Anno Online Review
Anno Online is one of the better – if not the best – choice for a city-building browser game.
At first glance, Anno is like any number of other building sims currently over-populating the internets. There was a time when these kinds of games hooked me, but the sameness and accompanying burn-out left me with a bad taste that has since never washed away. Anno Online, for the most part, didn’t do a lot to alleviate that when the game first began. As you progress in the game however, its systems become more refined, distinguishing it from other games of its genre with nuanced mechanics requiring planning and precision to truly succeed.
To start, your town begins as a paltry islet of sorts, and progresses in style and technology the larger it gets. Growing, however, isn’t merely a matter of profiting from the random plopping of buildings. Your land grows with certain milestones, requiring the best use of the space you have in order to grow in populace and rank. Each building contributes in ways specific not only to its type, but its range; buildings must be connected via networks of roads in addition to servicing only a specific amount of the region they’re placed within. For instance, the Market is necessary in order to create a community, binding the homes you create for your population and allowing them access to produce and other services. Outside of a certain radius, the market is evidently too much of a trek for your peons, and thus another would be required before homes can be placed, using valuable space you might have had saved for something else.
But, oh no! Now your peons want religion, and wood, and wool, and fur, and fish like the ungrateful bastards they are! So begins the constant challenge of re-imagining your space, restructuring buildings and roads and farms as they service the world as efficiently as possible. It’s like a game of Tetris, but with people’s lives! The challenge is addictive and the time flies by as you constantly adjust and grow your town with a level of strategy that’s unusual for these kinds of browser games, while still avoiding too much of a micromanagement nightmare; once you’ve found the prime way to use your allotted space, the world takes care of itself, letting you focus on other means of growth like economics, sea-faring, guilds/trade, exploration, etc.
Looking at higher level, better built towns offers an idea of what to expect in later stages of the game. The planning required to make the most use of your land and resources is rewarded with large, thriving towns self-served yet connected by a weaving of roads and buildings. It’s actually beautiful, and perhaps more satisfying for those looking to create an actual world rather than dropping a bunch of monetary buildings in one corner, all their homes in the other, etc., then sitting back and profiting with little actual gameplay involved beyond waiting for timers to end (yes, that was aimed at you, everything on Facebook).
As far as F2P building sims go, Anno Online is one of the better if not the best choice for a city-building browser game. In addition to its in-depth mechanics, its item mall is very reasonably priced, offering additional plots of land and resources – all of which earned in-game for those that would rather play for free – for those seeking faster advancement without breaking one’s bank. Rewards for growth are granted over time, such as built homes gradually having peons moving into them, yarn collected gradually and then passed on to be turned into fabric, etc., ensuring that after a night of progress you’ll wake up in the morning with plenty to see, do and manage. I’m sure bosses everywhere will be delighted.