Economic Conquest Early Access Review
Show Me the Money!
I’m just going to get this out of the way: I hate resource management games, but this one is a bonkers good time.
Economic Conquest is a light RTS that gives nods to games like Age of Empires and Civilization. The main focus of EC is that the growth and expansion of your country are done through business and commodity trading rather than military campaigns or diplomatic treaties.
This game is a delight from the start. The graphics are bright, colorful and just cartoonish enough to be charming, and the music is light and upbeat. The tutorial is rather lengthy, but it is broken up into three main sections, preventing players from being overwhelmed by too much information at once and giving a real sense of accomplishment. Menus and text boxes are big, but not intrusive, with plain, easy-to-read text. All of the important bits are clearly marked with bright blue icons.
layers have six areas of trade to work with (oil, lumber, metal, gold, stone and food), and the map is divided into 15 different regions. Each region has different perks which allow you to gain more from certain goods. For instance, the Deutchgarde region has standing timber and an iron mine. These will give players an up to 25% income bonus from those resources. As you build factories, mines and farms, you earn Investment Rating points (IR) which allow you to annex more land and further upgrade your economy.
Players also earn IR by raising the region’s Influence. When the region is selected, a menu pops up, prompting to either give money to charity or to bribe officials. Charity costs more, initially, but has a 100% success rate. Bribery costs less, but the success rate drops with each use. If players are caught bribing officials, 10 IR points are lost as well as a substantial amount of income.
Once players get a feel for the mechanics, the game lets you play against an AI opponent for control of the map and resources. This section also introduces the World Event feed. These are events which affect commodity prices, forcing you to adapt your strategy. If a drought dives up food prices, you get more money from farms. But if new building materials are developed, stone and lumber prices fall.
There is a Mutiny mechanic where players can pay to lower the Influence of a rival region. When the rival’s Influence is low enough, players can opt to do a Forced Buyout, annexing that region and gaining control of all commodities and income. I can’t wait to see how this will play out when online multiplayer goes live. It would be a lot of fun to play with 2 or 3 friends for an hour or so.
“a bonkers good time”
Economic Conquest is still in early access, but it feels solid and very polished. It’s a fun little game you can play whenever you have free time, and doesn’t guilt you for not dumping 30 to 40 hours into like Civilization. It also doesn’t punish players for playing on lower difficulties; EC doesn’t take itself too seriously, and let’s itself be an enjoyable game for the sake of being enjoyable. All in all, it is definitely worth a look.
Worth Your Money: Now
[A copy of the game was provided by the developer or publisher for the purpose of this review.]