I rarely pipe on about developers, I'm a believer that the proofs in the pudding. If a game's enjoyable, it's because it's enjoyable. However, in my experience Renegade Game Studios is a developer that does deliver (in my experience anyway!). From the tactics and lightness of Arboretum, to the deck building anarchy of Clank! In! Space!, you've got a strong contender when they make a game.
Aquicorn Cove, releasing in Autumn, is a co-operative, family game based around saving the ocean and its inhabitants. The game is for 2-4 players and should take around an hour to play. The story goes that you return to a seaside town of your youth and a storm has ruined everything.
Aquicorn Cove - What we Know
Your job as a player is to help conserve the ocean and rebuild the destroyed settlement. The storm has brought disaster to the area and you need to fix it! Of course, things are not that simple, and storms aren't the only thing threatening the reef, there is a risk things could get worse. Incredibly, whilst searching the broken beaches you discover a colony of Aquicorns - magical seahorse like creatures! there is no doubt that should the beach degrade and the reef dwindle, these creatures would be at great risk.
From an immediate glance, the game is gorgeously illustrated. It is based on a graphic novel by Katie O'Neill, published by Oni Press, and its artwork reflects that style. It looks extremely approachable and fun with its vibrant colours and artwork. Within the game you'll need to manage the repairs and help conserve the reef, and no doubt this will be a battle against time! You need to work together to preserve the environment of the fishing village and repair damage done over time. The Aquicorns, the mystical beasts that live in the ocean near he village, are there to help you. But to best utilise them, you must ensure they are healthy too! Balancing the ecosystem of the reef whilst repairing the village will be a challenge!
Components for Aquicorn Cove include character cards, villager cards, event cards, storm dice and wooden Aquicorn miniatures. Just from this you know there will definitely be elements of hand management and you'll need to deal with ongoing effects. On top of that is the boat space tiles, resource bag tokens, fishing bag and tiles, and pollution cards. This gives me the strong impression that co-operation isn't a choice for this game, which increases that high sense of working together to preserve and conserve.
The game has a strong theme of conservation to it, and in today's day and age that's brilliant. We only have one planet, and if we screw it up there are no do-overs. In this game, the players will learn how humans impact the environment and the consequences of not maintaining balance. As with reality, there is a balance between these two ecosystems. If we pollute too much then the fish won't be there, but fish too much and the reef's ecosystem will also suffer. A delicate balancing act indeed.
Being a brilliant developer or publisher doesn't automatically make all your games great quality. And I've never purchased a game because of its developer. But seeing Aquicorn Cove being developed by a producer of continually high-quality games does make me smile. Only a bit though. If you're a fan of co-operative, approachable games then this is one to keep an eye on! And keep an eye out for any Aquicorns this summer, they're rare you know!