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This beautiful early access city builder has a free demo out now

Of Life and Land is the rare settlement management game in which you can choose to live in harmony with nature while growing your village.

Fans of survival city builders have been spoiled for choice over the past few years, with terrific games like Surviving the Aftermath, Settlement Survival, and Medieval Dynasty to choose from. A new entry has launched in early access today called Of Life and Land, and it has a unique take on sustainable growth that might make it worth your while. If you’re a little tired of Cities Skylines 2, or want something to complement and accompany RimWorld, you’re in luck. Oh, and there’s a free demo to try out as well.

Of Life and Land has a bright and colorful visual style, with low-poly characters and blocky, Minecraft-style terrain. However, don’t let this city builder‘s artistic simplicity fool you: there’s a rewardingly deep simulation running under the hood here, and in addition to modeling the behaviors of each individual villager, it’s also handling the movements and actions of every animal in the surrounding area.

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So, while your townsfolk are bustling around carrying freshly harvested wheat to the mill and building the new city hall, a fox might be showing her cubs where the best hunting spots are, or a family of deer might be finding a quiet place to rest near a stream. In Of Life and Land, your place in nature is an important consideration, and it’s up to you whether you want to try to live in harmony with it or leverage it for maximum exploitation.

There’s more to the simulation, too: plants need the correct amount of sunlight and moisture to survive and thrive, and imbalances in the population of one kind of plant or animal can lead to explosive growth – or outright extinction – of another.

The Of Life and Land demo can be found on the Steam page. If you decide to buy in, it’s 10% off through April 16. For more like this, check out our list of the best games like RimWorld, as well as our picks for the best indie games out there.

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