Out this month, here’s a The Bonfire 2 Uncharted Shores review in advance. Does it have a chance to survive in a genre already full of decent titles?
When I wrote the news piece on The Bonfire 2 Uncharted Shores about getting addicted to these sort of games, I didn’t believe that was going to be the case. Still, despite having a pile of games to review (and a handful I’ve been genuinely looking forward to), I can verify that I’m addicted to this game.
There’s no real story to this game, and there certainly isn’t any hand-holding either. Xigma Games want you to explore and discover your surroundings the natural way, and for the most part, I agree with this ethos.
The Bonfire 2 Uncharted Shores Review
The Bonfire 2 Uncharted Shores reminds me a little of Curious Expedition, despite being quite different. For the latter you are rewarded with being adventurous – the same with the former, but with The Bonfire 2 Uncharted Shores, you are limited to one location, despite sending out citizens to trade with others, or locate details on the Ancients.
At its heart, it’s a survival game where it’s distinctively split into two. During the day you will build your village to become a town, possibly a city through the development of new technologies, resource gathering and management. At night, you have to stay alive.
Let’s begin with the day. The first structure you build is your bonfire. This is the hub of every community and the default rally point for newcomers and those sworn to protect.
All citizens will need a place to sleep. Not only is this a place where they can recharge, but also to protect them as when night draws, they will return home unless they are on patrol or don’t have a home. For the latter, they’ll assemble around the bonfire and vulnerable for attacks.
You’ll also need to feed them through fishing, farming and later through trading posts. If you run out of food, they’ll die. Everything else comes down to progress and developing new structures.
You can harvest trees, hunt and skin animals; then later you can build clay pits, steelworks and temples – even a treasury for hoarding gems and other valuables.
The Bonfire 2 Uncharted Shores doesn’t progress in real-time per se, but you have two different time mode: normal and sped up. There’s also the option to pause, but with a twist: you can assign villagers with tasks or equip them without having to worry about what’s currently happening.
Whatever do I mean? What’s the urgency?
Survive The Night
As day becomes night, your villagers return to their home or sleep around the bonfire while your assigned patrol wander up and down looking for any threats. Attacks take place every night, so it’s inevitable.
The patrols are automatic, and you can assign four people, which increases as you upgrade your bonfire to level three. At first, they attack with their hands, but you can equip them with hardier equipment and armour to increase their survival chances, as well as by improving their stats.
Defending is automatic, and when your crew sense a threat, they’ll run to the location and defend, taking anything left behind. Enemies are random – sometimes they can be spiders, other times wolves or unknown native warriors – even behemoths that take a good kicking until death.
Townfolk will regain their health through sleep, but should they die, that’s it – no resurrection. You can name each villager, but after losing some of my best ones, I gave up and kept the generic ones – eventually giving them names of their roles; hunter, blacksmith, etc… so I could monitor who had the best specs.
It’s A Question Of Stats
Through carrying out a task – be it killing enemies or harvesting resources, you’ll get point upgrades for your people. This can be for melee, ranged attacks or productivity. It’s a simple strategy as ideally, you’ll want to invest in productivity for all day workers, and either melee or ranged for the patrols.
However, due to the nature of the game, you can often find some of the spontaneous invaders being a little OP’d such as the tribal warlords. A few times they killed eight of my patrol team, two turrets and then destroyed a farm before daylight (they retreat by then).
In fear of a terrible cliche, Rome wasn’t built in a day and getting your characters levelled up can take an age and there’s always the risk of losing them, but you have to grin and bear it.
One of the other things that happen with each character is individual perks such as courage (never backing away from a fight) or loyalty. If a villager gets complacent, you may find they steal some stock and run. Meanwhile, your loyal citizens will hunt them down if they catch them in time.
The Bonfire 2 Uncharted Shores is a lengthy game, in a good way. The only real motivations are development and survival. I’ve not encountered a game over as such, but I’ve restarted three times thinking I was a little wiser with each approach.
Paradise Is Made Up
Visually, I liked it. There are only three island areas (procedurally generated) which you connect with building bridges. While holding the left mouse buttons, you can get a 360º view, tilt up and down and get an excellent zoom too.
The characters looked like a bit on the dark side and reminded me of some drab and depressing Dutch artwork from the 1600s through the profile shots – even the character movements sometimes felt a little… hopeless.
It does lack any significant soundtrack, which isn’t such a bad thing, but there’s also a lack of ambience, and it’s only when you hear the attacks in the night and subsequent cheers that there’s any real presence, but overall, the presentation was great.
I really enjoyed The Bonfire 2 Uncharted Shores, but I had a few issues with it.
- The instructions are pretty limited, and it took me a good hour or so until I understood how to build tools and implement them, i.e. when spears were ready or carts to increase the carrying of materials.
- The number of times citizens would get stuck behind objects then subsequently run out of energy or die of starvation was far too frequent later in the game. They would run on the spot, and there was nothing I could do about it.
Are these minor? I’m not sure. The latter is frustrating when you’ve not got the workforce to run your town efficiently, and you’re at the mercy whether any new villagers will join the cause or not (I forgot to mention that you don’t create units as such, people will see your bonfire and ‘sign up’).
As I began this The Bonfire 2 Uncharted Shores review, I’m pretty addicted to it and for the most part, really have been enjoying my time with it. It does lack the direction and story of similar titles, but the gameplay is enjoyable if a little repetitive. The incentive of learning a new recipe for weapons is encouraging enough given that you will face a new attack every night!
- Very nice presentation and controls.
- Lots of depth for new structures and gear.
- Random encounters and perks make it unique.
- Villagers getting stuck and subsequently dying.
- Lack of audible ambience.
- Not entirely intuitive at first - no hints!