As developer Games Foundry’s first title, Folk Tale is a city building strategy game that has passed through Steam’s Greenlight and straight into Early Access, allowing early adopters to play the game while it’s still in its development. As a result, the title only currently offers a tutorial mode.
Despite this, the tutorial itself may last roughly three hours and offers its own story. It’s a miniature campaign with its own charm and weird sense of humour. The player takes the role of the village’s leader, commanding their townspeople to build a settlement for freedom and toast. The player selects pre-set allotments of land to build different type of buildings, such as a windmill or a woodcutter’s hut. These are used to obtain the resources needed for further development. Additionally, the player must build new houses for the village to expand, and barracks to create an army. The world outside of the village is dangerous, with Goblins and Ogres rolling around freely. The player can send their soldiers to fight these monsters, capture new resource camps, and level up. Unfortunately, the current version of the game requires no resources to produce anything, and leveling up offers little or no bonus, resulting in many player actions becoming fruitless. It’s a building game with little reason to build–at least, currently.
The combat is incredibly simplistic. The player simply selects a citizen, and then selects an enemy to attack. Citizens trained for combat as soldiers can use various different abilities to gain the upper hand. As with the level up mechanic, the combat is still bare-bones in this version of the title and the abilities do not work. Essentially, the player’s best solution is to simply keep training new soldiers to overwhelm the enemy characters. To ensure that this isn’t exploited, all plots of land are limited to up to five male characters to be assigned to them. Furthermore, female characters can only be trained and assigned to the tavern, which may bother some players.
That’s essentially with the problem with this Early Access title. While it’s a given that Folk Tale would be unfinished, it feels that even the early access was premature at the current price that players are expected to pay for it. It has a nice visual style, and three hours is fairly long for a tutorial, but almost all of the mechanics are still broken or nonexistent. It’s hard to determine how the title is shaping up when the only really functional aspect is just placing the buildings and attacking things.
Honestly, there’s little to discuss about the game as a result of what it lacks. Simply put, all that can be reviewed is its potential–which is still difficult to determine. It has equally as much potential to be good as it does to be terrible. It’s just far too early to be able to tell with the lack of anything else beyond the very core mechanics included. Just how balanced is it? What type of ways can you play? At the moment, the only certain thing is that you can build things and adventure through the land, swarming level three enemies with an army of level four troops and hoping they don’t all die.
It’s just too early to be able to tell how good it will become, but at least it was a relatively fun three hours. Folk Tale could potentially be interesting for players looking to build in a fantasy setting and fight monsters, but it’s still too ambiguous at this stage, especially when this is just a tutorial and not necessarily representative of the main meat of the game. Somehow, even “Early Access” seems a bit too soon.