If Frostpunk or Cities Skylines 2 wear you out, try Dawnfolk right now

I love a good city-building game, but I often get a bit overwhelmed with the sheer amount going on. People to please, resources to gather, politics to consider, sometimes even enemies to fight — the likes of Cities Skylines 2 and Frostpunk slowly take their toll. That’s why Dawnfolk feels like such a welcome alternative. It’s got a fantastic new demo, and it reminds me of the base building parts of superlative roguelike Loop Hero: dark but cozy.

In Dawnfolk, the darkness has set in, and it’s your job to illuminate the surrounding area and create a safe haven for your people. This city building game has a square grid structure and a pixelated aesthetic, making it quite a cozy experience. There are minimal music and animations, but the actual work of building the settlement is a little more involved than other titles in the genre thanks to the minigames on offer. If you want more food you can hunt in forests when deer appear, and you do a Space Invaders-style minigame where you shoot a bow and arrow at them as they run across the tile. The more you shoot, the more bonus food you get.

With more food you can build more tents to attract people who will provide your workforce. These are the bodies you’ll need to construct wheat fields, windmills, and other structures. The initial amount of space on offer is limited, but as each in-game day passes you earn light from your campfire. This can be used to illuminate neighboring tiles to uncover new types of land, such as sea and desert.

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As well as the minigames, there are also choices to be made. Once, after hunting, a bear wandered into my empty forest. I could choose to expend some of my workforce to kill it for food, or quietly escape and leave it be. This adds a nice touch that makes the Dawnfolk feel more involved, almost like a survival game. You can also fast forward a day to get more resources, meaning you’re never just sat waiting.

What I love most about the game though is how hands off the tutorializing is. It’s easy to pick up and get to grips with the basics, and the little fire character that teaches you everything regularly sits back to let you progress a few days before piping up again. There are also several modes you can play with varying difficulty levels, so if you want cozy or more hardcore, it’s got you covered.

If you want to give Dawnfolk a try for yourself, you can get the free demo on Steam, right here.

You could also try out some RTS games if you’d prefer a faster pace, or some other cool indie games.

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