Stonehearth

Game review by
Sarah Van Boerum, Common Sense Media
Stonehearth Game Poster Image
Fun strategy for all ages lets players create, manage town.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Maintaining peaceful, happy environment for your people so they thrive in their surroundings.  

Positive Role Models & Representations

You manage random assortment of male, female townspeople, have to guide them, help them develop into beneficial citizens. No specific character given to player.

Ease of Play

Easy to navigate once you familiarize yourself with controls.

Violence

Very mild violence, pixelated gore when you fight wolves, goblins, whose main goal is to destroy your settlement.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Stonehearth is a downloadable strategy game where your main goal is to lead and colonize a community with the help of your very own townsfolk or hearthlings. You'll create your own unique settlement by dividing up jobs among your group, while making sure everyone has enough food and shelter to keep up community morale. You'll trade with incoming travelers or stockpile goods, while also fending off threats such as goblins, wolves, and skeletons who raid spontaneously to destroy everything you've built.

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What's it about?

STONEHEARTH was designed with total player customization in mind. Everything from hearthling jobs to settlement location and layout are meant to be designed individually from one player to the next. It's all about creating a settlement that you are happy with. Players will harvest local resources including lumber and stone and decide which areas you want to build shelter in. You also can mine resources that are valuable for trading or create tunnels for your people to walk through. The next step is planning and managing your town by choosing farming and storage areas. All your hearthlings begin as workers, but each can be promoted to a specialized field such as blacksmith, carpenter, trapper, and cook depending on what tools you can unlock. You'll also need to produce food for your townsfolk, put up buildings such as sleeping quarters, and finally promote some workers as part of your army who will defend against nasty goblins and wolves that want to tear apart your community.

Is it any good?

You will feel joy knowing that you can successfully design, build, and run a town from your computer in less than an hour. There's something quite satisfying about being in charge of a group of people, telling them where and how to build a community, but the tricky part is making sure they all stay happy while under your command. Gameplay is straightforward: You see a map and choose an area that you feel best suits your community's needs based on natural resources and then start building. But a quick tutorial first would make the layout a bit easier to understand.

Stonehearth isn't one of those games you can start up and forget about, because the hearthlings need constant maintenance and their jobs have to continuously rotate to keep the flow of the town going. At least you have the option to play in safe mode, where you can focus solely on building your community, or you can play in threat mode, where you never know when or where you may be challenged by incoming goblins, skeletons, and wolves who come in to rip apart your town. Fortunately, you can appoint an army to protect your citizens from these threats and send them packing before they can do any damage. Even better is the fact that if you're not happy with how your civilization is made or if it gets destroyed by enemies, it's easy to recreate and rebuild your progress quickly. Stonehearth isn't the most conventional strategy or civilization building game, but it's accessibility and ease make it great for both young and older players alike.       

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how hard or easy it would be to develop their own town. How would you design the layout of a town? How would you divide up jobs among the people who live there? How would you keep everyone's morale high while making sure all the jobs got done?

  • Where in the world would you want to build your town? Why would you choose this location? Does it have enough natural resources such as water, food, and shelter to start building? If not, where's the nearest location you could bring everything in from? How much would it cost to do so? 

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