Developer: Eat Create Sleep
Publisher: Eat Create Sleep
Tested on PC
Crest – Preview
Wouldn’t it be great to be like a god and shape the world in your image? Prevent wars and famine? Save humankind from disaster? Well, history proved that a lot of people tried and failed miserably, let alone being taken for granted. Either way, we can always turn to good old video games if we’re in the mood for playing god. The games industry brought us a lot of great god sim games such as Black & White, Populous, From Dust, Spore… Today, a small indie developer Eat Create Sleep is working on Crest, a similar kind of god sim but with a fresh and new take on the old god sim formula. So let’s see what they’ve cooked up so far as Crest is available in the Early Access program on Steam.
Crest is god simulation that let’s you shape your own story and to be precise, the story of your people. As you guide them in their endeavors, the story unfolds. Still, Crest tries to reimagine how humanity arose in the cradle of humankind on the African archipelago. It’s a historical evolutionary type of game that tries to emulate an early human civilization that could have existed around ten thousand years ago. The setting of the world , its flora and fauna is based on African ecology, with rainfall determining the separation of desert, savanna and jungle. The introduction is short but straightforward. Planets started to form… One of which was the planet earth, the human race started to exist and evolve… but as they progressed over time, it was clear that they needed guidance, your guidance.
Crest is visually a unique and beautiful game as it has created its own stylized visual design. It’s hard to describe the visual style but if you could compare it, it would be a mix between paper art and cubism. Everything from the people, the buildings to fauna and flora has been shaped in this particular design. At first, it might look like old school polygons stacked together but it looks so well polished and even adorable. Especially if you see the animals run around over the continent and see clouds pass over head, you can’t deny it’s all really appealing. If we take a closer look at the soundtrack, it’s still limited. But what we’ve heard so far, really is gentle on the ears. It’s mix of vibrant African cultural music combined with relaxing room music. It fits the setting of the game perfectly and gives off a spiritualistic vibe while playing god. There are no voiced elements in the game and the people don’t talk or make sounds. The game could definitely benefit from having some sound effects, such as murmur of people in the city-states, the screams of animals or the sounds of labor(like farming or mining). This would bring more ‘anima’ to the game world and more enjoyable for the players as the experience the busy lives of their people.
Crest is first and foremost a god simulation mixed with strategy elements or as the developers call it, a religion simulator where you have indirect control over your followers/people and guide them by giving them commandments. Whenever you start a new game, you get a short introduction and afterwards you’ll be dropped on a random generated piece of land surrounded by water. From here on, you’re quest as a god begins. The most important functions in your HUD and your playfield are your word tablet, your commandment tablet, your advisers and off course the main overview of your city states. The word tablet is a unique approach in god simulation genre. Here, you can form sentences with words that your people learned in order to create commandments. This way you can send concrete sentences directly to the right city state. But as you have an indirect control of your people with these commandments as consequences of your actions may not always be what you expect and you will need to be aware of sudden changes in the environment and your people’s faith, more importantly their faith in you. It actually challenges you to make and time your decisions as you use concept language where concept matters. Sometimes your people can create associations based on your commandments. These associations can manifest if one of your followers learns a new word and combines it with an existing commandment. So they might eventually act and decide on their own terms. You can delete these associations but can always have an impact on their faith and how they might act. This way, you have to overthink what the right decision in the right situation is.
In order to know which commandments to put forward, you can check the needs of your city states and your people by selecting your city. Here you can get an overview of the general needs such as fertility, food, gems, expertise, wealth, production, metal and the overall age of your followers. As followers have their own needs, they have to be fulfilled. If fulfilled, they work harder and are a lot happier. Apart from these needs, your city overview has 3 primary markers: ‘faith’, ‘city needs’ and ‘doctrine’. The faith is where you can check your influence over them. City Needs give a more detailed view of that particular city’s needs in a sort of statistics graph indicating what they objectively need, what they have achieved and what they crave for with 6 pointers: sustenance(food), offspring(children), safety, esteem(faith), abundance(wealth) and fellowship(social). The last one is doctrine. This is a ‘way of life’ certain way of life your followers have adapted to and each city upholds one kind of doctrine. Their doctrine also has an impact what kind of commandments to lean most to and to which they don’t. This might add an extra layer of strategy as you have to decide when to intervene or which commandment to use in order to guide your followers the best. And when the first of a particular joins the afterlife, he becomes one of your advisers. Whenever you need guidance, they are a worthy resource of knowledge in creating the right commandment. When you’re doing well, the city states will grow and expand, your followers will migrate and create new city states and evolve further more.
Furthermore, you have access to a calendar divided in 8 periods each with his own star sign. The calendar will let you know how much time has passed. It also shows urgent matters that you need to know. For example, if your city’s about to starve on the 7th period, it will show you and you’ll have plenty of time to make that city gather more food. This way, you get a guiding hand in selecting putting forth commandments and think out the right strategy. It might seem like there are a lot of aspects to consider and keep an eye on, still as you’ll only have indirect control over your followers, it pushes you to find a balance between freedom and intervening.
So far, Crest is a fun and refreshing take on the old god simulation genre and allows the player to experiment with the possibilities of the word tablet. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination or what’s allowed in-game. The fact that you can indirectly influence your followers, offers the right amount of challenge but so far there is no possibility to change the difficulty. The playthroughs are still a bit short and limited at the moment but will probably extend as more gameplay elements are added along the way. We’re definitely looking forward to try out the final product and are hoping for more interesting gameplay that might make Crest a really interesting and great game.