Published on October 23rd, 2023 | by Chris O'Connor
Tribe: Primitive Builder PC Review
Summary: A mix of building and resource/people management in a tribal setting... fun, for a while.
I was a late convert to Minecraft… it took my son insisting that I give it another go (and telling me how to get started) before I saw the fun in it. Since then I’ve enjoyed games like No Mans Sky and Subnautica and quite like the sandbox builder genre. So the notion of having that style game but with a more stripped back primitive environment sounded quite interesting.
The introduction to the game is… well, let’s say melodramatic. Your character clearly has a very high opinion of himself and isn’t afraid to let everyone know. But when you wake on an island and meet the elder… it seems they put a lot of stock in you (and your sense of divine purpose begins all over again). The elder sets you some tasks to get the tribe more organised (which makes me wonder just how worthwhile an elder they are if they hadn’t managed to do any of this already).
Not surprisingly, you start simple… building somewhere to sleep and make some tools… this then enables you to build other structures that will become work places for the other tribes people. Despite being designated builder… it’s not all putting up new buildings… you have to manage your hunger, thirst and tiredness too. You are expected to not just gather your own materials but your own food and water… though you will later be able to designate tasks to fellow tribe members.
Once you have your little group sorted, the elder informs you to seek another tribe so you can work together to leave the island… and so the game continues. Each tribe has their own environment with specific resources either present or non existent which means you can unlock new buildings and tools but it also means you will be doing a lot of traveling between locations in order to have all the materials required for what you want/need to build.
Ultimately it kind of plays like a cross between an first person shooter and a real time strategy game. The notion of it being a sandbox is perhaps more like litter tray in terms of scale. Yes you have a certain degree of flexibility with what you build and where… but ultimately you are building towards specific goals and working outside of those goals won’t take you very far.
It’s fun enough and though some resources can be more of a pain in the posterior to collect than others (hunting anything other than fish gets fiddly… not hard per se…. but fiddly), mostly it’s fairly straight forward and it’s easy enough to just grind away at a resource so you are heavily stocked in it before attempting any new major construction.
The tribal management seemed a bit dim… you are tasked with making a cooking hut, a tool hut and a hunters hut… but unless you basically hold their hands they don’t seem to be able to coordinate on their own to ensure they keep each other stocked with the required tools/resources. Or perhaps I just wasn’t doing it the right way.
So if you like the idea of a somewhat structured building game in a primitive setting, this might be worth having a look at. It sounds nice, it looks pretty enough and it’s enjoyable enough to play… but it’s not quite as “open world” or free form as you might hope.