Patron from Overseer Games looks like a fairly standard medieval city-building game. Being touted as a “Survival City Builder” there’s clearly a much deeper aspect to the game that players are to be enticed by. We got the opportunity to give this title a go and could delve a little bit deeper into what exactly is on offer here. So should you pick up Patron or is this a city-builder that will disappoint you? Let’s get into it shall we!
First up players will choose a name for their brand new city. Directly after this, Patron will ask you to select from a range of maps to play. Each map has its own special perks such as increased ore richness or vastly different weather. We’ll get into the weather aspects later. Once you’ve selected your map, you can immediately start building your city. Patron’s tutorial is fairly straightforward with the game explaining the basics through a series of helpful pop-ups.
Players will first learn how to clear land from trees by selecting the area they want their villagers to clear. Once this is selected, the villages will get to chopping away at trees or mining ore that’s left on the ground. Players will then learn that shelter is necessary for their villagers to live in. This obviously makes sense. You wouldn’t want your town folk to remain homeless in the wilderness now would you?
After learning about some basic housing requirements, players will place either rudimentary tents or choose to build actual houses for their villagers. Once this is done, Patron starts to slowly introduce players to the resource gathering aspects of the game. Once you have housing, your villagers will require food and other resources. Players will have to build a series of buildings which each satisfy a particular resource requirement. These can range from wood to herbs, fish, eggs, coal, iron and a whole heck of a lot more. There’s plenty of resources to gather and eventually trade in Patron and the slow grind to unlocking these starts off pretty early in the game.
In the town we built, we had the opportunity to place a fisherman’s hut right next to our village and this, once fully staffed and upgraded, provided the bulk of our food requirements. With that sorted out, we set forth into satisfying some of the other requirements the villagers had. Putting up a sawmill, storage depots and mines were fairly straightforward as was learning how to build roads between buildings. Patron’s difficulty however, slowly ramped up while doing all of this.
Villagers would want specific things to increase their happiness rating or else they would threaten to leave. If villagers left, there would be a worker shortage and the effects would be detrimental to the entire city we were building. Coupling this with the game’s random event mechanics makes Patron slightly challenging if you’re caught off guard. The random event mechanic involves a message showing up with a choice of actions to take. For example, an Eclipse happened and the villagers reacted quite superstitiously toward this. The game offered up two choices on how to deal with the above. Each choice leads to different outcomes to specific stats which apply to the entire city. This happens rather frequently throughout the game and some of these random events can have a massive effect on your city.
Patron also features a research tech tree. This is the key aspect of the game which drives it forward. There aren’t many objectives in the game and there’s a lot of freedom to simply just build and do what you want. The research tech tree however gives you a goal to work towards. If you want to progress your city and gain access to new buildings, social policies and technology, you will have to actively use the research tree and pay in the required resources to acquire the research option selected. This is fairly straightforward and the earlier research options do not take too long to get done. However, later on in the game, the requirements get ramped up quite drastically and you’ll have to really start diverting workers and resources elsewhere just to get your research done.
Gamers who prefer games with a chilled out vibe will find Patron great since while there are the resource management aspects to consider, the game itself is extremely relaxing to play. With a little bit of micromanagement and some clever planning, players will be able to efficiently set up their town systems to keep things running smoothly until something bad happens via a random event.
Weather in Patron can be considered to be detrimental to your plans since if snow rolls in, villagers will require heating to prevent them from getting too cold. This means that you’ll need to upgrade your buildings to provide cold protection which requires more resources. There’s also rain and seasons to contend with which affects what types of crops you can grow and how much yield you’ll obtain.
Patron can therefore be summed up as having an intricate web of complex systems and mechanics which is neatly tied together in a fairly accessible package. Players might feel a bit overwhelmed if they dive straight into it and skip every tutorial tip. If however you take your time getting to grips with the game’s mechanics and slowly explore the resource and research options while building up your city, you’ll find that Patron is a game you can easily sink hours into. The only major gripe to be had with the game is the fact that it takes way too long to really get into the mid or late game and you will spend quite a lot of time waiting around for resources to gather despite the fact that you are able to fast-forward time and increase the game’s speed.
The graphics of Patron are visually pleasing while not exactly mind-blowingly gorgeous. The buildings, weather effects and environments do look great though and players will enjoy the extensive zoom feature. You can zoom all the way to ground level as well as extremely far out which is perfect for a game like this that involves a lot of micromanagement and planning. The villager animations are also good to see with their day to day actions such as chopping wood and carrying items around the city, or building new structures being well done.
The soundtrack of Patron features plenty of rather chilled music from Nikola “Nikita” Jeremić with the main theme especially being quite catchy. There’s a very distinct Celtic vibe to the OST and it’s extremely enjoyable to listen to while building your city up. Kudos to the developers for including such a great soundtrack here.
Overall, Patron is an easy-going city-builder with a lot of micro-management with regards to resources and its research tech tree. Players are not exactly going to get an extremely challenging game but they will find one which has a remarkably compelling relaxing vibe. If you’re a fan of chilled, city-building games where you can micro-manage a lot of systems to your liking, Patron is for you. Some of the gameplay mechanics are slightly rough around the edges and need some smoothing out but given the fact that the developers are still actively working on and updating the game, Patron gets a recommendation from us. Thankfully, there’s a demo available on Steam so gamers can give it a try for themselves and see if it’s to their liking or not.
A review code for Patron was provided to Gameblur by the publisher.
Gameplay8/10 Very Good
Visuals8/10 Very Good
- Visually pleasing graphics
- Easy-going chilled gameplay vibe
- Great soundtrack
- Barely any story or objectives apart from acquiring new research
- Rough around the edges gameplay mechanics
- Lots of waiting around for resources to gather or research to complete