Sumer is best described as a digital board. The action happens in real time with players competing with one another for resources. I first played Sumer at BitSummit last year, and I really enjoyed it. I asked the developers, Studio Wumpus if the game was coming to the Switch as at the time it was only going available on Steam and Xbox One. A year later, Sumer has finally arrived on the Switch! Get your goats to sacrifice, as it’s time to review Sumer! Quick note: Studio Wumpus was kind of enough to provide a code of Sumer for review purposes. This is PushDustIn from Source Gaming, bringing you this review.
Sumer doesn’t have a huge focus on narrative, as expected by its gameplay. Taking place in Sumeria, the game is about trying to win favor with the goddess, Inanna, in order to become the next ruler. Through this theme, a lot of the gameplay elements come together. Harvesting and sacrificing materials and using workers effectively. It was a great touch to add Sumerian to the game for Inanna’s voice acting as it helps build the world. I also thought the Sumerian theme was quite novel and really helps the game stand out.
Sumer is essentially a board game on your television. Players will need to be quick to harvest and sacrifice resources in order to secure more favor. I think it’s quite fun planning the route your character will take to be the most optimal just before waking up. Of course, your route will need adjusting as other players will have their own plans.
The game is divided into years. Over the years, players will use their extra goats to bid on new rooms, monuments or bonuses. The bidding can be quite competitive and is a blast in local play. In order to complete a year, players will need to offer a certain number of resources to the goddess. Putting the most, or the last resource will net players with extra favors. These requirements for the offers will be a mixture of grain, beer, and pottery and are random per game. Players can use their extra resources in order to compete for extra favor.
My main gripe with Sumer is just how lacking it feels in parts. There is no online multiplayer option, which means players will need to play against the computer or friends locally. Playing against the A.I. is alright, but after a couple of games, it begins to feel very redundant. This issue could’ve been alleviated with either additional modes, maps, and options or even a light story mode.
I talked with the developers over at Studio Wumpus, and they said they would love to add online multiplayer to the Switch version but as of right now it’s not guaranteed as it depends on a lot of external factors.
The game displays everything that players will need to know on a clean user interface. The sound design is great, especially with the Sumerian. The icons are pretty straightforward. Players have four options for their character, but they have no stat differences. The game plays great, and there weren’t any noticeable frame drops.
The rules can be a bit overwhelming at first as there is a lot to keep track of. Before playing the game, I would highly recommend going through the tutorials. I tried introducing it to a couple of friends, and they had a hard time getting into the flow of the game as I had to explain all of the rules all at once. A light mode with no bidding would help in making the game more easier for new players.
I think Sumer is the type of game that you will either really enjoy, or you won’t. It’s not going to be a game that will appeal to everyone. With limited options and a lack of online mode, I’m not sure how appealing Sumer will be for casual fans. For those who enjoy tabletop gaming, I would highly recommend Sumer as it does feel like a digital board game.
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