Review: Pharaoh A New Era is a Pleasant Return to the Past

Our review of the new remake of the PC classic Pharaoh!

Pharaoh: A New Era is a city-building simulation game developed by Triskell Interactive and published by Dotemu. The game is a remake of the classic city builder game Pharaoh, originally released in 1999. Pharaoh: A New Era brings back the essence of the classic game and adds a modern twist, with improved graphics and a new user interface. The game is set in Ancient Egypt, and the player is tasked with building and managing a city, ensuring the population is well-fed, healthy, and happy. Does the classic hold up compared to the monoliths that currently own the colony sim/city building space?

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Pharaoh: A New Era features a classic city-building gameplay loop. The player starts with a small settlement and expands it by building various structures, including farms, housing, bazaars and gold mines. The player must ensure that the population is well-fed and healthy, while also managing the economy to maintain a healthy cash flow. Pharaoh: A New Era features a technology tree, which unlocks new buildings and upgrades as the player progresses. The technology tree is essential to the game’s longevity, as it adds a sense of progression and encourages the player to keep playing.

One of the most impressive aspects of Pharaoh: A New Era’s gameplay is the attention to detail. The game captures the essence of Ancient Egypt, with accurate depictions of Egyptian buildings, culture, and religion. The game also features various events and scenarios that reflect the culture of the time. For example, the player must manage the Nile River floods, which were a crucial part of ancient Egyptian life.

What is very impressive about Pharaoh: A New Era is how the gameplay is accessible to players of all skill levels. The game features an amazing tutorial that guides the player through the basics of the game, and the user interface is designed to be intuitive and easy to use. The mechanics are easy to understand, and the player is not overwhelmed with too much information at once. There’s also an in game reference guide that is very easy to refer to for any information the player may be lost on.

image provided by the developer Triskell Interactive

The Elephants in the Room: Dwarf Fortress and RimWorld

Dwarf Fortress and RimWorld are two of the most popular city-building simulation games on the market. They are known for their complexity, emergent storytelling, and high difficulty.

Dwarf Fortress is known for its complex gameplay mechanics and intricate simulation. The game features a detailed world generation system, with procedurally generated worlds that are unique for each play through. Dwarf Fortress is notoriously difficult to play, with a steep learning curve and a user interface that can be overwhelming for new players.

RimWorld is another popular city builder game that features emergent storytelling and a high difficulty level. The game is set on an alien planet, and the player must build and manage a colony of survivors while dealing with various threats, such as raiders and natural disasters. RimWorld’s gameplay is similar to Dwarf Fortress, with a focus on survival and combat.

When comparing Pharaoh: A New Era to these games, Pharaoh is more accessible and easier to play. The game’s user interface is designed to be intuitive, and the gameplay mechanics are straightforward. However, Pharaoh can feel a bit out dated just due to how bare bones it is in comparison to these titles. Simplicity isn’t a bad thing, mind you. But it may leave some players wanting more and thinking about playing an alternative. We really enjoyed how fun and simple Pharaoh is, it has the gameplay loop we expect but allows us to turn off our brains a bit and just build an amazing Ancient Egyptian city.

image provided by the developer Triskell Interactive

In Conclusion

Pharaoh: A New Era’s graphics are a significant improvement over the original game. The game features modern 3D assets that have been intricately remade by the development team. There are 53 missions with a campaign that spans six different eras of Egyptian civilization, this also includes a free expansion based around Cleopatra. The soundtrack has also been rearranged and re-orchestrated. The love and passion that went into this project that started in 2020 is clearly on display. We think that as a standalone experience, Pharaoh: A New Era is definitely worth picking up if you’re wanting to get into the city simulation genre or to revisit a classic from years ago.

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Zach Quest
Obsessed with grinding, always playing some game you've never heard of. I am a huge MMORPG, Gacha and farming simulator fan. If I'm not grinding something in one of the many games I play (Final Fantasy XIV, World of Warcraft, Runescape, Epic Seven etc) I can be found working on my novel, reading, watching anime or hanging out with my three dogs.