If managing your bills and outgoings under lockdown isn’t quite romantic and adventurous enough, then welcome to Mittelborg: City of Mages, where you’re in charge of an entire fantasy city. Who knows what the electricity bills are like with a horde of thunder mages.
Mittelborg: City of Mages is out now on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and PS4.
This is a city management sim made from the ground up for console, and your city is of the more fantastical variety. You are an ‘immortal one’, charged with the protection of Mittelborg, and your decisions will determine whether the city flourishes or gets promptly invaded by monsters, mercenaries and the living dead. It’s paramount that you protect the Tree of Order at its centre, as the loss of a single leaf will incite chaos.
You will be handling the day-to-day management of the city by allocating your resources, including which walls the guards defend, and then navigating a series of events. There are hundreds of these, and they will often mean moving your resources around a bit, while others will be more of the story variety, as you make choices about who lives and dies, and what sacrifices you make.
There’s a neat, rogue-ish feel to Mittelborg, as you’re not likely to succeed on your first playthroughs, but you’ll be reborn as your immortal with all the information that they accumulated in the previous run. It’s not clear how this will affect future playthroughs, but the idea of optimising and improving over multiple runs, all within a city sim, is an intriguing prospect.
Mittelborg looks swanky too, with an appropriately lush city to manage, and some attractive cel-shaded 2D art that pops up during events. It looks like Mittelborg: City of Mages has a lot of personality, which is often what’s needed when you’re dealing in the frequently dry simulation genre. There are 10 orchestral tracks to listen to as you shuffle tasks, so an appropriate level of care has been lavished onto the game. We’ll be giving our verdict on it soon in a full review.
- Think and rule! – Mittelborg claims for your unfaltering watch, Chancellor! Different events enforce you to make hard decisions all the time. Whom will you sacrifice: a warrior or a mage? Do you execute or pardon? Spend aether on the repairs or upgrades of weapons? Power is a heavy burden. Will you protect the most sacred, or will you drench it in blood…
- Fight, die, fight again! – Human life is worth nothing where waves of Chaos swamp the shores of Order. It is so easy to die here, and no one worries about tomorrow. No one but you! You are the immortal one. Each reborn is new knowledge. You hone the strategy and save all previous experience, and it will help you endure a little bit longer this time.
- The world is huge. – You start a long and dangerous adventure. There will be dozens of worlds and hostile races, hundreds of unique events, thousands of intertwined destinies and stories… and you have to take all the risks and make the right choices.
- Music – a powerful magic! – Sire, your rule is accompanied by 10 original orchestral soundtracks. Together with music, you are bound to succeed!
Mittelborg is the heart of this world and thousands of swords are aimed at it. Monsters, nomads, mercenaries, living deads and rebellious spirits — Chaos does not sleep and besieges the Universe. Collect resources, get ready for tempests, keep guards on the walls and mages at the towers. While lots of blood are spilt, remember what is at stake. It is better to shed a gallon of blood than lose a single leaf from the Tree of Order.