Screenshot
Screenshot

A bit more time in the frontier with New Frontier Days!

Main ImageNew Frontier days: Frontier Pioneer
Intial Release Date: December 31, 2017
Developers: 
Arc System Works 
Publishers: 
Arc System Works 
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Game information was freely provided by IGDB.com

City building sims have been around for decades, with one of the most memorable being the Sim City. The genre had a bit of a rebirth with the advent of smartphones and tablets, as the games are relatively low-cost to create with possibilities for in-app purchases. I guess it really isn’t that surprising that New Frontier Days ~Founding Pioneers~ would come to the Switch and 3DS then, with their touch screen capabilities. But to quote one of my favorite movies:

New Frontier Days ~Founding Pioneers~ (I’ll be calling it Frontier Days from here on out) opens up to a familiar screen. Showing off a very simple menu, you’re presented with your basic options. 

Story Mode brings you into the game, introducing new actions as they’re available with your virtual assistant. This is the bread and butter of the game, providing the main way to experience a slow burn whereas survival mode brings you to a mode where you can choose your difficulty. Free mode is the simple way to play for as long as you want, but you don’t get any of the in-game achievements. All of these modes provide the same thrill of building your own town from very little and watching it grow into different ages.

The game sports a simplistic but full art style, with bright colors and simple shapes. The game’s music, however, is a bit of an issue. With what feels like five tracks total, the soundtrack is full of looping tracks that are just disappointing. They fit the theme, and are alright enough but slowly start to grate on your nerves. It isn’t bad but it’s not good either.

The gameplay itself feels pretty solid. You’re quickly made to wait however as the genre enforces one of the worst experiences brought to gaming: Waiting. Usually only a couple of seconds, it still has you starting at a screen waiting for the action to be completed at different points, the time continues to rise as the action is bigger. While I understand the mechanic, it feels a bit archaic and straight out of a mobile game. That isn’t to say that the gameplay is bad by any means, it works for what it is. Building up your area feels rewarding and it’s easy to get attached to the little world you’ve helped grow. Which makes it even more crushing when something happens, such as an animal attack or a convoluted menu system causing you to wipe your save data.

Alright so if you noticed my review has been a bit hard on the game, that stems from an issue I experienced while playing. Upon picking the game up for another play session, I clicked into story mode and selected the file I was playing before. “This file has save data that will be overwritten” cool, of course. “Skipping tutorial, is this okay?” of course, why would I have to go through that again? And then it brings me to Day 1, the start of the game again. You actually have to hit the “Continue” option on the main menu. While it stared me in the face, it’s still a strange and confusing menu choice that erased about 5 hours of gameplay. If nothing else, learn from my mistake.

 

Pros:
  • Simplistic art gives a clean appearance.
  • Gameplay is basic city-building, fun for on-the-go.
Cons:
  • Simple art and looping music creates a very bland experience.
  • Controls feel lacking, and often times hitboxes feel off. Tablet mode feels better for this.
  • Confusing options upon picking the game back up result in starting over in story mode.
Graphics Pixl Score 3 3.5
Story Pixl Score 2 2
Sound Pixl Score 3 3
Controls Pixl Score 2 2.5
Fun Factor Pixl Score 4 4