I love trying out games that veer off the beaten path, and Mini Continental Saga is one of the weirdest games I've played this year. It's not half bad either! It won't win any prizes for graphics or the interface, but it's an enjoyable, semi-unique game with plenty to offer!
Bite Sized Double Bill: Night Before Christmas
Previous Bite Sized Reviews: Thief Simulator 2
Bite Sized Reviews: Mini Continental Saga
Some games are weird. That’s a good thing. I’ve played a ton of weird games in my time. Fable, Black and White, Elex, Biomutant, the Spellforce franchise, Spore, and The Stanley Parable are just a few.
So when I saw Mini Continental Saga’s release, I was surprised to see it had no reviews at all. That was odd. If it wasn’t for Keymailer promoting the game, I don’t think I would have even noticed it. On the Weird scale, Mini Continental Saga dials it up to eleven. The work of two people at The Ultra Game Changer, I struggle to think of how to describe this game. It’s utterly bizarre, but I don’t mean that in a bad way. While there are many hidden gems in the gaming scene, this might be as hidden as they come.
Hopefully, this little impressions review will get some eyes on it, because there’s plenty of charm and gold brewing in this bowl of stew. The Steam page advertises it as a real-time tactics game, blending cards and a tile-based colony sim together. While that’s true, it feels like a twist between Kingdoms Reborn and the Populous series from the 1990s. Relying on short and sweet playtimes per playthrough, Mini Continental Saga boasts surprising depth in such a small package.
One thing the developers have asked for regarding player feedback is how the game operates through the UI, controls and graphics. The interface is probably the game’s greatest weakness. While the menus are acceptable, they require plenty of work. This isn’t a knock on the game itself — game development is tricky — but they feel amateurish by design. That’s okay. There’s nothing broken about them. I haven’t had an issue or even any bugs with the interface or controls, but a good UI does wonders for any video game.
Mini Continental Saga offers plenty of ways to play, with an extensive tutorial to teach newcomers how to play. These are carried out in Mission Mode, with new maps and scenarios unlocking with each completion. The missions are short and sweet — tutorials can be completed in less than half an hour, and I had little trouble understanding what I needed to do. Games are played on a cute hex map with simple graphics, but the character models remind me of the Accurate Battle Simulator. Cards are used to activate godly powers like in Populous, including lightning, terraforming ground and casting rain to help the people grow. These cards aren’t drawn from a deck, although you can unlock new cards with points accumulated while playing. Instead, there’s a cooldown between activating them. Despite the simple design, the gameplay is rather relaxing relaxing to play. With the abundance of missions available, there is no shortage of content.
I was also pleasantly surprised by the controls. On the Steam Deck, the game ran out of the box despite no advertising that it ran on Linux at all. The gamepad controls are solid, perhaps even stronger than the base mouse and keyboard controls on PC. I’ve found no option to change key bindings in the settings unless I’m blind and missed something. If they do exist, I apologise, although that’ll be my next feedback tip: either include keybinding changes or make them easier to access in the options menu! However, Steam Deck’s performance was solid even on a low-watt TDP setting.
This is a strange game to review because there aren’t many other games like it. I applaud creativity whenever I see it, and Mini Continental Saga makes me smile. I sincerely hope they get some attention and good reviews, because this is a surprisingly pleasant game to play, although I strongly recommend they improve the interface. It might be why it’s not getting more attention, as the menus aren’t pretty to look at. As for the 20 USD price point, I feel this is a fair price for the amount of content and options available. For a game in Early Access, it’s in a solid position. However, customers can likely find better games for that price point.
Still, I can offer Mini Continental Saga my tentative recommendation.
An oddball take on Populous with some surprising mechanical depth
Won’t win any prizes for graphics. Interface needs a lot of work
Tutorials are solid
Could not find any keybinding options
Surprisingly impressive performance with a gamepad and Steam Deck
There are probably better games out there worth the 20 USD price point, but this is still a decent game for the price!