A Township Tale already has something few other VR games can claim to enjoy – a fan-run wiki.
No, really, I meant to type wiki.
See, the mere fact that Alta’s part survival, part town-building universe needs an online encyclopedia tells you a lot of things. First, it suggests the game has genuine depth, and that’s certainly the case; the world of A Township Tale is rife with different resources to collect, classes to master and, above all, equipment to make. Understanding what you need, how to get it and where to farm it from takes time. In fact, it’d be practically impossible without an online resource such as this.
It also tells you that there’s already a strong community behind this game, and one that clearly believes in Alta’s mission. Township enjoys a very active online community that, especially around this week’s Quest launch, is enthusiastic to do all it can to help you find your feet. You can also see that in the exhaustive amount of YouTube tutorials that spend anywhere up to an hour explaining the finer details of select elements of the game. Fostering a community like this is no small task, and it’s an early sign that, clearly, Alta is onto something here.
Finally, it’s also an affirmation that A Township Tale can, in its early hours, be a little overwhelming. There’s a lot to do here and the game itself currently doesn’t do a great job of explaining what your overall goals are and how to achieve them. In that sense, A Township Tale very much is about finding your own way and making your own adventures, but it takes a long time to really start feeling like you have a grasp on what you’re doing.
That’s not just because the in-game explanations are lacking (seriously, there isn’t any sort of real written explanation of what to do for most tasks) but because the game itself demands a good grasp of the fundamentals of VR before you start playing. It’s a fiddly, physical experience that requires you to pick up items correctly and act out using them properly right down to the angling of a swing of a hammer or how you hold a chisel. You can get some starting tips for the game right here.
The goal is to be as realistic as possible, and Alta certainly throws its all at that concept. And in a lot of ways the game succeeds with fascinating results. Without question, A Township Tale is a game that wouldn’t work with a controller or keyboard; yes you can play very similar games on flatscreen but the entire point of Township is to feel like you’re really doing these activities yourself. But, as a result, the game can also find itself brushing up against VR’s current limitations, asking for a finesse that’s hard to produce without the context you’d normally get from, say, swinging a top-heavy hammer onto a nail.
All that is to say that we’re not nearly ready to put down a review score on the game just yet. We’ve spent a fair amount of time digging into the meat of the game, but not nearly enough to really feel like we’ve seen everything it has to offer. It might be some time before we are ready to put that stamp down, too.
A Township Tale is hugely ambitious — especially on the Quest platform — and, if it gets everything right, it could be one of the most important releases yet. That’s why we need to make sure we get our judgment of the game right, too. Check back soon to find out our final thoughts.