Monday, December 11, 2023

Game Review: Rise of Cultures

 By Bixyl Shuftan

I haven't done any game reviews in a while, partially because I haven't spent as much time playing games as I used to. But I do play a little. One I've been playing is "Rise of Cultures."

Rise of Cultures is a browser/mobile app game from Innogames, who also made Forge of Empires. The game has much the same aspect as Forge, a history-themed city builder, and plays much the same. But it does look a little different, and will appeal more to some players. 

You start off in charge of a tribe of stone-age folk. You help them develop the start of their settlement, and with a little guidance from a couple advisors continue to help the place grow in size, technology, and culture. Research points, which slowly accumulate naturally over time, can be used to develop technologies. There are also quests to take care of, which both encourage you to progress and some are needed to advance. Many involve your two city advisors who give you objectives to accomplish. Others are challenges by enemies and allies. 

There are occasional random happenings on the city map. This may include fruit to collect, a broken-down cart to repair in exchange for some gold, dealing with a wild boar guarding a treasure, and more. Sending workers to deal with the happening takes a few minutes, but will get you rewards in the form of food, gold, and occasionally crystals (more on those later).

Technologies help you in some way, such as unlocking certain buildings, improvements of them, or allowing you to build more of something.  The first ones are simple, such as tribal settlement, cultivation, firemaker, and the wheel, and cost just a few research points and maybe a few coins and food. Further up the tech tree, technologies will cost more. Eventually, they'll start to cost some goods as well.

Your first building is the Great Hall, which later on becomes the City Hall. After the first couple technologies, you'll be able to build small homes for workers. Later on, you'll develop the ability to build medium houses which house two workers. You'll soon be able to build farms, which come in two sizes, the larger ones taking more time to grow food but when they do produce a lot more of it. You'll also soon be able to make military barracks buildings. The first ones are for regular infantry, but later you'll be able to build more kinds. Ranged units can fire and hit units a distance away. Calvary can charge and bypass light infantry. Starting in the Bronze Age, you can build goods buildings for some materials you will need. You can also build some small cultural sites, which help cheer up people in nearby homes and workshops, resulting in more gold revenue and more productivity.

Military units are used to gain control of enemy areas on the strategic map in campaigns. For the first few places of the Stone Age, you'll fight only animals. But as you go on, you'll end up fighting bands of cavemen. And once you finally beat their leader, the campaign is over and new areas open to explore and start another. As the campaigns go on, the enemies become more advanced. In battles, you can enlist the help of up to three military leaders to help you in your battle. Some are mercenary leaders of which you get tokens to enlist the help of for one battle. Rewards for conquering territory can include food, gold, and occasionally city expansions which you can use to grow the size of your city. Sometimes after you beat a leader he or she joins your forces as a new leader. 

Staring in the Bronze Age, players can also build world wonders. Upon unlocking this feature, you get one for free: Stonehenge. To get more, you need blueprints. Go get those, you need gears, which you get from Treasure Hunts, solving city events, completing quests, and special event rewards. With 200 gears, you can make an orb. Opening one gives you a chance at a blueprint, or resources for improving wonders. If you don't get a blueprint after opening nine orbs, you get one on the tenth. Wonders provide benefits from extra gold and research points, bonuses in trades, extra rewards when doing the Treasure Hunt, extra military units, and others. Wonders can also be improved, which takes research points, food, gold, and usually resources. You can have up to four wonders active. Any more, and you'll have to pick and chose which work best for you while the others are inactive.
Also starting in the Bronze Age, players can join an Alliance. Joining one has benefits. You have access to the Alliance City, in which once a day you get some extra goods. Members of the Alliance can work together to improve the city. You can also do the Treasure Hunt. At each step of the way, there's a group of pirates. You can either negotiate with them or fight them. Negotiations have three tries and take amounts of resources, which increase further along the hunt. Fighting will take military units. Once you beat the last group of pirates, the team has to work to make the next level available.

Progressing will take you to difference eras, the Bronze Age being the first, "It's good to get out of those animal hides!" After the Bronze Age comes the Minoan Era, then Classical Greece, then the Roman Republic, then the Roman Empire. Following the Antiquity eras comes the Byzantine Era, then the Age of the Franks, then the Feudal Era, then the Iberian Era, then the Kingdom of Sicily.

As time goes on, there will be special events. For instance the October special event involved Count Dracula/Vlad Tepes. The reward for doing his quests was a choice of a Mad Scientist's Lab, or "Crypt of The Count" that you could place in your city for bonus resources once a day. In the Christmas event, the city is blanketed with snow.

And then there's that the city map isn't static, but animated. Buildings shake a little when updated. And then there's the people. They walk the streets, they work at workshops. They carry things from one place to another. They go back and forth  to and from areas where events happen. They play music and sit & chat. And more. What they're wearing is determined by the era.
For those who like city-building or history themed games, "Rise of Cultures" is certainly worth a look.
You can find the game at

For the wiki, check out
Bixyl Shuftan