Songs Of Syx Is My New Favourite Colony Sim

Songs Of Syx Is My New Favourite Colony Sim

My Songs of Syx colony started as ten humanoid-bugs, the race of Garthimis, huddled around a fire in a small fishing village. They are simple folk who really only like to eat other bugs (fat juicy caterpillars, as far as I can tell) and fish. The children are hatched from squirming bug nests and most of them prefer to live inside a mountain rather than a wooden shack. The majority of them are not good at reading. That is something we will have to address later on down the line.

I’ve already mentioned the bugs, but there are also dwarves, elves, and various other low-fantasy races that can live together in harmony or at war. Each group requires unique living conditions, foods, and religion. Sacrifices are sometimes necessary, both in terms of your city layout and your citizen’s actual lives. Your job as Despot is to continuously balance the wants and needs of your burgeoning population. Feed them, clothe them, give them tools, and then send them to war.

Songs Of Syx is a game with incredible scope. The story of your ten settlers will spiral on and on, until there are 30,000 individual people in your new city. Even with all these moving parts – they eat, they sleep, they socialise – the game runs smoothly, something other colony simulators and city builders have always struggled with. This is largely thanks to a pixelated art style that leaves quite a lot to the imagination.

The mauled face of a citizen after a mining accident, or the slab of meat on the cutting board in the recently built hunting lodge, is rendered in a handful of pixels. It’s not ugly, though. Once you get accustomed to it, it’s actually quite gorgeous. Paired with the atmospheric soundtrack, created by Polish artist Jasinka, the game is a throwback to a previous era—something that might remind you of Heroes of Might and Magic.

While Heroes of Might and Magic is a stellar comparison in terms of art style, the game mechanics are more akin to Dwarf Fortress or Rimworld. What Songs of Syx does so well is fuse many elements of many games. You begin with a small village and grow in scale, like Rimworld, or Dwarf Fortress, or Banished, but the game also features a complex and ever-changing overworld, a place where you can wage war against your neighbours with Total War-esque battle management, or run a trading empire by reading the market on pottery, clothes, and ore.

As you might expect, this is not the easiest game to get to grips with. The tutorial is still pretty lacklustre, and without the various YouTube videos out there on how to do stuff, my villagers would still be living in a mountain, slowly turning into cannibals. I have played for several dozen hours, and there is still so much more to learn. The maximum population I’ve reached is 10,000. I know we can get bigger—my people just keep starving/dying of the plague/losing massive battles and all my treasury.

Even with 10,000 people, there is always something else to do. Just. One. More. Turn. These are the games I love, the ones that you can’t put down even if you’re getting hungry or should probably do the washing up. They arrive sporadically on my Steam page and I play them to complete death, and then leave them for several months until there’s a new update. I consume them completely and burn out hard. Songs Of Syx might be different. Like Rimworld, the potential for storytelling and worldbuilding is unbeatable. It is deeply, deeply satisfying.

Songs Of Syx is still undergoing development. The developer is active, runs a community-driven Discord, and regularly posts developer logs. The next big addition is snow, pretty flowers that blow in the wind, and improved zoom functionality. There doesn’t seem to be any sign of the developer slowing down, and new updates have been released periodically every four or five months. What else could we see? More in-game events, storytelling, and personality to your citizens would be a great place to start, and I’m pretty certain all of these are on the cards. I can only begin to imagine where this game will be in a few year’s time—probably up there with the all-time greats of the genre.

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