Review: Lakeburg Legacies Lets You Meddle in People’s Lives in the Best Ways
Image via Ishtar Games

Review: Lakeburg Legacies Lets You Meddle in People’s Lives in the Best Ways

Lakeburg Legacies is an unusual approach to the concept of a city builder. You’re building up a specific city. However, the most critical element here involves people. Yes, you’re still going to collect other resources necessary to keep a kingdom afloat. However, it all depends on getting right people, helping them fall in love with the best suited partners, and then hopefully using their skills to ensure the success of the city.

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Each run of Lakeburg Legacies can run a bit differently, as it all varies based on who shows up and how their relationships go. You start with a single villager who will be tasks with becoming a lumberjack. You then need to get wood, the initial most critical resource, to build a home for them and begin to build other resource-generating facilities. You then marry this person off, which brings in another resident, gives you a chance for the new couple to raise a family, and gets the village population growing. This cycle increases on a growing scale, with opportunities for relationship-related events coming up as people spend more time together and Lakeburg grows, until the period of time set at the outset of the game appears.

Review: Lakeburg Legacies Lets You Meddle in People’s Lives in the Best Ways

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This means that Lakeburg Legacy is more about building a community than an actual settlement. However, the actual settlement starting segments are equally important! You can’t keep people alive without things like food and natural resources. But the goal is to get you invested in your citizens’ lives, and it’s pretty good at that. Especially early on or once you get to the point where you have a royal family. For my first 10 in-game years in both of the runs I did, I was incredibly focused on my initial families. Especially during my initial trial, which I set as a look at the town over a 75 year period, and my last one, which involved more challenging difficulty modifiers and a 100-year period. (You can choose 30, 75, or 100 years, then either directly customize all difficulty or choose from Economy or Service Building & Illicit Trade preset difficulty modifiers to make it harder or easier.)

During early days, I’d want my families to succeed! In the first run, it was because I wanted to be certain I was doing things right. I wanted Albrecht and his husband Roland, who Tindra said was a “good” match due to how many commonalities they shared, to be happy together with a big family. They only ended up adopting one child, but they were one of my happiest couples and worked together peacefully as lumberjacks. However, my farmer Wolfgang and his “excellent” match wife and huntress Calanthe broke up shortly after they had their first child. However, a random event after did lead to them getting back together after she kissed a sentient frog, passed out, and woke up in his house again after he found her unconscious on the side of the road.

Review: Lakeburg Legacies Lets You Meddle in People’s Lives in the Best Ways

Screenshot by Siliconera

While getting the items needed to support life, like food, and increase the range of service buildings and how many people can work at each one, are critical, people are the most important resource in Lakeburg Legacies. The game handles this function quite well. When either recruiting a neighbor by paying money or matching up a single villager with hearts, you’ll be able to see what someone’s specialties are. Stats like strength and intelligence are considered, and they’ll have their own aptitudes and aspirations. So starting out, one candidate the matchmaker psychic (and narrator) Tindra pointed out for my villager Martine was an excellent match, but he was only good at being a royal or an actor. However, she then suggested Josephine, who was a “good” match and had rat tamer as an aspiration. I needed a rat tamer, so that’s the match I made.

This also means balancing who works where throughout town. A rating of up to five stars shows how well-suited someone is for a role. If it is a higher mark and it’s their aspiration, then you might get bonuses like faster or increased outputs of resources. However, you also need to watch the ambiance levels once two or more employees are there. Neutral and good vibes are fine, as people will work well, and you may even see greater gains. But if there are conflicting personalities or people have negative connotations, perhaps because a woman is forced to work with her former spouse’s affair partner, then it just ruins everything. You can also expend hearts to “force” things like greetings, breakups, and larger families, if you have enough resources, but I found it was more fun to go with the flow.

Review: Lakeburg Legacies Lets You Meddle in People’s Lives in the Best Ways

Screenshot by Siliconera

What I’m saying is, it is easy to get invested.

While I could see the relationship and social elements of Lakeburg Legacies being different each time you play, I feel like the city building and societal management will always feel the same. As such, it might get a bit tedious. For example, you’re always going to see the town begin to grow in the same way, with things like the lumber mill, farm, hunting tent, mine, and such showing up first. You’ll need to prioritize diversification of resources, ensuring the farm is also giving you wheat and the hunters are bringing in both hides and meat, for a while. This isn’t bad. A lot of civilization management games proceed in this fashion. But it isn’t going to be like an actual game of Civilization, during which you can start to diversify and prioritize different paths of development each time you hop into a new game. With Lakeburg Legacies, growing the town itself will tend to follow the same general paths each time.

Lakeburg Legacies is an unconventional approach to a city management simulation, and it’s one that works quite well if you’re the sort who can get invested in virtual characters’ lives. What matters here is keeping an eye on characters, pairing them up, finding the perfect jobs for them, and essentially being an incredibly nosy neighbor. The actual simulation element isn’t as taxing, unless you choose high difficulty modifiers, with resources arriving at a steady pace. Instead, the fun comes from seeing how these people interact with each other and watching how the matches you make and townsfolk you select for certain relationships or responsibilities end up.

Lakeburg Legacies will come to the PC on July 20, 2023.

Lakeburg Legacies

Take fate into your own hands in Lakeburg Legacies, a social-based village management sim where love is your favourite resource. Play matchmaker to create the most effective, and most loved up, couples and help your kingdom thrive. How long will it take you to crown a sovereign?

Lakeburg Legacies is an open-ended sort of city management simulation where people come first, and its easy to get invested in it.

Food for Thought
  • Try to avoid paying to bring in neighbors once you have about 7-10 families and about two openings at every service building. You’ll need that money for service building upgrades.
  • If you have a couple that is “obsessed” with the thought of having a baby join the family, it might be worth it to pay the resource fee to add an additional bedroom to the home so they could be a family of four.
  • Keep an eye on when kids grow up. After they hit about six, you can set them up as an apprentice, and you want to take advantage of that chance to possibly replace an aging villager.
  • Worry about getting people for more practical positions early on. You won't need thieves, royalty, guards, or actors during the early years.

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Jenni Lada
Jenni is Editor-in-Chief at Siliconera and has been playing games since getting access to her parents' Intellivision as a toddler. She continues to play on every possible platform and loves all of the systems she owns. (These include a PS4, Switch, Xbox One, WonderSwan Color and even a Vectrex!) You may have also seen her work at GamerTell, Cheat Code Central, Michibiku and PlayStation LifeStyle.