In case you’re not familiar with Skyward Collapse, you’ll want to take a look at our review– it’s a wonderful god game with neat mechanics. Arcen Games has released an expansion pack for it called Nihon no Mura that introduces a new faction- the Japanese- and with them new gods, features, and another gameplay mode.
To start with, the visuals of NNM are uniquely Japanese, but still manage to fit the overall aesthetic and feel of Skyward Collapse– it’s clear that somebody put a lot of love into each and every sprite. Besides new units and gods, there are also new buildings, and they all sport the dramatically curved eaves we all know and love- the cherry blossom trees that appear near some buildings are a nice touch as well. The presentation of NNM is good as well, though I was a bit annoyed by the fact that there’s no easy way to see your culture points- you have to hold your mouse over an item or ability that requires them- not game-ruining, but a touch that would improve things and streamline the pace of a rather slow-paced game.
From what I’ve read, NNM adds extra music to Skyward Collapse– while I’m honestly not sure if I’ve heard the new songs or not (I probably overlooked it while playing the new Hamlet Idyll mode), the game still sounds excellent. Pablo Vega’s songs give the game a rich, organic feel, and it contributes to the overall aesthetic of the game.
As far as gameplay goes, Nihon no Mura adds some very interesting features to Skyward Collapse. The first thing you’ll probably notice are hamlets- they’re a special kind of building that can be constructed atop ruins. Their purpose is to raise culture points- by collecting enough of these, it’s possible to have a cultural victory. The hamlets are interestingly implemented- you can’t choose which ones you’ll have the option to place (NNM picks them randomly), but you have to be careful when you place them- slums and mansions both raise culture, but putting them next to one another is a good way to lose points. I particularly appreciate the hamlets because they add an extra layer of depth to an already complex game without convoluting it.
Gameplay for the Japanese is different as well; instead of god tokens, the Japanese have creatures- in case you haven’t played the original, god tokens are items that a civilization’s gods will pick up and in some way change gameplay. For the Japanese, these creatures do wildly different things than the god tokens ordinarily would- it’s a nice change of pace, and it definitely kept me on my toes when I played. The addition of culture points also mixes things up plenty- it’s possible to have a “cultural victory”- a win accomplished by building the Luminith Tower. Of course, there’s the constant temptation to use culture points for other handy things, such as turning back the game’s turn-count without reversing progress.
For once, I’m at a loss for words as to things I disliked; NNM is pretty perfect in the way it both adds to the gameplay of Skyward Collapse and makes a good game better. I suppose the thing I have most closely resembling a complaint is that no matter what I do, I’m constantly coming up short of stone; I’m not sure if I’m just a terrible player, or this is a minor balance issue in Skyward Collapse– it’s a bit of an annoyance, but not a big deal.
Overall, Nihon no Mura is an excellent addition to Skyward Collapse, adding depth, a new gameplay mode, and generally improving the game- if you own Skyward Collapse, it’s definitely a piece of DLC worth picking up. If you’re still on the fence about picking up Skyward Collapse, check out our review. We’re also giving away a couple copies of Skyward Collapse– check out our giveaway!Be sure to follow @ArcenGames on Twitter for more about their games, and follow @Jourdan_Cameron for more gaming news, previews, interviews and other views.