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Review for The Flow 
 PostFri Feb 23, 2018 12:52 am
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This is a review of The Flow.

The Flow is an economy simulator created for the OHR 2018 One-Room Contest by Kiefer Nemeth aka kylekrack (Crusty’s Heyday, Fear Tactics, Sprout, Stand).

The music sounds great, especially the piano and strings (though some of the syncopated drumming is a little jarring and the clip doesn’t loop very smoothly). The graphics are minimal and serviceable. The real attraction here is the economy system. It takes the form of a “shopping mall” of sorts. The in-game tutorial text states:

“Each merchant has goods it produces and goods it buys. Your job is to Take goods from manufacturers to those who need them. Each step you take will count towards time where manufacturers attempt to produce goods.”

For example one merchant sells Meat and Leather but buys Food and Plows; whereas another sells Food but buys Meat, Knives, and Ovens. You sell items by talking to the merchant, you buy items by examining their stock and inputting the quantity you’d like to purchase. I had a lot of trouble with the prompt not accepting my input, but found I could usually make it work by subdividing my purchases (buying 5 items twice, instead of buying 10 items once). Also, the merchant’s available funds and merchandise can rapidly fall into the negative. I can understand a merchant with debt, but I’m not sure I understand a merchant with -1 Iron.

It’s a burden being solely responsible for all these clueless merchants’ livelihoods (who thought it was a good idea to set up an entire market district especially for one customer?). At first I thought “I guess I’ll buy your Bricks so you can afford to buy my Iron! Poor fellow doesn’t have a sustainable business model for a brick company.” But then I thought “Hey, you just took my Stone without paying! Screw your crappy business!”

This is a really super neat idea that I’d like to see finished. It’s just hard to discern how the game expects you to distribute the community’s resources for them, and once they start going into debt it’s pretty much all over. I’m probably just doing it wrong.
...spake The Lord Thy God.
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