The Chieftain

A bit of a hot mess, this one. It doesn't help that the game file and title, once you load it up, is actually "Something Good Copy". I'm not sure, but that sounds a bit like a working title, something that's still in development.

Anyway, start it up, and we're asked to name our village -- not that it seems to matter after that, as I got to the "you win" page without the name ever coming up again. We're told that we're the chieftain of this village, and that we're to build up our village and its resources until we achieve a certain level of overall happiness for our citizens. Gameplay consists basically of two tasks per day, each with a different list of potential activities. It's basically a question of building up resources and/or trading one resource for another.

The implementation is a bit shaky. We're told that very often, the text box gets printed so low down the page that we've got to scroll past a field of black to get to it. That seems like the sort of thing that ought to be fixed before launch, rather than released with a workaround. On a couple of occasions, though, I did actually hit a completely blank page, and had to use the UI's back button to redo the thing in hopes of getting past the bug. Also, very often I found that a trade resulted in me getting the thing I wanted, but not losing the thing I gave for it; I was thus able to repeatedly avail myself of the "Open A Party" option for 3 points of happiness without actually spending the 5 points of food it was supposed to cost me.

Speaking of "Open A Party", there are a few turns of phrase that suggest to me that the author's first language is not English. That's forgivable. On the other hand, the writing seems to be focussed too much on the mechanics of how the game is supposed to work, and too little on the story itself. The result is something that never lets us forget that we're manipulating game tokens and therefore, unfortunately, leaves us feeling nothing like the tribal chieftain we're supposed to play.

This is, I think, a bit like taking a handful of vitamin tablets and an energy drink for breakfast. We're hitting all the nutritional checks, but it's not exactly satisfying our hunger. Also, some of these tablets are still in the experimental stage. Hope we don't blow up into a giant blueberry or something.