Aztec Tribe from Merry Pen Games is a casual combination of Farm Frenzy and Build-a-lot. Between building and upgrading gardens, mines and houses and managing a slew of resources, you'll help an adventuresome tribe establish a new home in a faraway land. It's a rewarding and relaxing game that delivers extra challenge only when you want it.
Many years ago, a peaceful tribe of natives lived in the mountains. Enemies surrounded their village on all sides, forcing them to scout out and find a new home. Soon their scouts discovered a fertile valley, a land waiting to be their new home. It's your job to help the Aztecs settle this foreign land by building settlements one by one. With each plot of land you shape, more buildings and upgrades become available, allowing you to create a thriving civilization that's both efficient and luxurious!
Everything in Aztec Tribe is centered around resources, whether they be physical items such as food, gold and wood or allocating workers where they're needed most. Early stages begin with the same pattern: set-up a wigwam, the central hub where workers stay, then build a garden to produce food, a mine to create gold, a sawmill to chop wood, etc. Resources are created at these buildings but must be manually gathered to go into your queue, giving your cursor something to do while you wait for things to happen. Later you'll be able to create units that gather resources on their own.
Buildings can be upgraded (provided you have the resources) by clicking on the star icon in the menu screen. Each building must also have a worker present before it can operate, another task accomplished using the menu. It's ok to leave houses empty, but mills, farms and mines need someone to keep them running.
One of the more interesting aspects of Aztec Tribe is the option to play "just to win" or play to master the game. Each level has a set of goals you must meet in order to progress. Once you finish those, you're given the option to move on to the next level or to continue and work for a silver medal. Choose the latter and new, more difficult goals will appear. Once those are finished you can even choose to earn a gold ranking!
Analysis: Aztec Tribe presents a unique mixture of player choices and player boundaries. Each building you construct must be placed in one of the set locations, restricting how many of each you can have on the level. This prevents you from becoming a super resource tycoon, but it also encourages you to branch out and use a variety of buildings. The goals in each level leave little room for creativity, but fortunately there's also little room for failure.
Aztec Tribe isn't a difficult game, as there are very few opportunities for failure. Everything goes pretty much as you would like it to with almost no interruption. It also takes an hour or so before the real game kicks in, making this one a slow-starter. Don't rush into Aztec Tribe expecting a mega management game of challenge. Instead, step in and be ready for a pleasant simulation where you can whack turkeys with sticks and gather resources with your cursor.
With around three dozen levels, Aztec Tribe is a good length for this kind of game. New buildings are doled out slowly, with the bulk of the exciting content coming in the latter half of the game. Even though there's no time limit, things get hectic later on with nefarious critters roaming onto the scene, buildings needing repairs, and resources begging to be gathered across your village.
Casual to its Mesoamerican core, Aztec Tribe is nothing but pure resource managing entertainment.