With the trend of new incremental games coming out, it's been difficult for gamers to find titles that bring worthwhile ideas to the genre, or sometimes to even tell them apart. Some are barely-coded "watch the numbers get bigger" examples, while other developers have been lunging for some flashy gimmick to vie for your attention in an effort to get their own title to stand out from the rest. Pray don't toy with our affections, good sir! And then along comes a title like Idle Village. Unity-savvy up-and-comer Supercluster just goes ahead and bolts on everything he can find to the experience, unabashedly throwing the kitchen sink at the game and not even satisfied until the thing releases a pile of adorable puppies into the room from a hidden vent and checks your e-mail for you at regular intervals. If all that sounds a bit on the hyperbolic side, take a gander at the list of features and decide for yourself. A full-fledged CG model of your village, complete with day and night cycles, that accurately depicts the growth and development of your village — and which you can enter as a player. The ability to gain a fourth of some of your resources, and all of the rest, while you're offline and while the game isn't even loaded. A sophisticated and intricate system of buildings to research that produce everything from potatoes to shrimp and lanternfish to jewelry, carrots and deer and bear meat. An employment system, where you delegate your growing body of villagers to produce these various resources, and a market where you can sell them all for gold and buy new resources for your town. A smithy, where you can craft a diverse arsenal of weaponry, and a recent addition to automate your production. All this and more, from a title still very actively being developed, has put Idle Village firmly on the map.
Idle Villages' feature-rich presentation means there's a lot of data to present in a small visual area, and will quickly have you longing for a fullscreen option. Instead, extensive use of the scroll-wheel is applied to allow you to cycle through much of the data and options, and for the moment at least some areas of text overlap others. If you're getting reports or options that seem cut off or incomplete, try hovering your mouse over that bit and using the scroll-wheel. You'll start off by getting Woodcutters and Stone Mines that will produce the raw materials needed to build more buildings, and later adding in Metal Mines. You'll first use the Wood and Stone garnered to build Farms and Wells, which will supply the Food and Water needs for your villagers to grow. Everything's available from the clearly-presented buttons at the top, but you can also use the number keys to shortcut your way through these menus.  or [Tab] will take you into Player Mode, where you can use the mouse to look around and the [WASD] keys to move. There isn't much to do in Villager Mode yet, although you can encounter other villagers as they go about their business. The 3D models are stock, lending a certain macabre, Twilight Zone effect at the moment, but this feature is still a very new implementation. You can sprint with [Shift] and teleport back home with [U], but for now you can't do anything in Player Mode but move around and look at things. You can play Idle Villages without Player Mode by loading it in Low Performance Mode. The game will autosave for you all on its own throughout.
Is Idle Village's kitchen sink formula enough to enable it to stand out in the already-crowded incremental genre? For all its myriad of craftable items, its 3D modelling, its new gameplay mechanics, Idle Village doesn't seem to have quite managed to bring them all together in a form that provides a lot of gameplay value... yet. You can craft weapons, you can produce veggies in your garden, but all you can do with them at the moment is sell them for gold at the Market. Doubtless Supercluster has an overall vision for the game and is working behind the scenes to pull all the elements together into a cohesive gameplay experience — despite a few player comments, the developer's implementation of player suggestions has been fairly responsive, from recently adding other NPC villagers to autoproduction options available at the Smithy. Doubtless applying all these gameplay elements in some form that meaningfully improves the state of your village is on the way shortly. It would be nice for example to have the quality of life you've provided for your villagers with all the manufactured goods to show up in a Satisfaction Rating that had some in-game effect, or to have research options for advanced merchandise buildings unlock only after you've provided a certain amount of the more basic goods, in keeping with the resource management direction Idle Village has been taking. What happens next is for Supercluster to say for sure, but with all these components and a solid platform in which to apply them it's certainly going to be a delight finding out.