Driftland: The Magic Revival is a beautiful RTS game where you grab nearby floating islands and move them toward your capital, so you would have more land and territory to build your kingdom. You will need to balance your economy and military by making sure that you have enough food and resources for your kingdom to grow. A large population will need more food production, and a large army means higher unit upkeep. Beware of enemy factions while they claim those floating islands as well!
Each island has a building cap depending on its size. Thus you will need to fish and pull for more islands. Once the island is in range, you will need to build a bridge for connection. However, the further the island is from your castle, the higher is its daily upkeep as well. Upkeep reduces your gold treasury and is due from your units and structures. Housing should take priority on your layout, and then carefully decide what to allot for each island; for example building farms (or fisheries) only for a specific island since nothing else is present. Driftland takes a bit of time to learn managing the economy, but expect to learn the ropes after a couple of sessions only. I mean, once there is a steady supply of food, you can then focus on expansion (literally everything else).
|Players will need to play on the sliders to find that optimal economic efficiency.|
|There’s wood in this island. Let’s build a fishery instead.|
Driftland is a slow RTS and commanding takes an inspiration from Majesty, where you would place a marker instead to rally interested units; however Nomads is a game mode now where you can give commands directly to each unit. Everything else, you will need to place markers to a location, then increase the pay of the marker so more units would be interested. Jobs include exploring, salvaging a relic, or raiding a hostile island. But actions that you do have direct control would be the wide array of spells at your disposal. For example, “Arcane Current” is a player spell where you can move a nearby floating island near toward your territory. Or you can smite enemies with your lighting.
There are four factions to choose from: Humans, Dwarves, Wild Elves, and Dark Elves. Each faction has its own unique feature, but nothing significantly advantageous over the other. I’ve used the Dark Elves often since they have a stronger military unit. Units can be organized via parties as well, where the highest leveled unit heads as the leader (to be precise, units can organize themselves as a party after placing a camp on the map). Despite being unable to give direct commands, units are responsive to protect the nearest structure that’s under attack or if a threat is detected.
There are a number of game modes to choose from including the relatively new single-player campaign mode. Driftland is a beautiful game to stare at thus it somehow fails to be an action packed RTS game. It’s too slow, and somehow imbalanced; once the enemy destroys your castle, it’s game over despite having a large sized kingdom. This was my problem to another game called Northgard. You will need to protect your castle from a rush. However, the inverse is you can rush the enemy castle too. Instead, I would play Driftland a few session at a time just for a change of scenery and treat it like a city-builder akin to Majesty. It is definitely NOT a fast paced, heart pumping, look-at-my-APM RTS game.
|It appears that everyone has allied to our cause — but the game isn’t finished yet.|
|Welp. That island is mine and Imma’ build a military station there whether you like it or not.|
Another problem I find on the game is its demand for hardware. I’m running the game on my 1070×2 machine and I’m hitting mid 40fps once I zoom in on the map. After snatching many islands and building numerous structures, those details would hamper the frames. Also, I find it a little frustrating how the detail of each unit is blobby up close. It reminds me of the blobby detail you find on the Ranger or Rebel unit in Command and Conquer Generals. If each unit was somehow detailed as much as how units are detailed up close in Warcraft III Reforged that would be kick-ass awesome. You can zoom in and then just stare at your subjects while they exercise their “free-will”.
|*Acshually* 40fps is unplayable! The draw distance is nice though.|
|Ah yes, I can feel the smiles on their faces even when they don’t have any eyes or mouths.|
In the end, if you are looking for a slow and steady kingdom builder and a fresh take to RTS, Driftland: The Magic Revival is for you. It took me only a couple of sessions to learn and play to victory. It’s an eye candy game and may hamper mid-tier machines. However, RTS-gamers leaning toward a competitive RTS game may need to look somewhere else.