Kainga: Seeds of Civilisation has just launched into Early Access meaning everyone can get their hands on it for the very first time. Set in a world filled with danger and magic, this roguelite village builder lets you build the settlement of your dreams – or at least, lets you try. You’ll be building over and over again, each time learning a little more and gaining bonuses and upgrades to make your village last a little longer.
With some unique twists on the builder genre and a completely arresting art style, Kainga’s already shaping up to be something special. Here’s what we think after a few hours with the game.
It’s All About Survival
Kainga dives straight into the tutorial when you load it up, letting you get to grips with its systems smoothly. The way Kainga works is somehow similar to both The Settlers and Total Annihilation in that you’re building a settlement and nurturing your own villagers to inhabit it, but different in that you must also protect your central character – your Thinker.
Whilst building your village is how you progress through the game, it’s the Thinker which forms the core of the game. They represent not only the legacy of your previous attempts at survival but also the future. Your Thinker dreams up new ideas and innovations for your villagers to try out, they’re the brains of the operation. In other words, they’re you.
As you play you’ll be expanding your territory, warring or making peace with rival clans, building your settlement, and trying to survive in a world filled with giant, monstrous creatures. But it’s all about the Thinker. You’ll have to protect them above all as when they’re dead, your game is over. Back to the main menu with you.
Make no mistake – your attempt to build a perfect village will meet with failure such as by lava or a flood. This is entirely intended and helps show how in this world – and indeed, our own – humanity is not always in control over their surroundings. But fear not; even though your village has been destroyed and your Thinker has passed away, this is not the end.
Repeat and Grow Strong
In Kainga you’ll be starting anew many times, and it’s that repetition which is key and makes it a roguelite, rather than simply a village builder. As you progress through the game and continue to build villages, you’ll encounter new terrain, new plants and new concepts. You’ll send your Thinker off to muse on these, returning with a choice for the development of your village.
Eventually you’ll discover new technologies and earn achievements that will unlock enduring bonuses for your game, making future villages easier to build or giving you essential benefits. Kainga softens the blow of losing your village by helping make the next one a little better, giving you a continued thread throughout your many attempts that only improves the more you play.
You’ll even be able to change your Thinker, with three available at the start and others being unlocked through play. This gives you a wide range of options when it comes to your village, baking replayability right into the game’s DNA.
Kainga in Early Access
With an expected Early Access period of around a year, Kainga’s already in rude health. It has an art style that almost harks back to cave paintings, with villagers and Thinkers represented with 2D sprites. The world itself is fully rotatable 3D, allowing you to take a wider view of your surrounding world. However, the main draw of the game’s visual appeal is the giant creatures you may find wandering through your world. From huge, long-legged insectoids to crabs that raise themselves from the ground and take your village to the skies, they’re an absolute highlight and make the world feel like it’s buzzing with magic.
There are, of course, a few issues to iron out along the way. Some fonts may be a little small for some and there are a couple of technical issues, but there’s nothing that stops you from having a great time right now.
Kainga: Seeds of Civilisation is out in Early Access right now and it’s a game that looks like it’ll develop into something very special indeed. You can get your copy below!