EA SCOUT the last line of defense for buying on Steam's Early Access
by Howie Howard
previewed on PC
Puzzle Pelago is a new economy building game by Indie game developer Hallgrim Games. Touted as being a drag & drop, economy rebuilding puzzle game, which might be slightly confusing to some of us. When I think of a puzzle game, my mind immediately goes towards old-fashioned cardboard classics, where differently shaped cut out pieces need assembling into a picture. Obviously Puzzle Pelago isn't like that but it can be a puzzling and fun experience, nonetheless. As you progress, each new island encountered needs its economy figured out and that's where puzzles comes into the mix.
It’s a simple enough storyline, seeing everything hinge on the ignorance of islanders in rebuilding the economies for their storm ravaged chain of islands. Like with most disasters, all materials needed to rebuild are readily available. The only missing puzzle piece is finding someone able to put the economic rebuild plan into action. That's where you, as the game player, come into the picture. As always, there are rules that need observing. Since each island is very small, roads may not cross each other, and you’ll need to figure out managing each individual economy before the rebuilding can be finished.
What do island economics look like?
As each island’s economy is figured out, progress is accomplished, and the next island becomes more challenging and involved. These economies boil down to having a main resource within the island, such as a forest. Since the economic chain needs completing, you’ll then need a lumber jack, a saw mill, a lumber factory and more to be added. Of course, their overall economy can't be rebuilt off just one island’s resources because they require other finished products. That's where developing transportation routes come into play, so that finished products from different islands can be combined to create more advanced products. To some of us, this type of gameplay might be familiar but it’s a tried and true principle, one that works nicely here.
Puzzle Pelago’s visuals are simplistic in nature. Different economic pieces of the puzzle should be placed in sequence and the roads rule must be considered, as doing so might anger these islanders. This game somewhat reminds me of an early version of SimCity but here, this building project’s objective isn't attracting hordes of city dwellers to a developing city, it's developing a working economic model. Since the building areas on each island are small, it means that only one of each puzzle piece are needed to complete the economic chain for individual islands. Once you’re satisfied that you have the correct puzzle piece, you can move onto the next.
How does the economic future look?
Actually, Puzzle Pelago’s future looks bright. Presently there’s about thirteen or so different products that can be produced and around a hundred islands to uncover. Since the game seems to be in a near-complete state, bugs are negligible and everything works just fine. Of course, there’s still further content that needs adding, hopefully including more levels and product chains in the future, which would be nice.
There are no guarantees - but we'd bet our own money on this one. If you're going to take a chance with yours, odds are good this one will deliver.