A good idea nearly broken by poor programming, but...something keeps me coming back for more.

User Rating: 6 | The Settlers DS
The Good:
The tried-and-true Settlers town management formula is in here in all its glory.

The Bad:
Very clunky controlling, slowwww play when the town gets big, and a few serious glitches nearly ruin the experience (notice I said "nearly"...)


Boy, is this ever a tough one to review. You've seen high ratings, you've seen low ones, and everything in between; heck, just look at the pie chart up above. About as many people thought the game was superb, as those who thought it was awful. Why, you might ask?
Well, the game itself is fun in terms of the idea being conveyed. Town building and developing requires you figure out the chain of needs and then build the appropriate structures to get there. For example: you want bread? Well, you need a woodcutter to chop wood for you to build structures, a grain farm to grow the grain, a mill to turn it into flour, and a baker with access to a water supply to finally bake it. This sort of management sim can be a great deal of fun, since you aren't usually involved in any micromanagement of your little folks. You tell them what to build, they build it then try to use it. Defending your settlement is as simple as building a few outposts, and making sure the soldiers who start showing up are plied with beer from your brewer.

If that sounded like a blast, exactly your cup of tea, then you might be able to squeeze some enjoyment out of this game. The problem is, the developers worked very hard to make sure it plays as awkwardly as possible, from misreading the touch screen, to ensuring you will freeze the game whenever you save then zoom in or out (although with the sounds and music set to be turned off, this problem disappears). The slow gameplay gets painfully slow when your town gets larger, even when you use the speed-up option. So, the game involves an awful lot of waiting around for stuff you have ordered to be built getting built.

The funny thing is, the game sort of keeps you coming back for more. I played for about an hour, hated every minute of it, and put the game away in disgust. A day later, I was back at it again, though....and the day after that...
The excellent premise of Settlers is very much alive in this game, and keeps drawing you back, despite the horrid programming.

So, if you have the patience of Solomon, and really love the Settlers formula for empire building, this game has a lot to offer, with two large campaigns stuffed into the teeny weeny cartridge, including the 'world domination' mode. If you can't overlook these issues, or don't enjoy slow, deliberate gameplay, then you should probably save your cash (or maybe buy the PC version).