By Vincent Haoson
Ikariam is a browser based game from Gameforge. The game revolves around you ruling over a town in one of the numerous islands that are found in the Mediterranean Sea. Your goal is to make yourself the most prosperous among its inhabits through warfare or trade.
Starting the Game
As you start your rule in Ikariam, you are given one town as your base of operations. This town is among the 16 villages that are found on the island you belong to. You have the capacity to rename your town to something that suits your taste.
Every island in Ikariam has two resources. The first one would be lumber. This is the default resource in every island in Ikariam. Lumber would serve as your most important resource as you begin the game. The other resource is the “special” resource that varies depending on the island that you belong to.
The special resources includes, wine, marble, crystal and sulfur. Each resource has its own specific use in your land. Wine is needed to make your people happy and make them more productive, marble is used for creating structures, while crystal is primarily needed for research and sulfur is basically needed for creation of units.
Ikariam hosts a number of units that are similar to other genres but there are quite a few units that are unique to Ikariam. First and foremost, Ikariam has both air and naval units. Unlike in most games where the units are all land-based, in Ikariam you can research and manufacture units such as the Gyrocopter, while also being able to create ships like the Mortar ship, Catapult ship and the Ram ship to name a few.
The amount of units you can manufacture increases the challenge on how to create suitable defenses that can stop both of these specialized units.
Another war feature of Ikariam is being able to blockade the supplies of an enemy town using your fleet. As long as the enemy is in a blockade whatever passes their borders will either be plundered or damaged by the ships.
Ikariam introduces a different gameplay that encourages players to think outside of the box. The unique units make Ikariam more interesting to play.
Wonders of Ikariam
As an addition to the uniqueness of Ikariam, the game also has wonders that work as an added bonus for those who are under their care.
Every island in Ikariam has a wonder that benefits everyone who is in the same island. The wonders are named after certain gods and that each wonder gives a specific bonus that would help out your town to prosper.
The wonders are as follows, Hephaistos Forge, Temple of Gaia, Garden of Dionysuis, Temple of Athena, Temple of Hermes, Temple of Posiedon and Colossus.
The bonuses vary from, adding an increase to your town’s defense to discount and faster manufacture of ships and even an added increase in mining capabilities of certain resources to your workers.
As you continue on playing the game you’d learn eventually how to get a hold of everything. When that time comes, you can then maximize your wonder and of whatever resource that you have on hand. It all depends on your cunning and on your strategy.
Ikariam is one of those browser games where any action done by you is tied to how much resources you have. Unlike in other browser games of the same genre where a your actions are restricted to how many action points you have, in Ikariam, you’d need to actually count if your resources are able to cope with the actions you are doing. May it be constructing a building, to warfare and even just plain day-to-day activities in your town are dictated by the amount of resources you can manufacture.
This is the most challenging aspect of the game. Though the question now is that if you are up to that challenge? Being able to balance the amount of resource you have to the expenses will be your primary responsibility. However, you would also have to pay attention to the happiness of your citizens or they’ll become unproductive and even cause you to lose those preciously needed gold.
The amount of micromanaging in Ikariam is both its strength and weakness. As some players wouldn’t want too much micromanaging to happen while others love the fact that you are given free rein on the details your town will have.
What I liked about the game is that the “specialty” and wood resource of your island is upgradable by those who are in it. This would entail inhabitants to work together for the common good, even if it is self-serving. This kind of setup encourages players to actually communicate and have talks with their fellow neighbors giving a boost to the community-creating spectrum of the game.
Another thing that’s unique in Ikariam is the ease players can create their colonies on other islands. Unlike in some games where creating a colony takes lots of resources, Ikariam allows players to create colonies at minimal resources, though of course the drawback of this is that the larger the number of colonies you have, the corruption rate per colony also increases, thus encouraging players to think carefully before setting up a colony elsewhere.
The one thing that Ikariam lacks is a tutorial that pops out immediately after you enter or have your own town to fully explain how things work out in the game. Unlike in other browser games where you are greeted by a clickable tutorial/quest NPC, in Ikariam you’d need to click the tutorial link that is found in the upper left hand corner of the page.
It is quite possible that the developers wanted things like this so that players can have the freedom of exploring the game in their own pace and in their own time without having the mentality that they are being forced to follow some preset course the developers want them to take.
In a nutshell, Ikariam is a browser game that needs requires players to have a lot of skill in managing resources on the beginning. The micromanagement of resources may or may not encourage you to play the game. It all depends on your preferred style of playing, though in the end that would eventually make you decide if you’d stick with this or move on to other browser games.
– Players are welcomed by easy-on-the-eye sprites
– Gods system makes the gameplay interesting
– Making colonies do not require huge amounts of resources
– The game’s tutorial menu doesn’t appear at the beginning leaving you to figure things out on the start
– A big aspect of the resources upgrades is based on a island’s inhabitance, the problem would be if you are the only one on the island
– Going to war requires a ton of resources