Have you ever seen the Statue of Liberty? I have. Although I have never had the pleasure of visiting her, I've seen her many times in the distance as my family and I went for our yearly visit to New York City during the holidays. I was born in New York, but grew up in New Jersey, so my family has strong ties to the area, and I can still remember the disappointment when I rode on the ferry past her toward Ellis Island instead of Liberty Island on a class trip... because that was more fun for a third grader...
Well, my days living near New York are gone for now, since I've gone and migrated south to Florida, but seeing this game made me excited to write a Monument Builders Statue of Liberty Review and got me all nostalgic for those old days of shoveling snow and scraping ice off my car windows... ok maybe I don't miss all of it.
If you've read my reviews before, you know I'm a sucker for resource management games... I can't get enough of them, and I can't seem to settle for anything less than expert/gold level. Well that might prove to be a bit challenging with Monument Builders Statue of Liberty.
You see... the first few levels were fine, easy peasy, and done without much thought. But, then I started to realize that the tutorial was over, and I didn't really know that much about the game. They told me once that in order to make scaffolding, I needed coal and wood, but they didn't step me through that process like most games would have. So, when I got to a level where I needed scaffolding, I had accidentally cut down all my trees and built banks and quarries in their place. But I still needed wood. You know what that means? That means I had to restart the stinking level... not because I wouldn't make gold... but because I had no way to beat it with the mistakes I made!!!
That made me pause for a bit and realize I couldn't just breeze by the levels on autopilot. I had to stop and think about what I was going to do. And, unfortunately the level started as soon as the screen popped up, so there was no time to think about what I was going to do. You had to formulate your strategy on the fly and hope that you were right. This makes for some interesting, but stressful gameplay let me tell you!
That was not the first level I've had to replay. I got into the habit of starting the level, looking around to decide what I was going to do, and then just restarting and going at it. I can't help it... the reason I like resource management games is that it's mostly about figuring out your strategy and then implementing it. In Monument Builders Statue of Liberty you had no thinking time, and for me... that was a little bit of a turn off.
The gameplay overall was fine. Nothing really special or different. You clicked to send your workers off to tackle projects one at a time, no chaining tasks here, so you had to be very aware of what your workers were doing, or you'll catch them lazing about in headquarters when they should be clearing roads.
There were your classic resources, wood, stone, coal, and gold that you needed to collect in order to complete the levels and accomplish your tasks. One annoying little feature though was that once the particular resource was collected, you had to click on a horse drawn cart each time to send it off to the headquarters to get it to deliver the goods. If you didn't click on it, the building wouldn't produce. So, many times, I had a lone little horse and buggy sitting there waiting for me to give it orders, and I was quickly falling behind in my production schedule.
The graphics were OK as well. Nothing overly cute or exciting. If anything, they were a little on the disappointing side. They didn't seem as crisp or colorful as what I am used to seeing. Normally resource management games aren't known for their graphics, but I think Monument Builders Statue of Liberty still fell a bit short of expectations in this department.
However, I think the charm of the monument building was this game's saving grace. It was interesting enough to make me go brush up on my Statue of Liberty history to make sure their facts were right. And so far everything seems to check out.
I'm a nerd when it comes to this stuff so learning about the financial problems the building had gave me a "cool" moment. During some of the levels, you actually struggle to get money, which was a huge problem during construction. The Statue of Liberty was a joint effort between France and the US. We were responsible for the construction of the pedestal that she stands on and the French were responsible for the actual statue. But funding was horrible deficient until Joseph Pulitzer (as in Pulitzer Prize) used his paper "The World" to chastise our citizens for not supporting the project.
Soon after his campaign, the funding came through and construction was completed in 1886. The French also finished the statue and sent her over in 350 individual pieces to be put back together on the pedestal.
So there's your history lesson for the day that came from Monument Builders Statue of Liberty. As a game, it's OK. It's fun and still addicting enough to keep me entertained, but add in a little flavor of historical significance, and you have something that works pretty well and is worth taking a look at especially if you play with your kids. It's a good opportunity to present them with a little lesson under the guise of playtime.