Settlement Survival brings its popular city-building gameplay to mobile, but it's a rocky start

Settlement Survival, the popular low-poly city-builder, is out now on Android. Initially released on PC in 2022 after a year in Early Access, the game draws heavy inspiration from the indie hit Banished while adding enough personality to make it a unique offering. However, the mobile port of Settlement Survival feels like a rushed and unfinished experience, out now on Android and iOS.

If you’re unfamiliar with Settlement Survival (or its inspiration, Banished), the premise is straightforward. You manage a group of settlers, balancing food, construction resources, happiness, and more to ensure your burgeoning settlement doesn’t collapse. There’s no real end goal here; the aim is to build a settlement you can be proud of. While Settlement Survival isn’t a groundbreaking city-builder (many refer to it as Banished 2), it’s a solid experience that earned a Very Positive rating on Steam. However, despite some excellent reviews on Steam, the mobile port is a little rough around the edges.

Settlement Survival requires a TapTap account to play, and iOS users have noticed that the UI is entirely in Chinese. While this can be circumvented, you’ll need to navigate to the language settings, which requires some guesswork. This bug is not present on the Android version, but Android users will still need a TapTap account to play. But if you can overcome all of this, the game still has a few problems.

The primary issue is the UI, tweaked specifically for mobile. While changes from the desktop verison have been made to help with touchscreen play on mobile, it’s a cramped experience that feels half-finished. The game presents too much information at once, and I constantly found the windows getting in my way as I played. Settlement Survival seems to think you must see everything at once, which isn’t true. It’s frustrating and could have easily been avoided with a little more thought.

It’s hard to make sense of all this on a small screen.

Additionally, the controls feel sluggish and unresponsive. Camera movement is too fast, so you’ll move in abrupt jumps rather than gently panning around your settlement. Again, this feels like an issue that could have been resolved with a bit more testing.

Another problem is that Settlement Survival launched without sound, but this was quickly fixed with an update. While this indicates that the developers are quick to jump on top of game-breaking bugs, it’s still remarkable that it was launched in this state (especially considering the iOS bug that launches the game in Chinese). While we don’t expect the TapTap account requirement to be removed, the UI issues could be resolved with future patches.

At its core, Settlement Survival is an immersive city-builder game that is thankfully devoid of microtransactions. It’s available for $4.99, but it’s hard to recommend unless it receives a few more patches. In the meantime, try playing one of these great sandbox games instead.

Conclusion on Settlement Survival brings its popular city-building gameplay to mobile, but it’s a rocky start

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