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Check out this Aztec city builder’s alpha for free on Steam

Tlatoani: Prologue is an open alpha for a survival city builder set in the Aztec Empire, and it includes the tutorial, three scenarios, and much more.

If you just look at the screenshots for Tlatoani, you’ll probably be reminded of the classic Impressions strategy games like Pharaoh and Caesar 3. However, while Tlatoani has taken some inspiration from those historic games, it’s much more heavily slanted toward simulation and management. The good news is there’s a free alpha that you can play right now.

In Tlatoani, you play as a fledgling Aztec ruler, and it’s your job to transform your early settlement into a grand metropolis, becoming the titular Tlatoani – or sovereign. This city-building game models the internal life of each citizen, and so you wind up with fewer constraints on “optimal” city block layouts than you typically found in the old Impressions games.

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“Our ultimate goal is to fuse the sense of intimacy and personal connection you’d get from a village-builder with the sense of grandeur and scale you’d see in a historical city building game and eventually to intersect the two in ‘Crusader Kings Lite’ noble-politics simulation, though that’s still some way down the road,” writes the two-developer team behind Tlatoani.

In the meantime, the alpha includes three tutorial missions and three scenario missions, as well as a random map generator and a “God” sandbox mode that presumably lets you build without any restrictions whatsoever. Tlatoani has a day/night cycle, as well as the “walkers” that leave specialist buildings to provide services around your city. However, all citizens have individual AI, and the ramp-up is quicker than you might expect based on similar games.

You can find Tlatoani on Steam, where the alpha Prologue is free to add to your library. Have a look at our list of the best survival games, as well as our list of the best indie games on PC, if you’re interested in more games like this one.

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