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Fabledom review
Dan Lenois


It's a whole new world, just not necessarily an ideal one...

Ruling over a kingdom and making it your own has always been quite the fantasy, something that Fabledom takes quite literally in both name and deed. Meeting the needs of your growing populace has always been a common staple of the traditional top-down strategy genre, and certainly a key component of Fabledom's DNA. In what order you prioritize your people's needs, and your own, is, of course, up to you as their magnanimous omnipresent leader.

Time flies...or rather, crawls...

With soft, colourful visual aesthetics and a gentle soundtrack, Fabledom is quite clearly the kind of chill, somewhat-idle strategy game that even when sped up, doesn't move particularly quickly. Of course, when your kingdom consists of merely a few crude huts and the most basic of accommodations, that can be quite endearing. It becomes a lot less so once your population enters the hundreds or greater.

At any point, the player can alter the flow of time from x1, x2, to even x3. However, even when maximized at x3, things often feel painfully slow. In most other games, when one multiplies time speed, you feel a noticeable impact, often to the point where the maximum speed comes across as too fast to conveniently watch. Here, it still feels like watching paint dry.

Worthless workers...

Instead of giving the player direct control over the workers that construct buildings and maintain the town at large, as so many other strategy games like Civilization, Dungeons, or Two Point Hospital do, all workers here are completely automated and will not respond to any player-driven commands. The game does supposedly allow the player to prioritize building order, if multiple new buildings are awaiting construction, but the workers will still often explicitly ignore orders when it suits them.

For two consecutive years in-game, aka perhaps about an hour in real-life time, my workers seemingly refused point-blank to do any work whatsoever, despite all the necessary resources and other conditions having already been met.

My workers would just sit idly on benches contributing nothing, then after a hard day at work sitting around doing nothing, they would go home and sleep. This was not an organized strike or other unspecified mechanic. The game's programming just decided it didn't want to function. Reloading the save file didn't fix this. After said two years, the workers randomly just decided now was the year to recommit to their chosen vocation.

Grinding to a halt...

Step aside, Destiny 2, we've found a new contender for the lauded "most excessively grind-infested game" of the year nomination. In the span of my first 10 hours, I only barely levelled my kingdom up to "City" status. Half of my time was spent watching Netflix as I waited for my people to grind the same half-dozen or so basic resources ad nauseum, none of which required my involvement.

Every half-hour or so, a dialogue box with 2-3 possible rewards and/or punishments would pop up, depending on the randomized scenario, and with one button click, I would accept the outcome, and back we would go to the everyday grind. I'm all for grind if it's fun and rewarding, but if it's neither of those things, it ultimately comes across as a total waste of time.


I really wanted to enjoy Fabledom. It certainly has a certain appeal when you first jump in and immerse yourself in its most fundamental mechanics as well as its beautiful aesthetics. Unfortunately, at present, the actual gameplay loop stops being entertaining after the first hour or two. If you're at that point now and see that you're just under the two-hour mark, take my advice and throw yourself at the mercy of Steam's mostly-automated refund process. There's a great game to be found somewhere here in Fabledom's DNA, but its current plethora of bugs and odd gameplay decisions make it an extremely hard sell as is.

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fun score


Varied building types, decent tutorial, charming tone


Abysmal automation system, braindead AI, painfully slow pacing, excessive grind