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Ballads of Hongye, a Beautiful City-Building Game Facing Criticism Over Negligent Level Design

By Weilin Li
Nov. 18, 2022 updated 09:05

Seasun Games' city-builder strategy game Ballads of Hongye came to Steam on November 15th. Players have been looking forward to this ancient China-inspired simulation game for a long time and were attracted by the vivid animations and details in its demo and trailers.

In the game, as a county magistrate, you will need to carefully make plans to complete the unique challenges on a map with picturesque mountains and rivers. Players will create a pleasant city and bring about the rejuvenation of Hongye County and discover more hidden stories.

Game graphics of Ballads of HongyeGame graphics of Ballads of Hongye

There are two modes in the game: Relaxed Mode and Challenging Mode. In Relaxed Mode, similar to a classic building simulation game, players can construct buildings and manage the land without too much pressure. While in Challenging Mode, each stage of the mission will have a time limit.

The busy county magistrate needs to complete the development goals from the leaders to pass their assessments. The residents also need your care to consider their well-being. Players may also face potential crises: Disasters such as insect plagues, droughts, and famines may destroy your town quickly.

After playing the game, we found that the art of ancient China buildings and characters is very impressive. The architectural details bring a very strong visual enjoyment and impact. As the season changes, the game shows various splendid scenery.

However, we also noticed that the strict time limit of missions brought some extra difficulties for us and reduced our enjoyment of the game. The disasters appeared with an unreasonable frequency. Compared with traditional simulation games, the setting of challenging tasks can be innovative, but the idea has not been realized well, and it is very frustrating for players to repeatedly fail, even at an early level.

On Steam, some players also pointed out this level design problem and said they expected more improvement.

A screenshot of two players’ Steam reviews on Ballads of HongyeA screenshot of two players’ Steam reviews on Ballads of Hongye

A screenshot of the letter from Ballad of Hongye’s developerA screenshot of the letter from Ballad of Hongye’s developer

Currently, the devs are working hard on fixing these problems and promised to adjust the difficulty curve. They have sent a letter to players on Steam.

“We will try our best to optimize the experience and include more good features and characteristics of traditional simulation and management games. But with the current size and ability of the team, we cannot quickly optimize the game to the same level as traditional simulation games.”

The devs made long-time and short-term goals for their adjustments. So far, Ballads of Hongye has received Mixed reviews among players.

Source: Steam