Developer: it Matters Games
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Platforms: PC, Mac
Tested on: PC
Caravan – Review
Caravan is the latest love child by it Matters Games and publisher Daedalic Entertainment. The game features a journey through deserts and dangers, where you have to safely navigate your caravan through the lands of the Arabian Peninsula with strategic trading and traveling to overcome various obstacles. Let’s see what kind of mysteries this game has in store.
The story begins in Iram of the Pillars, a little town in the Arabian Peninsula. Myths and legends have been woven about this city, and you are the heir to the throne. One day, you are adult enough to do physical labor and now you have to lead a caravan in order to prove yourself. However, things don’t turn out as you expected them to, as your home town was cursed and swept off the map. Weird creatures have also appeared all over the Peninsula, things that have never been seen before. It’s your job to find out what happened to the Peninsula and how your fate is connected to the weird things that are going on.
Overall, the story is fairly okay. There’s some good information to be found at the start of each chapter which situates the story and the events going on. There’s also quite a bit of quests, but apart from the main story line, it doesn’t teach you much.
Caravan isn’t the most graphically impressive game, but the art style is pretty interesting and it looks very unique. Everything has a very Eastern and “sandy” style to it, since the whole game is played inside of a desert nonetheless. There aren’t many fancy animations or impressive graphical feats in the game either, it all looks very simple. That isn’t a bad thing however, it looks great as it is and it’s pretty appealing to the eye.
Most of the sound in Caravan is okay, but it’s nothing to write home about. The music itself is fine, but the fact that it’s a very short track which gets looped over and over and over is a pity. There was loads of potential for the music in a game like this, but it went to waste for a short looped track. The voice acting that is present is also pretty mediocre, it’s not great but it’s not bad either, it’s just there.
Caravan is a single player adventure game where you manage a caravan and take it across the desert in your quest to find out what happened to the Peninsula. It can be controlled completely with the mouse as the keyboard doesn’t offer a lot of functionality.
The game is played by simply managing your caravan and traveling from city to city while doing quests, earning money and earning experience. You have a handy map at your disposal which highlights cities you can travel to, directly or indirectly. Each city can feature a range of things, like quests, guild masters, merchants, wells, sages, ghouls and more. It’s up to you which path you want to take and how much time you want to take doing it.
Your most valuable resource is money and your caravan. Your caravan can have a range of entities in them like donkeys, horses, camels, slaves, hired swords, merchants and a few more. Each of these can help you in some way. Donkeys, horses and camels will increase your carrying capacity for example, which is needed to carry waterskin (else you’ll dehydrate and die) and items in between towns. Slaves can provide benefits to your caravan as you can get passive bonuses depending on how many people or “artifacts” are in your caravan. Then there’s hired swords which can help you in combat, merchants who can help you barter or even sages who can heal you after a rough battle.
Money is earned by doing quests and by traveling from town to town and selling items. Each town has its own economy and will pay/ask more for a certain resource like food, water, jewels, cloth and more. It’s up to you to manage your bag space and money correctly in order to become the richest caravan in the Peninsula. In between towns, you’ll also encounter some events like slave traders, merchants, other caravans and more. However, there’s not a lot of different kinds of events, so after a while you’ll have a lot of repeated events.
One very fun aspect in the game is the bartering and combat mechanic. Instead of having the old button mashing mechanics to fight, you’ll play a dice game which looks like rock, paper, scissors. The same mechanics go with bartering but with different numbers. Both you and your “enemy” in a fight/barter has three stats which matter, assigning dice to them will buff the stats and if your stats are higher than your enemies’, you’ll do damage or win the barter.
In conclusion, Caravan was a pretty decent game to play. It features a very fun combat & bartering system and an okay economic system in between cities, although supply, demand and price should fluctuate over time. The story will take you quite some time to get through, depending on how many side quests you want to do on your way. If you’re interested in a strategic, adventure point & click game, this might be something for you.