The weirdest factor about Lumberjack’s Dynasty – in a really lengthy checklist of unusual issues – are the overheard snippets of dialog as you strategy the sport’s numerous NPCs. As you around the crest of a hill you would possibly listen in on a neighbour muttering one thing about how “everyone seems to be speaking about it”. Stroll up the drive of your aunt’s home and he or she’ll be whispering “sure, it should all be out within the open quickly” to your uncle, earlier than they each cease mid-conversation and slowly rotate on the spot like a pair of rotisserie chickens to face you.
Innocuous at first, these throwaway strains of dialogue infuse an in any other case tranquil simulation recreation about chopping down timber with a sort of chaotic, paranoid vitality. The type that hits you twenty minutes later as you’re chainsawing via a birch and suppose, what horrible secret are these individuals hiding? Your auntie seems like the type who might need mailed talcum powder to her state senator within the 1960s in response to a parking ticket. Your uncle seems like he’s stepped out of a montage of potential suspects in a Netflix documentary a few pair of teenage women who went lacking within the woods – you realize, the man calmly hosing down the again of his pick-up truck at two within the morning.
You may have the choice to refuse to just accept possession of this extremely suspicious couple’s extremely suspicious logging operation, however all that does is ready you unfastened in a piece of countryside frozen in time, an indelible goal marker hanging over your aunt and uncle’s home just like the sword of Damocles. Attempt as you would possibly to keep away from your destiny, it’s inevitable that you simply take up the mantle of lumberjack and, by extension, grow to be complicit in no matter unspeakable crime the locals are protecting up.
Potential hitchhiker our bodies on the backside of the lake however, the intentions of the NPCs are extra straightforwardly exploitative on a each day foundation. You might be younger blood, recent from the large metropolis and looking for that means and objective up right here within the mountains. You might be additionally the one particular person inside a ten miles radius who owns a nail gun, which you’ll use to restore the handfuls of dilapidated houses, barns and potential homicide shacks of your chore-averse neighbours.
Nearly each construction in Lumberjack Dynasty has fallen into disrepair lengthy earlier than your arrival, requiring that you simply spend tedious actual world hours skirting round each final inch of roof and wall clicking on tons of of hovering restore icons till the job is accomplished and all of the unused dopamine in your physique has hardened right into a form of crust. That is the way you procure the assorted tractors and trailers it’s essential to finally haul your logs round, by repeatedly bartering your nail gun companies in an apparently cashless and economically devastated county, one deserted by any sort of loving god and left to rot within the responsible stench of its personal barely hid ethical decay.
Right here’s how you chop down timber. You place your chainsaw at one facet of the trunk and drag the mouse cursor steadily via it, not too quick and never too sluggish, till the tree’s structural integrity is compromised. Now at this level you’ll be able to attempt to dash beneath the falling trunk to be crushed to loss of life below its oaken weight, simply to really feel one thing, however the tumbling wooden bounces off you as if it’s fabricated from styrofoam. No straightforward escapes right here. You then take away the branches by holding down the mouse button over them for a bit, earlier than slicing the completely humiliated tree right into a collection of straightforward to handle logs.
Of all of the lumberjack simulators I’ve performed, that is essentially the most satisfying depiction of jacking lumber that I’ve discovered. I’m not being facetious once I say that the excitement of the chainsaw and the strained creak of the falling wooden awakens in me some primal urge to put on a verify shirt, drink whiskey out of a tin can and crush pine cones between my ass cheeks. That each one of this lumberjacking enterprise takes place in a really crudely simulated world, full with a day-night cycle and a menacing inhabitants of badly voiced locals – as if Tim and Eric had been put in command of casting Stardew Valley – contextualises the exhausting work you’re doing in a manner that different sims don’t.
Your freshly made logs, which you’ll chuck within the river the place they float downstream to the lumber yard to be dried and lower into planks, aren’t offered off to some invisible, off-screen conglomerate. Somewhat they’re used to construct the assorted decks and gazebos of your wood-hungry neighbours, or shredded into chipboard to kind a budget inside partitions of some shoddily constructed housing simply down the street. Lumberjack’s Dynasty goals to be a extra holistic simulation of the lifetime of a lumberjack, one which’s not restricted by a slim give attention to what every of the buttons on the dashboard of a particular wood-chopping tractor does, however as an alternative takes a wider view encompassing the way it should really feel to personal a chainsaw and couple of timber.
On the street map are numerous deliberate options, most of which increase on the life simulation facet of issues, equivalent to the power to boost animals, or to discover a spouse who will keep at dwelling cooking meals for you. However for all its laudable ambition to reset gender roles to the 1960s, this wonky early entry lumberjack sim is gentle on options, riddled with bugs and customarily disagreeable to play for very lengthy.
It quickly turns into apparent that the countless quests to nailgun strangers’ sheds again collectively aren’t what’s standing between you and the remainder of the sport, however that they are the sport. You aren’t simply the city’s new lumberjack, however the city’s prize chump-for-hire. And that, you’ll start to suspect, is the horrible secret all people is speaking about behind your again.