Town building is one of my favourite genres. Nothing beats taming the dangerous wilderness, building a thriving townstead, delving into the great unknown, and seeing it all burn down. Sort of like a mandala but instead of sand, it’s people and their possessions.

The latest town builder in my line-up is Odd Realm by Unknown Origin. Set in a procedurally generated fantasy world, Odd Realm tasks you with the usual fare of picking a part of the world to settle in and building your burgeoning town from there. And while still in early access, there’s already a full game on display here.

Odd Realm’s top down perspective and low-bit graphics may not be the most immediately appealing but after ten minutes or so, it starts to grow on you. The simplicity of it makes it easy to tell what most things are (and what isn’t is clarified by tooltip) and settlers are emotive in all of their actions. Almost like Lemmings, the settlers make exaggerated climbing motions to move up and down levels on the Z-axis, and make huge animated swings with their pick, axe, and hammer. Most importantly though, they interact with one another by choosing companions and having children. They have needs like food and shelter and can be trained into different roles and equipped with different items. All of which makes me give a damn about them which is vital for getting invested.

Navigating the map is intuitive with the usual WASD camera controls and the scroll wheel controlling the Z-axis. You can also zoom in with buttons on the toolbar which allows you to see anywhere between the whole map and a single room. Useful for making those tight Dwarf Fortress-esque corridors in your mountain fortress.

Again, even in early access, Odd Realm has all the functionality I would expect from most full games. From the get-go, one of the settlers talks to you as your tutorial giver and explains the basics of the game. And once you understand the basics, the logic is easy to follow. Designate an area as the type of room you want it to be and put the right stuff in it and someone will go and work in it if they have that job type. Building structures is the only part I’ve had issue with so far. Walls, items, floors, doors, and all of that are fine but for some reason the roofing doesn’t count. Perhaps I’m missing something, or I’m making buildings too big but I think it’s more likely there’s some logic I’m missing here.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to play too far into the game as a game breaking bug kept setting me back but I’m sure the developer will fix it quickly. A damn shame as it means I wasn’t able to see how combat worked which, with rival nations, bandits, old gods, and forgotten tombs seems to be a large part of the game.

From what I’ve played Odd Realm is definitely worth supporting if you’re a fan of town building games/ god sims. I’m excited to see what the full release will look like!

Edit: There is a Odd Realms wiki with tutorials on it, including how to build roofs:
https://oddrealm.fandom.com/wiki/Basic_Building/Room_Tutorial

Edit: Unknown Origin have responded to the bug and are looking into it.