Dawn of Man takes a break from waring factions, racing to fortify themselves and conquer the other – In this simplistic and beautiful strategy-survival game you focus more on the birth of civilization.
Developed by indie studio Madruga Works, Dawn of Man offers the perfect starting point for players unfamiliar or confused by the uber-complicated mechanics city building or strategy games involve.
Initially launched in 2018, and recently released on PlayStation 4, it’s pretty amazing just how seamless some of the inputs are executed. Sending your humans on hunts, or harvesting materials can be viewed through a close-up camera that can be tweaked to get the best angle for watching them carry out their task.
The animations are well-crafted, and the overall pacing of your settlement feels realistic when leaving the game speed at 1x.
As with most games of this type, Dawn of Man caters to those that don’t wish to play things out in real-time and would prefer a quicker tempo to this song. For this reason, settings are available to increase the game speed up to 8x, allowing you to speed through simple objectives that get a little boring to watch after a few hours.
The main flaw with Dawn of Man doesn’t stem from sluggish gameplay, poor design or a badly implemented interface such as menus. Instead, the let-down with Dawn of Man is all about content, or lack of. It’s fairly easy to progress your civilization right through to the Iron-Age, with no feeling of satisfaction. For such a good-looking city builder there’s only a real feeling of the glorious climb to success throughout the Neolithic and Monolithic periods. Once you have the ability to farm or harvest everything you need it becomes a game of clockwork, waiting as patiently as possible for your humans to get all the daily tasks completed, and get around to doing the things you want them to.
The anticlimax that is the end game in Dawn of Man is disappointing, but not a deal-breaker. It’s a lot of fun growing your tribe from humble hunter-gatherers, to skilled tradesmen, craftsmen, farmers, and fighters. The best part of all, hunting large animals like bears, mammoths, and rhinos – especially in the early days of sticks and stones. The map is a decent size, so sending one or two humans on a bit of a hike to set up a mini-camp can be quite the challenging DIY side mission.
Much like real settlements of early mankind, Dawn of Man features materials correct of the time period, with animals becoming extinct as civilization advances, and all the plants and resources are accurate too. One downside in this department is the lack of information on what each plant is used for, some are more obvious as they are needed to produce tools or clothing. Others seem to be used only for food, but with no control over what your tribe cooks it makes no sense to have a dozen sources of sustenance. Fish, game, and grain are enough, but of course, that would be boring if it was all you could eat. Adding the extra options is great and all, but there should be more depth to what can be created.
Play this one with the right intentions, and don’t expect to lose yourself in a story or immersive experience. But do play it, especially if you want to stretch your legs from your usual genre and check out this sweet little gem.
Dawn of Man
- Incredibly easy to master, great for players new to the genre.
- Plenty of plants to harvest, animals to hunt or domesticate, and a large space to explore.
- The design for exceeds what you would expect from a small team and clings onto all the best parts of the classic city builder format.
- Even with the game speed at it's fastest, some tasks are pointlessly tedious.
- Once you pass the first couple of civilization leaps, the momentum disappears, making the ending unsatisfying.
- The map is large, but consists of the same assets repeated over and over.