Slipping Into the Stone Age With Tribe: Primitive Builder

Tribe: Primitive Builder
originality
addictiveness
prettiness
Genre
Reviewed On
Steam (PC)
Available For
Difficulty
Easy
Publisher(s)
Developer(s)

I manage a household of three people, two cats, some fish and an unknown number of shrimp, so I felt pretty checked out on being able to manage a growing tribe. Tribe: Primitive Builder ended up being the relaxing end to a remarkably stressful week. If you’re looking for a walking simulator with some management elements and stellar visuals, then you should give Tribe: Primitive Builder a look.

Plot Ahoy!

You’re on a beautifully rendered volcanic island, and it’s up to you to build a village and save your people. Tribe: Primitive Builder starts with your character getting chucked off a boat and washing up as an exile on this island. An Elder in a creepy mask finds you and puts you to work because your primary contribution here is your ability to gather materials and build things. You also need to unite the various other exiles into a single tribe in order to get things running smoothly enough to provide food and shelter for everyone. Note, you’ll need to dodge the volcanoes.

Review Notes

I want to cover Tribe: Primitive Builder’s visuals first and foremost because they’re stunning. The game is built on the Unreal Engine 5.1, and it shows. However, despite the graphics, the title is pretty forgiving in terms of acceptable hardware. The island’s vibrant colors and diverse vistas serve as a visual feast that contributes to the game’s immersive feel. The soundtrack fades into the background nicely while still helping to set the emotional tenor of the events taking place on screen.

In terms of gameplay, Tribe: Primitive Builder does rely on a few important survival mechanics. You’ll need to be certain that you keep your character fed, rested, and hydrated in order to continue following orders from the masked Elder. You’ll also need to make sure that you’ve stockpiled enough resources to keep your tribe members well-fed enough to function. However, the title relies strongly on automation, much like other civilization builders. In that sense, Tribe: Primitive Builder really isn’t breaking any new ground here. You build a fishing hut to procure fish, which in turn are sent to the cooking hut to be converted into edible food. The gatherer hut grabs various useful resources and materials that you’ll need to acquire in order to continue building structures. You’ll need to house your tribe members as well, so do be prepared to invest in sleeping huts.

Note that none of these huts can perform their functions without tribal members present, which means that you have to go track down members of the diaspora on this island in order to build your empire-er-village. In order to do that, you have to have hunters or scouts who can spot random bonfires on the complete other side of the island.

You then travel through these beautiful if a bit barren landscapes in order to retrieve the three people each bonfire is good for. Please note, you’ll need these trips to gather resources originally, but you are going to do a truly astonishing amount of running while playing Tribe: Primitive Builder. Remember how I called it a walking sim? The title will send you through the four different lands in order to retrieve materials.

Once you’ve retrieved the materials, building is a matter of finding a suitable location and then clicking in order to fling the relevant bits into their designated spots in order to construct the hut. Once you’ve completed your quest, you get to go make a sacrifice to the gods who will then give you the blueprint for the next building. Yeah, the sacrifice mechanic was a little weird for me, too. Still, Tribe: Primitive Builder’s appeal largely stems from the comparatively low-stress activity of moving from task to task while still doing the bare minimum to keep yourself alive.

TLDR

Tribe: Primitive Builder is a low-stakes survival/management sim that has you construct buildings and build villages and supply lines to keep the greatest number of people fed and housed. The map is enormous, and the scenery is wonderfully rendered. However, if you’re looking for excitement in your gaming experience, Tribe: Primitive Builder isn’t going to be that for you. It keeps you involved via a steady stream of quests, but you’re never going to be duking it out with a rival faction or avoiding becoming lunch for the resident wildlife.

Tribe: Primitive Builder retails for $19.99 on Steam and is a worthwhile investment if you’re looking for a calm way to spend several hours.

Stray Thoughts From Behind the Keyboard

  1. If you take fall damage in Tribe: Primitive Builder, it’s incredibly minor, which was nice.
  2. I’m not wild about linking one supply hut to one trading post. That seems a little inefficient, but what do I know?
  3. The side quests are pretty minimal, which means you’ll be able to focus on the main story, which involves building an ark to get all of your people off the island before the looming volcano erupts. I’m guessing this means that Tribe: Primitive Builder is finish-able.
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