dotAGE: The Roguelite Village Builder That Tests Your Wits (and Patience!)

Can you keep your wits about you as the end of days descends upon your pixelated populace?

last updated Jan 28, 2024
Just remember to stock up on patience and strategic prowess—this apocalypse has bite.

A Strategic Soiree of Survival

Dive into the throes of managerial fever with dotAGE, where a blend of turn-based strategy and city-building chaos awaits. Here's a game that will have you mouthing 'just one more turn' until you realize it's 5am and any resemblance of a sleep schedule has indubitably vanished. At a glance, its premise is simple: construct and nurture a pixelated village to stave off the Apocalypse. However, underneath its charming exterior lies the heart of a merciless survival roguelite, daring players to micro-manage a smorgasbord of resources, fend off randomly timed events, and somehow not hurl your supply of hard-earned Pips into the oncoming calamity while screaming in exasperation.

Ear Candy for the Apocalyptic Entrepreneur

Audio-wise, dotAGE sings a pixel-perfect tune, meshing retro-inspired sound effects with a soundtrack that hits the spot. Be warned, though, as the tracks might start ringing in your ears long after the game has shut down—sometimes less because they're catchy, and more because they've looped more times than you'd like during a particularly prolonged 'one last turn' session. While some may see a bit of charm in the mumbling of elders as they oversee the toiling Pips, others would sooner bathe in the river of the Apocalypse than listen to another grunt of gibberish. Fortunately for the sanity of the latter group, there are options to fine-tune the audio experience.

A Pixel-Painted Panorama of Perseverance

Graphically, dotAGE is a toast to pixel art, delivering enough quaint charm to draw in lovers of the aesthetic while also not scaring away those who lean towards the hyper-realistic. The game performs admirably on most systems, but our friends on the Steam Deck have mentioned a bit of a struggle with controls feeling stickier than a caramel-coated controller. It's a minor bump in dotAGE's road to graphical glory, though the immersion does wobble when the UI decides to play hide-and-seek. Despite these niggles, the blend of retro visuals and clean animations give this title a look that’s both unique and inviting.

The Masochistic Replayability That Keeps on Giving

Oh, the masochistic joy of replayability in dotAGE is strong with this one. With runs that make marathon gaming sessions look like a sprint, prepare to endure countless hours as you strive to thwart, avoid, or delay pixelated doom. Each playthrough unlocks new possibilities, making the arduous task of watching your village succumb to the whims of RNG a little less bitter. The game's sheer variety in starting conditions, game-changing events, and meta progression adds layers of depth that would make an onion blush. It's a slow boil for sure, raising the stakes with each passing season, until you're either a master of your survival domain or a blubbering villager, ready to join your woebegone residents in the abyss. Game Cover Art
STEAM RATING 96 .37% Developer & Publisher Michele Pirovano Release Date October 04, 2023

The Verdict

Let's be blunt: dotAGE is an utterly punishing yet deeply engrossing turn-based strategy with enough calamity and crisis to make a doomsday prepper feel right at home. You'll find a wealth of content and complexity hiding within its deceptively simple pixel-art façade. Just remember to stock up on patience and strategic prowess—this apocalypse has bite. It demands respect and rewards persistence. If you're a glutton for tactical torment or a lover of rogue-lites and city-builders, dotAGE will happily swallow hours of your life and spit you out begging for another round. Sure, there are some quirks, and Steam Deckers might want to keep their devices at arm's length, but the sense of achievement when bringing your village through the seasons of despair is unmatched. Fans of the genre, accept this challenge and fulfill the prophecy!