The cold undocumented emptiness of Banished


Leaving the game running overnight =/= playing it.

Yes, you might have 12.3 hours "played", but it's telling that you didn't even unlock ONE SINGLE ACHIEVEMENT. In other words, you're a liar and a fraud.


Considering that Tom didn't unlock one single achievement while playing the game, that tells you that he didn't play it much at all. So this review is a fraud perpetrated by a liar who likes to be paid off to give good reviews.


Not much of a review. Compares it to a other game. Complains why it not like the other game. It shameful that Metracritic allows these hacks to be counted as a critic. I do feel like a fool because I can assume he only reviewed the game and wrote this just to get people to click on this website.


SimCity IV


The kind of review I would expect from a "reviewer". SOme one who doesn't have time to play the game, figure it out and enjoy it. Rather he prefers to be given all the answers, nuggets, and traps up front so he can play for a few hours, beat the "boss" and post his high score for others to try to beat.
This reviewer gets a 1 for lack of objectivity. Unless you like the games this reviewer likes, you won't learn anything here.


This. Absolutely 100% this.


I think some of the commenters are being unfair. Certainly there are some fine lines here, and not everyone who ends up asking that same paragraph of questions Tomchick asks is an attention-deficit goon. Not everyone has the left-brained presence of mind of a chessmaster. (I sure as hell don't.) So he thinks a game should need to explain more of its mechanism so that players don't lose so easily. Sure, that in itself doesn't warrant giving it such a low rating, but what is it that makes this whole "lack of hand-holding" thing such a well-discerned and exciting move, rather than just "obfuscating" like he said? Personally, I'm struggling with the game, and debating whether or not sticking through it and learning the hard-won way is worth it, and if that makes me an immature low-brow gamer with a nonexistent attention span in your eyes, well, so be it.

Also, being the "lone wolf" bad reviewer could actually end up benefiting the dev team (party of one awesome dude, Luke Hodorowicz!). It is a very real representation and reflection of what some players of the name no doubt thought. So then, if the market for this game is actually a smaller niche of people who will appreciate the level of intricacy of the micromanagement, and won't be frustrated by the daunting challenge, that's obviously good for the developer to know. People have this strange sense of morality, where it's childish or ignorant to give a low review for a game that has lofty intentions and tortuous complexity (not in a negative sense). And actually the reviewer might have a lot of appreciation for those things, but if he or she does not ultimately think the game has enough guidance, or that it was not accurately presented/marketed as a game for those well-versed in the type of critical thinking skills to not need that guidance, that seems reasonable to me. (Especially when I myself do not feel I have the analytic mind and, in some ways, the emotional endurance to really get good at such games...)

Stuff like this makes me want to compare video games and literature: the classics are no doubt the best: intricately woven, with the most ambitious cryptograms of hidden meaning and puzzles and symbolism, beautiful language, etc. -- but there are also few people smart enough to understand them without annotations and footnotes twice the length of the actual text. Not trying to say this is the case with Banished, but at least when you're reading a book, you don't risk losing everything because of one infinitesimally small decision. Haha.

Alright, I think I'm just rambling incoherently now!

TL;DR: Just because a game is smart, doesn't mean giving it a bad review is dumb. :P


The cold documented emptiness of Tom Chick.


Did you spend the fifteen minutes it takes to play the tutorials? Most of your questions and hidden information are directly answered. More food options increases health. Each building has stats on what it made. If you build the town hall it shows you the historical data on your town.

The point of the game is exactly the same as any city builder. Build more, expand, and try to balance your resources. It sounds like you want an RTS.

Not liking a game is fine. Not liking that it is a small game that keeps asking you to manage a small set of resources when you want more is fine. But failing to actually use the tools them game makes painfully easy to access, then complaining that they are not there is like complaining that you can't build a lego set when you throw away the box and instructions. Acting like this is a quest based city builder when it is a sandbox is reviewing the game in the wrong subgenre.


This game is a perfect play, simple to learn, very difficult to master. The longer you play for, the more difficult it becomes, keeping a population of 900 at 900 takes effective planning and strategist, some that are even more planned out then other games of this genre. A single star is an unreasonably low value for this game, I'd easily buy it 2 times over if I had too, and I only expect hundreds of more hours from my copy of it.


It's not a city builder. Neither is Anno. They are resource management games. City builders have traffic and garbage and crime and commercial industries. Resource management games don't bother with those things because they aren't about city building.


Fully agree with you, I trust Metacritic to give me a good gauge at a glance, but on this one when I noticed the disparity between user and critic reviews I went looking and found this joke of a score pulling down all of the others. For those that don't get the math, this is disgustingly narcissistic. It means that if 6 reviewers give this game an 80, after adding this joke of an outlier in, it drags the score all the way down to a 71 because his 20 is so out of step with more professional reviewers. Saying that these 7 reviewers then gave the game an average of 71 is then accurate but wholly misleading, they almost unanimously agreed that this is an 80, so then this guy is pulling it down way more than his fair share. 6 other hypothetical reviewers took the time to give this game a reasonable score, but it makes it look like they collectively thought it was meh. I don't even have to play to know this game is not a 20, as neither critics nor users even remotely agree with you. Such awful scores should be reserved for trash like WarZ and Burger King racing.

When it's all said and done though, this d-bag is getting clicks by being terrible at his job and messing up the aggregate scores with his clueless scoring system. I'm going to try to contact Metacritic and ask that this site be removed as it is detrimental to the validity of the scores. I hope you all join me.


I came by way of Metacritic (where I just left my review) and I wonder how many of these people commenting early on have the same opinion now. Our bugs are known bugs but make the game unplayable. There has been no update since release for it. While I have some time with it - it's usually redoing things because I have the dreaded save bug (which I can reproduce easily once it starts happening... something the dev says he can't). My husband can't play. Heck, I've had hard crashes in some of these save crashes that reboot my comp.

People are using the wrong meter. It doesn't matter if there is 1 or 100 developers. When you say "I am putting a finished game on the market", it should be finished - at least playable - and if it isn't, you work until it is. I appreciate the idea behind indie gamers but this game's rollout and lack of updates since (and the blog where he states he refuses to work overtime to fix the game he put out) have really killed a lot of players enjoyment (as noted by Banished Mod's forum). I'm not saying he should work 18 hour days for new content, but complaining about being busy when people are shelling out $20 a pop for a broken game (or a partly working one) and a lot of excuses on why the dev doesn't/shouldn't have to work on the game really, truly do make the rest of the indie market look awful. Other indie titles that are so simplistic in graphics, music and gameplay overall don't have nearly this much trouble - regardless of size of the operation. I actually have purchased indie games before completion like Godus - it's taking a very, very, very long time for that game but they never pretended it was finished and they quickly fixed bugs that made the game unstable. It started with one man but grew to a handful based on that support and now they have a team. You can make a choice in fixing the bugs yourself, hiring a few extra (even temp work but I'd be willing to bet there are fans who would help for free) or take the heat and risk realizing your game is a flareup, gone within a year and a bad reputation to follow you.

The achievements are a joke. Once you figure out how to survive to year 30, you can do them all. It took no different effort for the "harsh, small mountain" achievement than it did for any other achievement. Can't use farms, orchards or pastures? Mine like crazy and sell the tools to traders for food to supplement. Can't use traders? Cool, set up a ridiculous amount of farms.

It isn't just that there is nothing to do in the middle. I don't really mind that so much honestly. What I do mind is the aptly endearing term from fans called the death walk. Pathing issues that should never have been released with the game. That's not just easily reproducible, it's every time.

With time comes experience. While getting bugs fixed has taken months and the dev not open to hiring others or working on the game, there will be no updates to the mechanics of the game so what you see is what you get. Those types of games however are usually priced $3-10 USD making the cost of Banished that much more laughable. To have no plans in the can for any game updates on release - I don't see this game lasting more than another 8-9 months of the fandom. Some are already getting fed up with the excuses. A few others are holding out with the "one man show" excuse but it will only buy him so much time - especially since the game was bugged on release.


Thanks so much for your post, Seola. I'm sorry to hear the post-release support is disappointing. It seems like there could have been a solid foundation here for the model of a game as an ongoing development, a la releases like Don't Starve or Minecraft. Too bad that doesn't seem to be the case.


I believe Tom Chick has the wrong approach to the game to be honest, i have played it, and i gotta say it serves pretty well the purpose. Banished wasn't made to be easy, it was made to make your brain work and probably think a little behind common sense to a certain extent. I agree that one or two patches should be made to correct some little flaws though. But lack of information on the game? that's precisely the point, our ancestors (let's say, the caveman? :) ) didn't had any "information" of how to do stuff, they had to follow their instinct and try, hunt, gather, trial and fail, that's how things are supposed to work in banished, and hopefully, how people will enjoy it, just like i do.

On my humble opinion, misguided review. Banished deserves better credit.


"Meaningful" - as in the opposite to vocalizing your feelings about video games and movies and calling it a living?


This review might as well have been about how it was to start out for real in the New World. I think I'll buy Banished after all


As someone who hates the kinds of city builders that this reviewer likes, because the tutorials kill your attention with a bazillion things to keep care of, and make everything more complicated than it has to be, and then missions you need to do, or you lose your game, and then being forced to build things in a way you don’t want to… I like banished. you can take as long as you want to do what you want. it takes your brains to figure out the best way to do what. which is all the challenge i need. if i want to turn the speed down and watch my crops grow, i can. if i want to watch a group of deer, i can. i can build as i like. i can take care of my people. i can mod my game, or play vanilla. It’s not stressful to play. It’s relaxing. It’s soothing, and you can make the game as complicated or simple as you like, via mods. Mabey take your time and explore the game. really go over your map and have a look at it, make future plans. really go over the mods you have and see if they will mesh well with other mods. Honestly, just try. if you fail a few times, you can go play the tutorial for the basics of the game, and what each building does. it’s fun, non-stressful, and a game that you can play mindlessly if you want to.