PC version tested
Review code provided
Tidal Tribe is a god sim in the vein of classic title Populous with a slight difference, here the viewpoint can be switched from low on the ground to up high in the air. You are the deity who shapes the way in which the inhabitants of Tidal Tribe survive, perish or thrive.
Story mode starts by learning the basics of the game. By raising and dropping land surrounding the tidal area you can create pools by trapping random waves that batter the shoreline. The aim is to keep the pools and lakes created for irrigation to grow, maintain and revegetate the desert island you oversee. The walkthrough of the first level gives a taster but quickly leaves you to fend for the tribe having to keep them happy, fed and not affected by passing dangers such as the aforementioned tide coming into the bay.
The game uses a very simplistic but clean art style. The tribes that inhabit are shown as stick figures with triangles for heads while the surrounding landscapes become increasingly more beautiful with each addition. This becomes even more evident as the plant life begins to blossom in front of your eyes.
The developers of Tidal Tribe call it a relaxing god game and I am inclined to agree with that description. The four hours of music compliments the gameplay and the ambient sounds transport your mind to that tidal beach while working out the best way to sustain everything. You can just sit back, turn up the music and just play with the terrain at your own pace to see if small improvements can be tweaked to perfection. While I wouldn’t really say it was fun in the traditional sense it is easy to become engrossed with the world being created.
In addition to the main story you have a challenge mode, which you can complete score and time attack challenges, and a free game mode. In this mode a randomly generated map is loaded to reshape to your will. Tidal Tribe was created by one person which is fantastic and unbelievable in this day and age where it is commonplace to have teams of hundreds making similar quality experiences like this. The dev also seems to be supporting regularly with updates, adding new things and overall refining the whole package.
While Tidal Tribe is relaxing I wouldn’t call it essential go to gaming, if you are fed up of playing bombastic action games then this is the game for you. The game is the complete polar opposite of the autumn season of games and at £11.49 on Steam it is perfect to chill out with. The music and ambient sounds are relaxing, it never seems overly taxing and much time was spent peacefully watching the islanders getting on with their lives. This isn’t a bad thing at all. Overall I would have to give this 6/10 as it stands, the gameplay loop while satisfying and relaxing doesn’t keep you going for long during each session. This score could easily change with time though as all of the updates so far have definitely added towards making a more rounded game, I hope that this trend continues.