Jon Shafer’s At The Gates brings in some new ideas for the ever niche but still popular 4X strategy genre. Considering that the lead designer (Jon Shafer) was the lead on Civilization V, one of the most acclaimed games in the genre from both a fan and critic standpoint, all signs pointed to this smaller, personal project being one that fans could really be looking forward to.
At The Gates brings in some interesting new ideas to 4X in having something harder to play, deliberately trying to bring on roguelike ideas as you work out what your particular tribe can get up to, and what path you should be following to make sure they survive. As you play and learn to either buddy up with those tribes around you or smite them, beneath the might of your military you get to unlock them for a future playthrough.
Each tribe plays differently, with certain rules being in place and starting areas being favoured over others. You may find yourself in rolling plains with plenty of resources one playthrough, and the next, be stuck in the frozen north trying to fend off the deadly winters as you gradually move your settlement to better-suited areas.
Unlike other 4X games, At the Gates has only one central settlement where your tribe will operate out of, making your initial settle much more of a weighted decision.
...one of the major features of At the Gates is a changing season system.
The look of the game as a whole reminds me very much of the strategic view of Civilization and honestly suits this small production...
Features include: Knowledge of all things geeky. “Over 9000!” achievement points in World of Warcraft. Groantastic Puns. Marking out for canadian heels.
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Jon Shafer, Conifer Games
23 January 2019
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