If you think that 16bit Trader will be some fun nostalgic retro-style game that hearkens back to the early 90s in terms of graphics and music, you’d be wrong. 16bit means gold bits, because you are a medieval a trader in this game. I would also like the point out someone forgot the hyphen when naming the game, but they remembered for the artwork.
If you’re a math person, the game might interest you, as the bulk of it is buying from one town at a price, traveling to another at a cost and then selling those goods to areas willing to pay more for it. That’s where the game starts to get fuzzy and falter. The cost for everything makes it a challenge to keep your head above water from turn to turn and that ruins the enjoyment of the game.
The cost to get from town to town is always the same depending on the route, but the selling and buying price in the same town will vary each time you enter. A lot of the time the prices go up to make your margins smaller and smaller. With the price of travel, you need to deal in bulk to survive in the game
Travel lets you go to a neighboring areas. Click the areas in green and poof you’ve traveled there. There is a risk and a gamble associated with moving from town to town. You can get attacked by bandits that steal your goods or gold. There are mercenaries to hire in each town’s pub, but even with the maximum five guys on my side, I still found myself robbed.
You see everything as a result with no way to stop the event. Its like a board game where you’ve flipped a card and just had a bad bout of luck. Sometimes there is a delay in a mundane travel route for whatever reason. If you get obsessive, you can always save at each town and then try to travel. if you get attacked, just reload the saved game and try again. This process can make a tedious game even more so.
Without a level of difficulty, the struggle and grind becomes a chore, rather than give any joy or excitement. While I never played the game as extensive as others, it felt like most of the occurrences were negative ones.
Several towns have exchanges, banks and pubs. In the pub you can hire or fire mercenaries or buy them one of three drinks. Getting them a drink will offer up tips and overall flavor text. The bank lets you buy or sell a wagon along with selling diamonds you can find searching caves. Searching caves play out as a result rather than an action.
Exchanges are where the bulk of the game takes place. Buy low, sell high. Towns will only buy and or sell specific items. At this point its time to talk about the awful touch screen interface to buy and sell. Its a number pad that you mouse click on. You can go up or down, buy or sell the maximum and press confirm.
Oh but if you buy a maximum amount of anything, you’ve already failed, because then you lack the funds to travel to the next town to sell what you have. The buying and selling becomes an longer process than it needs to be. First go to the map and find out how much it costs to reach your next destination. Then exit the map, go back into the town’s exchange, buy what you need and then remember the cost of travel. If you mess up, that’s just money lost.
There are quests to break up the monotony of things, but achieving quests becomes a waste of gold even if you’re rewarded at the end. Take this knight to that city. Bring this innkeeper silk from a far away land. Fetch someone a bottle. You’re a merchant, so of course you’ll do it. Any game with a quest means you’ll still do it unless a quest gets locked off for an alliance or something.
As for the controls, its a touch screen game. You click everything and you click and drag to scroll the map. Arrow keys to scroll the map would help beyond exclusive click and drag controls. I feel like using numbers would be more efficient.
The graphics have their own art style, but look cheap and rushed. Its the same townspeople in every town at a pub, bank or exchange. Sprites are bouncy, icons are jagged triangles that look slapped together haphazard to fit the art style. Even the interface for buying and selling is squares shifted around. It just looks like an ugly game.
With the culmination of a bad name, tough to survive profit margins, no difficulty levels and a lot of guess work in changing prices, this game is tough to recommend. Its a dirt cheap game so that makes it more reasonable, but there’s nothing here to recommend playing even if you’re a fan of the trading genre.