I had to go to Reddit to try and find out why they were starving because Fabledom did not offer any hints. It turns out that you need to strategically place granaries all around because the Fablings won’t go too far to get all that food. I guess they are stubborn like that. Even if they are starving, they refuse to walk a couple blocks to pick up those free carrots I was trying to hand out.

In terms of the actual city building, Fabledom leans heavily into the resource-gathering side of the equation. You need to gather a lot of materials to build new buildings, and the key resource-producing structures (that you also must first construct) only generate a very small amount of new materials themselves. That makes leveling up your city and opening up new buildings and opportunities, which is mostly dependent on your population (which is in turn dependent on how many houses you have), extremely slow. For example, you will be building a massive amount of farms to feed everyone (and don’t forget to disperse those granaries). There are also some key resources which seem especially bottlenecked, like coal.

All of that is balanced by the fact that everything in Fabledom is pretty easygoing. You will likely never feel like you are on the edge of failure, and certainly there is much less tension than with a title like Against the Storm. Fabledom is a slow burn but that contributes to its relaxed and casual nature.

For the marriage mechanic, once I got to meet all of the other rulers, I started courting Winifred as my favorite character who I wanted to foster a relationship with in Fabledom. Winifred is a warrior princess, so her courting challenges are all military based. Once you complete all of the missions she demands, you can spend a large number of resources to have a wedding. This, of course, is another thing that slows down your city building, but you have to pay for that grand wedding.

Once you finally tie the knot, you get a permanent buff depending on who you marry. In the case of my beloved Winifred, the bonus is that all of my soldier training times are cut in half. My grand hero also gets 100% extra experience. The bonuses are good, but I kind of expected a little bit more out of what is clearly a core mechanic for Fabledom.

That is kind of how I felt about Fabledom overall. It’s a good title and a nice choice if you are looking for a relaxed city building experience. However, most every other city builder that I have played recently offered just a bit more depth as well as greater rewards. I realize that not every game is going to have the complexity of something like Europa Universalis, nor should it, but Fabledom is so casual that it almost feels incomplete. Eventually, I was doing the same things over and over again, building more farms and other resource generators to support my overly massive economy and wondering if that was all there was to it.

Overall, I had a really good time playing Fabledom, and it fit well within the pantheon of building games that I have been playing. However, the other main issue I ran into was that Fabledom’s save function broke on me. Even the autosave froze, and it also refused to let me save manually. I ended up losing about four hours of gameplay at one point before I realized that the autosave was not triggering, and my manual save was also worthless. Resetting it fixed that problem, but all of my previous progress was lost.

On its own, in a vacuum, Fabledom is a solid city builder that can keep players engaged for hours on end, especially if they enjoy casual titles or are looking for a more relaxed city building experience. However, when comparing it with all of the new releases in the same genre, Fabledom is a bit too primitive, even kind of unfinished in terms of an endgame. It would be difficult to recommend it over Timberborn, Manor Lords, Against the Storm, or other similar city builders which offer many more features and better risk versus reward mechanics.

However, for an easygoing city builder that can be played whenever you have a few minutes to work on your fairytale type of town (assuming you can save your work), you can’t get much better than Fabledom. It’s a mostly stress-free environment that you can build and grow while forgetting about the pressures of real life for a while in this colorful fantasy kingdom.

Fabledom is currently available on Steam, and the developers plan to also bring it to the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X consoles in the near future.

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