- Good Concept
- Charming Styling
- Good mechanics
- Poor tutorial
- Difficult combat with no tutorial
- Bad localization
Elf Manor is the new Adventure Simulation game out now on Steam for $14.99. Elf Manor is a hybrid game where you will spend the bulk of your time building your home, crafting, and maintaining your character’s vital stats via sleeping, eating, and farming. Mixed in is a variety of adventures that will break up the grind of managing your farm.
Elf Manor Design and Styling
Design in Elf Manor is simple, yet charming. Graphics are low poly that fits very well with the character of the game. While sometimes games with low poly come off as cheap, and a way to cut corners, we did not get that feeling with Elf Manor.
One gripe I had with Elf Manor was the UI design. While the rest of the design feels charming and well suited, the menus all feel very basic and lackluster. Most of them are just solid color backgrounds with no outline, and the buttons are also underwhelming. It felt very jarring every time we opened a menu going from a smooth, clean game styling to an ugly blob of color on the screen. The game is currently early access, so we hope they pour a little more love into menu design.
Elf Manor Gameplay
When I first saw the gameplay footage of Elf Manor, I was overly excited for what seemed like a great concept. As a massive fan of sim games, I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into what looked like a cross between Stardew Valley and a turn-based RPG game.
Unfortunately, my excitement was short-lived. Elf Manor is a port from what appears to be initially a Chinese market game. When I first booted the game, the entire menu defaulted to Chinese, and I had to navigate to the settings to change my language to English. Then, even after switching my language, there are still many spots in the game where it still features Chinese text. It was a bit of annoyance, but it would be something I could overlook if the game is excellent.
Gameplay in Elf Manor mainly consists of a few key elements. First is maintaining and building your manor. You will need to raise animals, farm crops, and deck out your house with all kinds of cool things to help manage your character. This was probably my favorite aspect of Elf Manor. However, it was not without its faults. For starters, while the game does have a very short tutorial, it does not do an excellent job of detailing most of the functions. While it seemed at first, there was a decent amount of things to craft. It became quickly apparent that wasn’t the case. Crafting items start locked behind walls that required either leveling up or sinking time into research. Overall the crafting system needs polish and a better tutorial system.
Adventuring in Elf Manor suffers from most of the same faults. There is zero instruction on what exactly you are trying to accomplish. You start by being set in the overworld, and you are allowed to navigate one square at a time. Each move is costing resources, so movement is restricted. Combat is turned based and again, very poorly documented. When you hover over your skills, you will get almost no help with what they each do. The combat is not only poorly documented, but also unnecessarily difficult, even at first. You’ll continuously be pitted up against multiple enemies at once with no chance of winning. The only hope of winning fights, and we assume leveling up, is to find a monster solo of level 1.
Honestly, when I first saw Elf Manor, I was excited by the concept. However, our excitement was short-lived after playing Elf Manor. While we acknowledge the game is in early access, it has a long way to go before I would consider it in an enjoyable state. The actual core mechanics are there, and the game has solid mechanics, but it feels like pretty much every aspect of the game needs tweaking to be suitable. The localization needs work, GUI is ugly, the tutorial does not cover most of the required information. The combat is just bland and either overly complicated or poorly explained. Overall, Elf Manor is a game to keep an out for future updates, but we cannot recommend it in its current state.
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