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Driftland: The Magic Revival

Driftland is a unique fusion of RTS, 4X strategy, and Sim genres in a fantasy world made up of scattered planet. Player takes on the role of a powerful mage-ruler capable of moving and reshaping parts of the planet. Both game mechanics and history are based on an innovative concept of dynamic topography and issuing orders to individuals with free will. In the face of the destruction of an entire civilization and life on the planet, warring parties decided to call a truce and tried to repair the damage. For that, however, was already too late. Using all the remaining magic resources to cast a powerful spell, they managed to keep their world in a relative balance. Many dark ages have passed, but when all seemed lost, a spark of hope shined once again: new sources of magic appeared and the whole planet began to give birth to new mages.
Promote for 50G

Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

I actually really like this, though keep in mind driftland is much more like... a city building game with a little bit of RTS on the side, than it is an RTS with some base building, and it's not the best at either of those things. It's more of a slow paced, relaxing game that's actually not bad at all as a casual RTS for when you're tired or if you just don't want something that demands extremely high actions per minute. Think closer to a 4X game with a more shallow tech tree and shorter games, than an RTS.
So the basic concept is, hey, magic blew up the world a few hundred years ago, and everything's just floating islands now. "Oops, our bad" say the mages. Whelp, new mages are now being born again, hey you can control the islands and pull them together, rebuild, and make a nation out of them, yay!
The gameplay is very heavily centered on the islands. Even at the very start of the game you can pull and move islands around, reposition them, and claim and build upon them. Later on, it's even fairly easy to poof new islands into existence at will, or to destroy ones that are in your way.
There are a looooot of different resources, but they're fairly straightforward, easy to keep track of in the UI, and once you can access a given resource once, you can never truly run out of it because of how the market system works. It's just more efficient to mine off an island is all, and you do still have to find that resource the first time before you can upgrade the market to buy it with other resources.
There are a lot of different buildings, upgrades for them, and things to spend people on. Getting too large in population is kind of a soft cap on growth, so you can't really just sit there and claim the entire planet sadly, and it may even penalize you to silly degrees if you try. For the missions and multiplayer though, by about the time you have a good economy and everything you need, you'll be just reaching about the optimal point of how many people you can sustain though so it works out fairly well most of the time.
Almost everything in driftland is carefully built so that the problems that arise only really show up outside of fairly normal play. If you start trying to get too big, play too long or stuff like that, yeah, it starts breaking the game, but if you try to finish a level or skirmish when you have the resources to do so, then it goes pretty well.
3 of the four races play almost identical to one another, except for dwarves who just do everything radically different from the others which is kinda awkward because it doesn't make much sense why the dwarves are so different from everyone else. It kinda feels like the dark elves and the wild elves are only half-finished given they're pretty close to the humans. Still not horrible, but the variety of factions really comes down to either human or dwarf play styles and that's about it. The other two may as well be humans with minor variations.
It caaaan be kinda crowded to build on your islands, and you can run out of space pretty quickly. It's not that hard to get new islands, though they can be pretty cramped at first too if you don't want to just destroy some of the resources that are on them. It's not thaaat big of a deal to just destroy a forest to build some housing, but if you hate wasting the wood, it can take awhile to clear stuff out to the point that there's building room. The game's pretty slow paced though, so this isn't a huge deal, but for players who are looking for something like starcraft levels of action, they're going to be frustrated and disappointed.
Overall, it's a nice game though. Go in expecting something like a more streamlined and faster form of sins of a solar empire than starcraft, and you'll probably enjoy it. Go in expecting a grand strategy or RTS game, and you'll probably be disappointed.
Also, it is PRETTY. AS. F..oh I can't say that in a review I don't think. But it's definitely pretty. The way buildings use water wheels which pour waterfalls off the side of islands, or watching an island burst into cracks and explode then get swallowed up into a hole after a spell is pretty sweet stuff.
Music's not bad, but nothing special. There's no real voice acting in the campaigns other than the introduction, and the campaigns are all fairly short though they do have different styles for each of the races which is kind of nice. Not exactly an in-depth storyline, though, which is well below par for an RTS, but significantly above normal for a 4X, so make of it what you will.
Overall, it's enjoyable, and a nice, relaxing game to do a sim-city thing with floating islands, then send some people on dragons to torch the enemy base and capture their land. It's a bit overwhelming at first, but once you get the hang of it, it's pretty simple and well put together in general.

Review from Steam

The game name you try to remembers is
NetStorm: Islands at War

Review from Steam

cheap, interesting, looks good
made by great guys from Poland
give it a try if you like Majesty series
greetings from Ukraine, brothers

Review from Steam

I like the concept of this game. It reminds me a lot of Majesty and a little bit of The Settlers with its chill vibe. The islands based economy is a novel idea. You can even blow up individual islands with everything on it. Take out a bridge in between and armies fall to their doom. Driftland's speed as a RTS is fairly laidback, so don't expect Command & Conquer rush gameplay going in. That's a good thing though, as now you can enjoy the pleasent experience more.
The big difference though is you can't directly order armies around. As a ruler you can only influence units with flags, like "attack" or "explore". The more gold attached to a flag, the bigger the incentive. Hence the Majesty reference. What Driftland lacks however is AI personalities. All units react the same way to flags and their daily life routines are the same too. So no cowardly thieves, no rangers that automatically scout the map and no paladins patroling the perimeter for evil. It's bland, but it works. The ruler spells are certainly decent. There's a fireball, a healing spell, a deepfreeze and more. There are variations between the races and these are more pronounced for the strongest spells. The UI mostly holds up to the task, although I didn't figure out how to easily "snap back" to a raiding encampment. Special mention goes to the music. Simply mesmerizing, especially when playing with the wild elves.
As for the Nomads content (at least the free part), I didn't like it as much as the base game. At first it sounds great to directly control your units, but compared to the RTS competition Driftland's gameplay feels less engaging. The UI also isn't build for quick selection and segmentation of specific unit types. My advise: get this game for the "Majesty" part, not the direct control RTS expansion/dlc. Way more fun and more unique.
To the developers: the foundation of Driftland is solid. Keep refining the formula, add AI personalities and you might end up with something really special.

Review from Steam

Yet another 'neutral' rating. I've leaned on the positive side as a heads up for the developer, but see below.
Driftland is a nice original RTS with quite novel mechanics. It shows a lot of promise, yet often fails to deliver.
Let's start with the good sides.
First, the active pause system works like charm. Basically, you can start any action while on pause, it drastically decreases the usual for RTSes time pressure.
The island positioning subsystem is probably the most important feature in the game, and it works, too. Forging an empire from fragments is fun, requires planning, and so on. There is a room for improvement (no flexible joints, no island rotating, no group movement...), but it is already good, and you might want to play the game for it alone.
Economy, while simplistic, generally works. Building upkeep in general, and particularly its dependence on distance from your capital island, facilitates meticulous planning, mana is another limiter on your expansion, the other resources has their functions, too (coal seems overabundant, though).
Magic is bare-bones, but covers all the necessities. Could be more diverse and/or faction-depending, of course, but acceptable as is.
Military operations are acceptable: nothing wonderful, but you get some variability in army composition and tactics. Moreover, there is a possibility of fighting with entire islands: basically, you set up a gate, a magic tower, several watchtowers, probably a camp, then send the island towards the opponent, with watchtowers being effectively an assault weapon (with human opponent, tug-of-war might ensue, but it can be countered via sending several 'flying fortresses', then connecting them with bridges...).
Tech advancement system is acceptable. Could be more deep, of course.
Graphics is decent: nothing special, but provides a nice view once in a while and never irritates (assuming that you've turned off 'active pause effect' and 'flare effect', these are annoying). They've put quite a lot of work there, it's a shame that you'll probably spend most of your time in a schematic 'strategic view'.
Soundtrack is nice, too.
The bad? Well...
Seeing indirect control, you might assume that the game is low on micromanagement. Wrong, you're getting a hell of it. The problem is: while you don't give the orders to your units directly, you can cancel them, with the unit immediately switching to a different objective. You can and should repeat it. There are some specific instances where this is strictly necessary: mount taming (generally speaking, you want your warrior types to mount dragons, rather than wizards or rangers, but the first unit to go after the mount is effectively a random free one) and skill picking (sometimes you just don't want a specific unit to pick a certain skill from a treasure on the map, and it will try to pick in once in a while).
Then there is another field of micromanagement: island positioning. See, there is no grid. That means that you position your islands by eye, according to their shape, with the system not always agreeing with you on where islands fit. Now, given the upkeep system, you want to fit as many islands as possible, as large as possible, adjacent to your capital island... preferably in the first attempt, as every island movement costs mana (and, if you try moving several islands at once, they'll just stop on collision). Some form of planning mode is clearly missing.
Then there is another one: there is no in-island grid, too. Good luck fitting all those dwarf factories, especially when mining/logging is still underway.
The game balance/faction design is questionable. Dwarves are powerhouse (even if a bit slow on early development), humans are generally good, dark elves are dependent on the map, and... wood elves seem like a clusterfuck: extremely expensive, in terms of tech, racial shtick and lackluster unit skills (especially their camp ability) are just disappointing.
AI is unstable. Sometimes it enacts quite a pressure, more often it just screws up everything.
Random map generation adds more instability: early development relies on random features (builder's bounties, lightly guarded chests, gold deposits, just islands themselves for non-dwarves) a lot, unfavorable map or just suboptimal opening sequence entails slow development.
Public multiplayer, as usual for indie games, is effectively dead.
Campaign plot is a cliche upon cliche upon cliche. Yes, it is THAT bad.
Overall: interesting, even if inconsistently executed, concept, delivering effectively unique experience with multiple awesome moments along with quite a bit of frustration. Recommended to those who seek something entirely different and don't mind some oversights and limited replayability.
Hopefully, the developers learn from their mistakes and will eventually release a sequel, most components of greatness are already their, it's mostly refinement that's needed.

Review from Steam

So it's like Majesty 2. But also not.
The comparison can't be ignored even though there are plenty differences.
Where they are the same.
You place buildings. They gather resources or you can recruit units with them. You passively control units by setting different flags as waypoints to nudge what you want them to do; attacking, exploring and there are some personal spells that are also waypoints for units to perform an action.
From your core building you keep expanding over the map. Upgrading buildings and units. Providing them better spells in Driftland instead of equipment in Majesty.
Where they are different.
In Driftland you have more personal spells and they are also more important.
Instead of just gold there is also a full economy with different resources. I do have to say that there are more resources than the gameplay actually requires so don't go in thinking it's a sim/city builder. You have to setup an economy for food and money but the other resources are more about unlocking a progression path in each game instead of having to set up a constant supply for them.
The campaign gameplay is also very different. Majesty 2 is more about "quick" maps and the main focus is fighting your way through everything. Driftland is slower also being about exploration.
Majesty 2 the story is also just a joke and self-deprication of the generic storylines while Driftland tries to have that more real and serious story. It's not really the focus of the game and it's a pretty standard story arc. Either way has advantages and disadvantages.
If you like Majesty 2, you will probably like Driftland. But it plays slower; it has more depth which is sometimes good and sometimes bad. The early progression is kind of slow in each game so by the time you meet opponents, you are most often already no match for them anymore.
A negative of the game is the finish of the player interaction.
On a placed flag you can increase the bounty by higher amounts with holding shift but I haven't found a way to set default prices when placing many flags at once.
The hotkey department is also kind of "bad". In the options there are hotkeys for the camera movement. The player can also set shortcuts for placing new buildings but there are none by default. And for example you are going to do tons and tons of very annoying clicking to keep upgrading buildings until maybe you are so tired of it that you search a solution and it's that you can right click a building. Not intuitive at all.

Review from Steam

Driftland: The Magic Revival is an enjoyable addition to the 4X RTS genre. Although, it doesn't radically change the underlying mechanics of 4X. It's theme of a magic-shattered floating world is a pleasant experience, especially with the amount of variety and detail devoted to the player buildings and native structures that dot the map.
Do note that actual unit control is more akin to a game like Majesty. Where your recruited heroes are incentivized by priority flags (e.g. Attack this island, Explore here, etc.), which can have their urgency raised by upping the gold reward. But you cannot micro-manage your units.
One of the stand out features was the UI design. While it may be initially overwhelming, as 4X games tend to have varying degrees of "spreadsheet management", the economic representation is greatly streamlined and simplified. Although, this may be a turn off for those who prefer a more numbers-heavy experience.
Admittedly, Driftlands as a whole is rather simplified (e.g. 3 out of the 4 races play similarly with minor difference between them) but it does mean that someone can easily pick it up to scratch that 4X RTS itch.
Additionally, it is worth mentioning that the game includes an Editor feature, which allows you to craft and share your own custom maps. The feature is rather detailed and you'll soon realise the numerous unique assets available for customisation. The added replayability is a definite boon to the world of Driftlands!