A toast to Folk Tale
Do you like building and managing towns? How about bossing the little people around? Most importantly, do you like toast? If you answered ‘yes’ to all three of those questions there is a good chance you will have been frothing at the mouth, waiting for Folk Tale to release. Wait no longer, toast-loving gamer, for the debut title from Games Foundry has just launched on Steam as an Early Access title!
Having fled the evil Lord BlackDark and his tyrannical rule, your people set out on a quest to find a home somewhere new. A place where all men and women are equal, a place where they can be safe together, and above-all a place where toast is abundant and available for all citizens.
The premise of Folk Tale is pretty basic, and like many other similar games you may have played. You start the game with a few peasants and over time your population and village grow. Various buildings supply your town with food, shelter, spiritual guidance, and means to defend themselves – should they ever have to. It is a formula that has been used many times before, but has always been enjoyable.
As divine overseer you take control of all aspects of your village and its citizens. Choosing which buildings to construct, where to place them and which citizens to train is all in your hands. Buildings like the windmill are an excellent source of food when placed nearby fields, but to maximize output you require farmers. Assigning roles is easily done. Simply select your peasant of choice and left click on the windmill (the game annoyingly says to right-click), et-voila, you now have a farmer! The same principle is used throughout the game to create skilled citizens. A number of professions are represented. Farmers, monks, miners, and even militia can be trained to keep your village safe and your citizens tummies full of toast! It irked me a little that – at present – female peasants could seemingly only train in some professions and not others. This may be because the game is set in another time, however.
Key to Folk Tale‘s gameplay is the need to explore your surroundings. Forming small expeditionary squads can yield interesting results. It is advised to send only well-trained militia into the wild though, as Lord BlackDark has sent his minions to throw a spanner in the works. Venturing into the wild reveals new areas to explore. In the current build of the game, your citizens set out to rescue their fellow peasants from a pack of goblins. Things aren’t quite so simple though; In order to rescue their friends they must activate a robot to break through the goblin defenses. In another twist, the robot requires a gem that a bunch of kung-fu werewolves are currently in possession of. What’s even worse is the local farmer has been kidnapped. No farmer; no wheat. No wheat; no toast!
Combat works on a point-and-click style system. Selecting your units then left-clicking on your desired enemy will send your forces trundling towards them. At the moment, combat is based more on luck than anything else. Militia also seem to have skill slots which will be usable in combat, placeholder art currently sits in place but is not functional. Interestingly sending a monk along with your party helps to heal your militia and can even revive members of your party. Over time your units will level up, gain skill points and find better equipment. These features are not available in-game at the moment and are instead marked with non-functional placeholder art. A taste of things to come, most-likely.
Folk Tale is delightfully rendered and realistic in its appearance, but stylised in others. Pressing the ‘backspace’ key allows you to switch from the overhead view to on-foot. This gives you the opportunity to explore all of the buildings in your town, and appreciate just how much effort has gone into the appearance of the game. I stumbled across this feature, but I am glad I did; The world is a sight to behold up close and actually feels alive as more people arrive at the docks. Also a highlight is the typically British sense of humour. Peasants speak in very thick British accents and talk about how much they love toast. Meanwhile, the goblin army talk like South Londoners (“innit”/”blood”/”geezer” etc..). I personally found this extremely amusing – even if the voice acting is a bit hammy/amateur – but it may bewilder those unfamiliar with British humour.
My time with Folk Tale was brief – about an hour in total – but I have definitely been left wanting more. The game takes tried-and-tested parts from other games and melds them together successfully, in a quirky and fun way. Please remember that Folk Tale is an Early Access title meaning that it is very heavily in development. At present many features remain unimplemented. In fact, the only feature available is a short tutorial. There is no save function and no free-play mode. When you have completed the introduction, the game is over for the time being. If you are not fond of that, please hold onto your money for a while longer. The rest of you should begin delegation and toast eating at once!