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Robin Hood – Sherwood Builders Review – A Pleasant Surprise

Robin Hood – Sherwood Builders is an action-adventure RPG with base-building elements and is developed by MeanAstronauts and published by PlayWay S.A. It launched on Steam on February 29 and sees you take on the role of classic hero Robin Hood who stands up to the tyranny and injustice that haunts Sherwood. This is a game that really captures that medieval feel of the Robin Hood story and the visuals and gameplay really immerse you in that world.

The game’s tutorial has you learning how to gather resources and you’ll start by doing quests for Friar Tuck. The voice acting for most characters is really good. Other characters you interact with along the way are Lady Marian, Little John (who is definitely not little), Allan-a-Dale and Will Scarlet. After learning to gather stone, wood, and reeds, you need to place a certain amount of each into a warehouse container. You then move over to a workbench where you enter a base-building interface.

You can click a tree to remove, and hovering over a building will tell you it’s requirements and whether you have the space to place it in your village. The initial explorable section of the village is fixed and unchangeable, so you are growing the perimeter of the village. You need to place treehouses on specific trees to grow your worker population, and then you’ll need to gather more advanced resources as you place more buildings.

Robin Hood – Sherwood Builders is played in third person view and this is fine for the most part. I did have some janky moments when I was trying to loot tiny bags or items on the ground within tall grass. You can hold down E and it will swoop up any lootable items in your vicinity. Your inventory is limited by slot numbers as well as weight, and you can increase your carrying capacity as well as unlock a heap of bonuses in the expansive skill tree.

Your ultimate aim in Robin Hood – Sherwood Builders is to take grow your reputation in each of the four regions of Sherwood Forest and take the fight to the Sheriff of Nottingham. To do this you will follow quests, but there is a heap of points of interest on the map that you can gain reputation from. You may need to stop an execution by taking out the executioner and his guards, or there may be a bandit camp that you can clear. You can sneak through the tall grass to get into good vantage points to take killing blows with your bow. Alternatively, if there is a lone guard next to the grass, you can sneak behind them and perform an assassination in the vein of Assassin’s Creed.

Your bow is your primary weapon, but you also have swords that you can specialise in. Initially I struggled with the bow when trying to take down the fast moving does for their hides and meat. You need to lead the target and consider arrow drop over distances. You can press F to slow down time, and I found this crucial to be able to hit the does and moving bandits. You can also do light and special attacks as you unlock things in the skill tree.

The visual representation of Sherwood Forest is fantastic. There’s lush greenery, trickling streams, bustling villages, and imposing castles that create an immersive atmosphere, and it was fun to explore the wilderness and see what new POIs I could find. There are also puzzles you can solve such as pressing a sequence of blocks in the correct order to reveal a secret room, or a set of lights that you need to angle just right to open another secret. It’s these random encounters that I stumbled upon that I really enjoyed.

Overall, Robin Hood – Sherwood Builders is a delightful adventure with a lot to offer for fans of the classic tale. The story might not be its strongest suit and there’s bit of jank here and there, but this adds to the game’s charm. The village-building, resource collection, puzzles and side quests keep your interest and give you plenty of options to explore Sherwood Forest.

This review utilised a key provided by PlayWay and Robin Hood – Sherwood Builders is available now on Steam.

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