Townscaper is not so much a game, as much as a surprisingly satisfying architectural diversion inviting “players” to build quaint island towns evocative of the wondrous worlds of a Studio Ghibli animation setting.
The “game” invites users to build charming hamlets, erect enormous cathedrals, direct roads and canal networks, or even construct sky cities on stilts. The beauty of this game beyond the obvious creative possibilities it offers is its entry point for anyone and everyone. Townscaper is described as having “No goal. No real gameplay. Just plenty of building and plenty of beauty. That’s it.”
Townscaper was developed and designed by game artist, Oskar Stalberg as an “experimental passion project”, imagining an experience offering players “more of a toy than a game.” For those already versed in RTS games with city planning baked in, Townscaper offers a similar and simpler experience focusing upon the gratification of building rather than destroying – including a sound effect that adds another degree of satisfaction while adding to your cityscape.
The game simplicity is represented in its architectural simplicity: Pick colors from the palette, plop down colored blocks of house on the irregular grid, and watch Townscaper’s underlying algorithm automatically turn those blocks into cute little houses, arches, stairways, bridges and lush backyards, depending on their configuration.
Townscaper is available for Windows PC via Steam for $5.99, with future plans for a macOS release.