Stonehearth is a fantasy sandbox building game made up of voxels that takes a lot of inspiration from Dwarf Fortress. You start out with a map to choose the choice spot to begin building your settlement. A helpful information box lets you know how many resources are available as you mouse over the map.
Once you’ve picked your ideal spot, it’s time to begin! You start off with seven blocky people called Hearthlings to order about at your whim. The game in its current state only offers a tutorial on the camera controls, but within minutes of perusing the few easily identifiable menus, you’ll have things figured out quickly enough.
You’ll send your hearthlings out to begin chopping down trees and mining stone to gather the ingredients you’ll need to truly begin your new civilization. Popping up the hearthlings screen you can assign each of your people a job as you meet the requirements needed to do so. You don’t need to worry about managing them, if there’s no task to do in their chosen profession, they’ll default to doing other needed tasks like allocating resources, building and harvesting.
As you assign jobs, build things within that require a hearthling of that profession, more job tiers will open up. This will allow you to build bigger and better things, forge better weapons, open up new avenues of food (such as keeping livestock) and even craft clothes that allow your hearthlings to do their jobs more quickly.
On the subject of weapons, you’ll need them. That is, if you don’t pick peaceful mode. Which is totally an option here, in case you prefer to build your perfect castle in peace. If you prefer a bit of an added challenge, however, monsters will randomly attack your village. When you kill them, they’ll drop bits of loot for you to use.
Another random event is visitors to your village, these can be caravans, traders that will sell you things for gold and vice versa, people who want to swap resources or a helpful passerby with some stuff for you.
As your hearthlings spend more time on their job, they’ll level up, giving them better abilities and perks. This makes each of your people a valuable resource you won’t want to lose. You’ll be quite sad if a rogue skeleton ends the life of your level 5 blacksmith, especially if you didn’t have another one you’d been leveling as well.
As your village grows in wealth, size, food stocks, and moral, more hearthlings will flock to join you. This is necessary for the growth and protection of your town. More hearthlings means more soldiers pratrolling, more resource gathering, and more builders to build whatever it is you fancy.
At its heart(h), this game is about building. In the building menu, there are pre-made dwellings to pick from as well as an editor to customize them. Use different materials to give your town variety, then of course once you’re well settled, begin to tackle building your fortress. Don’t forget the wide variety of furniture and decorations to give everything a bit of flair!
Food resources will add color and variety to villages as well. There’s several crops to choose from and even some flowers that are just for sprucing up the place. Build pens for a Shepard to keep animals. And sometimes the trapper will even find an extra special animal to tame as a pet.
Stonehearth is still in its alpha stages, but already an addicting experience. Currently there’s only so much to do, but it’s still quite fun to build your village into a stronghold. This is one Early Access game to keep your eyes on.