Block based worlds where you craft tools, shepherd block-y animals, and mine multi-colored rocks is not new.
Managing a group of survivors exiled from their homeland, forced to survive off the resources of the land, they must rebuild their town and survive the harsh elements; that’s not new either.
The Kindred is a charming block world game where you manage a small group of characters, referred to as kin. Craft tools, machines, equipment, furniture, and shelters for your new village. Guide them as they tame the land and discover its numerous minerals, vegetation, and animals. It is an amalgamation of other well known games, and together it does feel new.
As with most crafting games, mining for ores to produce the right tools or equipment is a logical requirement. In addition to the usual (Iron, Gold, Copper, Sand, Dirt) type of blocks, there’s a considerable amounts of other minerals in The Kindred. Bauxite? It’s in here. I mean … bauxite. Are you playing a video game or a digitized version of My Rockin’ Geology Collection Kit? Don’t get me wrong, the more variety the better. The same can be said for the amount of vegetables and fruits that can be grown: peas, chamomile, corn, catnip, lettuce, trees, and more.
The reason for so much variety is evident when you view the crafting options, there’s a lot to cook/build/create. There’s some usual fare items available for crafting. Multicolored panels for constructing homes and shelters. Fencing options. Beds for your kin. Various tools for farming and harvesting. Kilns for smelting iron into steel. Once you have the basics built, there are fancier items to create. Wind turbines for power, capacitors for storing up power, and of course copper wires for distributing said electricity around. There’s heavy machinery like concrete mixers, food processors, and heavy furnaces. In other words, players will be able to progress from simple stone age harvesting to modern era towns.
How complex will The Kindred allow players to become with their villages? Even in these beta stages the possibilities seem great. There appears to be a lot of things in place that do not function, yet. For example, there is a quick view of the number of kin at your disposal, power generated, and food produced/consumed on the top right. There are all kinds of food recipes for your kins, from steak dinners to pancakes with syrups. Some of these food recipes require some of the higher end machinery to produce. Multicolored walls, beds, topiaries, and a few styles of streetlights are available. Create a single giant home, or a village, the sky is literally the limit.
While being a block based game, The Kindred is no slouch in the visual department. Water has a nice shimmer and wave effect. World objects cast variable shadows as the day and night cycles pass by. Each kin has their own unique look, and telling them apart is not difficult. There’s a vibrant living feeling when playing this game, like watching your own mini terrarium. Everything is textured with detail, to make each block and object quick and easy to differentiate.
My time with The Kindred felt like reading the first few chapters of a good upcoming book. I want (and need) to see how it ends. There are a lot of glimpses at potential but much is not in place. How deep will the management aspects be? This is one aspect I’m most interested to see develop. The plans are to include a full kin family system, (make more kin = more workers = faster resource accumulation). Challenges to your kin will include predators, starvation, and health issues. My hope is that the extensive food recipe system already in play affects kins mood, health, and recovery to the challenges they will face. This would give players the goal of searching or growing specific items needed for a goal. For example, if a village needs a certain plant to create medicines, they will need to enter this area of the map infested by wolves, which means they will need a supply of defenses. Once that is established a plan of attack can be made and the village mobilized.
The level of challenges will certainly provide flavor and character to The Kindred. Even with their absence at the moment, and a few kinks in the building system, it is clear that this title has considerable potential to enrapture both casual and dedicated gamers for hours. Developer Persistent studios plans on adding more machinery, power related items, and farming options to the game. In the coming months there will be unique biomes to explore along with the potential hazards they will bring. Another enticing option is multiplayer for a game of this type, and it is included. Getting in on the ground floor of this Early Access project, and leaving developer feedback will be key to shaping this game to its fullest. One that I believe Minecraft and Banished fans might want to get in on.