By – Sophie Jones

Lethis Review He

It’s always nice when games of the modern era pay homage to those of old and that’s exactly what Lethis: Path of Progress does. It’s reminiscent of Impressions Games such as Caesar, Pharaoh and so forth. Any fan of these can jump right into this 2D city builder and know what to expect from the get go. For those less familiar, such as myself, there might be quite a learning curve as you embrace this eccentric steampunk world.

With a 26 level campaign mode which can be played on 3 difficulty settings you will definitely get your money’s worth. For those who want more there is also a sandbox option where you can build to your hearts content. As a beginner, I opted to complete the tutorial comprised of 5 missions. The gameplay is objective based and as the cities designer your task is to complete the ruler’s goals. Once you have done this you get a victory pop-up. Your score is then calculated based upon the following stats: how much money you have left, the time lapsed, buildings placed, population and difficulty.

My first qualm with the game arose during the tutorial. After finishing the introductory stages I thought I was ready to start my journey, however, the main quest introduced new features that I had no clue about, such as mini challenges and a reputation system. Of course, it is often nice to learn things as you play, but, a tutorial shouldn’t lack key information as otherwise it defeats the purpose of having one. Also, a codex isn’t on hand, so, if you forget one of the many steps or you want to double check an element you can’t which is quite frustrating. Veterans will most likely not have any issues in this area, but as beginner, who is not acquainted with the Impressions Games from the 90’s, I did struggle at times.

Lethis Review He

Like most city building simulators you will be in charge of placing roads and various speciality buildings. Time can also be fast forwarded but I wouldn’t recommend doing this often, as things can go wrong quickly due to some quirks in game. Houses level up depending on how many resources your city has and if you’re fulfilling the needs of your villagers. However, these tasks contain many steps and aren’t easy. For example, to level your houses to 5 your people will want alcohol which means first acquiring hops through farms, then building a monastery to convert it into alcohol which then goes to a warehouse where it finally gets transported to the shop for consumers. This style of gameplay is a pleasant addition as it makes you think carefully before you gain another luxury supply. Furthermore, you can obtain a trading centre where you can pay to unlock trading routes between cities who have items you may need to increase happiness.

An area of the game I disliked the most was its implementation of collapsing buildings. Certain structures are prone to failing, so, to safe guard against this you have to build maintenance workshops that will only survey a small area. However, despite building one of these, most of my plots, including those next to the workshop, fell down. This is a very annoying feature as it happens abundantly even if you own a maintenance unit. Likewise, there is no way of locating the wreckages or a quick way to fix them. Instead, you must delete each square of rubble and then choose from the options what you wish to build, you cannot simply rebuild what was there before. As you can imagine when fast forwarding time, a lot of expensive constructs become sinders rapidly, which sucks the fun out of the world, leaving only a tedious process behind.

To continue, Lethis isn’t forgiving. If you position a specialty building in the wrong place don’t expect to be able to pick it up and move it, instead you either have to bulldoze the highly pricy unit or delete your road network so you can have it running alongside. This is maddening as it can soon become costly as you don’t get a refund on deletion. Two other short comings include not being able to alter tax on an intricate scale (can only choose between low, medium or high) and you cannot rotate plots 360 degrees or rotate the map. Not being able to swivel the map can make it extremely problematic to locate areas that are obscured by others and thus expect to demolish builds you rather wouldn’t.

Lethis Review 1

Gameplay can be cumbersome, however, its artistic style and lore bestow a captivating universe enveloped with charm. Drawing from its steampunk roots there are many exciting things to create. For example, if you don’t have fertile land to grow hops for beer, hunters can kill the lands native Fae to turn them into absinthe and that’s not the only strange notion in Lethis. You will also have to build exorcist tents to stop spirits from spooking your villagers and construct automations to serve the rich as they don’t want their goods handled by the common folk. All these quirky ideas make for an intriguing city builder which I was drawn to. Moreover, the soundtrack is pleasant with its subtle tones and chimes, it really sets the scene for this steampunk Victorian universe. Sound effects are also apparent when you click on the various lots, so cows can be heard mooing when you select a farm. However, I would have enjoyed these sound effects to be played all at once or when zooming in so the city felt truly alive.

Unfortunately though, the design isn’t always on point. In sandbox mode you are unable to create custom maps or generate randomised ones. You can only pick from a small selection of pre-made maps, which is disappointing as it curbs creativity. Additionally, the AI is idiotic, workers will randomly populate warehouses and farms which can cause primary shops to stop functioning leading to an economic downfall. Finally, as you can tax your citizens horrendously and not encounter any repercussions the city can feel hollow making the game feels less like a living realm and more like a machine.

During my time with the game I didn’t encounter any crashes or glitches. The settings were also remarkably simple and merely allowed alterations to resolution, vsync and transparency quality. It is worth noting that updates are frequent and new things are being fixed and added every week.

Conclusion – Is It Worth Your Money?

For £14.99 you definitely get your money’s worth in content. However, there are a few features of the game that have perturbed me from fully enjoying the experience. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the developers, Triskell Interactive, are exceptionally active and are trying to iron out all these problems, so, there is hope that these issues might get ironed out at a later date. The best thing about this game is its charisma.  Lethis has an endearing soundtrack and quaint animations.  It was highly appeasing to spend hours of the day watching your city progress. Overall, I wasn’t inclined to revisit Lethis in its current state due to the issues I had with certain areas of its gameplay, but this game has potential as its charm is overwhelmingly loveable.

Lethis Technical Summary:

Lethis Review Sum

  • Time Played – 6 Hours
  • Widescreen Support – Yes
  • Windowed Mode – Yes
  • Resolution Played – 1920×1080
  • Bugs/Crashes Encountered – None
  • DRM – Steamworks
  • System Specs – i7-4790K @4 GHz, 8GB RAM, GeForce GTX 770
  • Control Scheme – KB/M
  • Game Acquisition Method – Review Copy
  • Availability – Steam
  • Demo – No
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