A virtual 3D world that you can fully explore with your friends in VR? Let’s get started on this A Township Tale Review.
What is A Township Tale?
A Township Tale is a multiplayer, sandbox, RPG, VR game. Your character will come upon an abandoned town and then you and other players will work towards making it a fully functioning one again. There are many different character playstyles to explore including warriors, woodcutters, blacksmiths, crafters, and miners. Township Tale is very similar to Minecraft, but with a lot better graphics!
Who Makes A Township Tale?
A Township Tale is developed by Alta. They are an Australian-based developer who has been working on A Township Tale since 2016. It is launching on the Oculus Quest 2 in July 2021 but has been active on Steam for quite some time. A Township Tale is their flagship product and the developers are very much active and involved with updates.
Which VR Headsets is A Township Tale On?
A Township Tale is available on Steam VR, Viveport, Oculus Rift, and has now recently launched on Oculus Quest 2.
A Township Tale Account Setup
You will be required to set up an account before you can start playing A Township Tale. Although you can do this in-game, I found it to be easiest to set it up on a web browser first. You will need to verify your email address and pick and pick a username. Once that is set up you will have access to the character creation screen.
Character Creation in a Township Tale
For this review, I will be discussing the Oculus Quest version. I played the PC version as well and will discuss some of those differences later on. Oculus Quest 2 screenshots always look a bit off, and mine here are no exception. The in-game experience is way less red than you see here.
There is a pretty cool character creator in A Township Tale. You will be able to select from the various option on the side. Simply pick the item up and place it on your character. If you want to remove something you can grab it and drop it. Once the character looks the way you want it to you will then be able to use the colors and paintbrushes to change the colors of everything on your character.
This is where you will also use your “Talems”. These are the paid-in-game currency to unlock neat character customizations. This is completely optional but will allow you to purchase these premium cosmetic items.
How do I Save My Character Design in A Township Tale?
The first few times I played this my specially designed character kept getting reset each time I tried to do the tutorial. This was pretty frustrating until I realized there was a save machine for this purpose.
This device on the left side of the screen has a knob on the front that allows you to save your template character design. Turn the knob and a statue will appear. Pick this up and place it on the right side area where the numbers 1-10 are. Next time you load in, you can pick your character template from here.
After you’ve created your character walk up to the rocks and stand on the circle for a few moments while the blue under you loads up and the Main Menu will be visible.
A Township Tale Tutorial
Now you can start the tutorial. This will be a frustrating area for many based on the current release, but I will walk you through it here.
You are placed in the starter world where you will have some tasks to accomplish before you can start the main game. This section could use some work as I found many things not explained at all and other things explained in great detail.
To start you will need to make a bag. At the first house, you come to, there will be many sticks, rocks, and grass on the ground. You will need to reach down and actually pick these up with your hands. I had to get my height setting adjusted from the Oculus menu a few times to make sure that everything was at a reachable angle when sitting down. Once that was done, I walked around picking up sticks and grass and placed them into the 4 circled areas at my side as temporary holding areas.
Rocks took a bit longer to figure out, unfortunately. Although I grabbed them, smashed buttons, and pulled them, they didn’t move. I finally realized you really need to PULL the rock out of the ground by a big motion. A small pull will do nothing. It needs to pull from the ground up to your head for example. Then you will have the rocks.
Now you can start making a bag in the house nearby. Again there really are not any instructions here on what you need to do. There is a sign about food, but I don’t see any food anywhere. It’s obvious to place two sticks into the floating picture, but when you get to the 3rd stick things don’t seem to be working. Two tiny blue nails appear. I repeatedly hit the nails with my hands. Nothing happens. Do I have to make nails? Do I need a hammer?
Things were not explained and I expect quite a few users are going to get this far and get pretty frustrated. I watched 2 of my friends go through this to see their response and both of them got stuck at this box-making and gave up.
How to Move Between Pouches in A Township Tale
This is also not explained very well. Put a bunch of the same item into one of your inventory spots. Then hold your hand over it and press the grab button it should turn into a pouch. Now you need to repeat the same steps for a different area on your inventory.
So for example, get 3 sticks in 1 inventory spot and 3 different sticks in another inventory spot. Pull both of these out into a pouch in each hand and then use the joystick to push items from one pouch to another. Move something 5 times to complete this. You seriously don’t want to know how long it took me to do this.
How To Make a Hammer In A Township Tale
You will need to take 1 rock and attach it to 1 stick to make a basic hammer in A Township Tale. Even though 1 rock looks like a pretty good hammer to me, you actually can use 2. The same goes for other items, like an ax. You can attach 2 flints. The 2 stones version allows you to have a larger surface area to hammer items together. Now that you have a hammer you can finish off making the bag.
How you hit the nails actually matters though, and if you hit the stick behind it while hammering you might break the stick. Nothing really explains this, the sticks just disappear. I wasn’t sure if this was a glitch. Maybe it is a glitch? Nothing is really explained to know for sure. The actual hitbox for the hammering is pretty small and specific. Get ready to have sticks break. I saw many users very frustrated.
Once you’ve done the bag you will have a whole bunch more areas to explore. The one area has a bunch of boxes that you will need to place your hand on and hold down a button until it turns blue. Not explained again. This will be a theme.
I went around helping new users I found in there for a while, but overall saw many lost users. Sadly, It will not be a great start for many. This entire tutorial needs a re-do in my opinion. I am all for learning how a game works and not explaining every detail, but I need a little bit of information in the FORCED tutorial to figure out how things are done. This is the introduction to the game, explain everything, make it simple, get me hooked, then throw me in to figure everything out. Dev’s please work on this part!
A Township Tale Gameplay Review
Once I got through the tutorial I was finally able to start accessing the real game.
After playing with a bunch more not-explained directions for creating your own world, I set up my own private server and jumped in.
The world is pretty neat. The world looks like a cartoon 3D VR landscape with blue skies, rolling mountains, trees, and hills. Does the cartoon feel weird? Nope. I like that it had the fantasy feel to it and wasn’t trying to be the next AAA Blockbuster title. It was cool to just be in a fantasy world, walking around and interacting with stuff.
I walked along a path for a short while until I got to an abandoned town. There is a ton of things here to look at and explore. Almost right away I was attacked by a small bird. It flew right at me and then I went on a wild chase after it, trying to kill it. It was a really interactive and cool experience that had me smiling from ear to ear. Then I was able to eat the spoils of my victory against the bird.
Eating in the game is really fun. You hear a munching noise and see small food flying up. More than once I caught myself opening my mouth in real life when I was eating the food. Really enjoyed that simple mechanic.
After that everything was very overwhelming. There are literally so many different things to look at and explore and after I had just fought my way through the tutorial I really wasn’t ready to start another portion of “what the heck am I supposed to do”. I put it down for the day. Your experience may vary.
I recall when I started Minecraft for the first time and was equally overwhelmed. After a very brief tutorial, Minecraft (at the time) just let you figure things out. I could watch a kid play Minecraft and they would have no issues with it, but initially, I had no idea what I was doing. Then you watch a few YouTubes and play a few hours and the next thing you know you’ve invested days of your life into Minecraft. I imagine A Township Tale will have a similar result.
A Township Tale Multiplayer Experience
The next time I played a Township Tale, I invited some friends to play with me. Again this is an entire experience to get a party going. There is no simple “Add your friend to your world from the friend menu”, you have to individually type in their name and add them. It might be best to hop into an existing same-named server to get started.
I feel multiplayer is where the game will really shine. There are not many open-world games in VR yet, and certainly, not many that you can play with your friends or kids. A Township Tale fills this need.
You can experience some serious roleplaying in this RPG. Join a town and pick a role you want to be in. Then you will have endless hours to explore and figure things out. There will be many steps to most things. Gathering items, learning recipes, and crafting ingredients. If you play on a helpful server there will be lots of people you can talk to and interact with.
No Block and No Mute
Voice chat is on by default for all players. You can mute yourself. Unfortunately, A Township Tale has NO block and NO mute others voice functions. This is part of the “helpful nature” that the game is supposed to be played as to be successful, but in the real world, people will have insane background noise, be abusive and vulgar, or come running up and steal your stuff that you just spent an hour working to make. (Sorry that item is now gone – happened to me twice in the tutorial). There is no reporting system and only the admins of the server can kick people.
Minecraft and Don’t Starve Together (other comparable social survival building games but not in VR) are text chat only, but even they allowed muting players and vote-kicking griefers. Voice chat just brings the potential for abuse up a notch. Having no way to deal with abuse, even in a social VR game where teamwork is required, is not a great idea, especially for women and younger players. I am not exactly sure how A Township Tale made it to this point without these items, but be aware if you are on a public server of trolls, griefing, and abuse.
If you play on a private server with your friends this will obviously not be an issue, but perhaps the downfall here, is that unless you are watching a lot of Youtube walkthroughs, you will have no idea how to actually play the game. You need to interact on those public servers to learn how things are really done effectively. That or the game needs to step up and make clearer tutorials and UI. This no block/mute feature will be a huge downside for many.
Difference between PC and Oculus Quest Version of a Township Tale
The Oculus Quest version will cost $9.99USD one time with the option of becoming a supporter and a subscription fee. This will give you some in-game currency. You also get your own private server to start playing on. This is pretty important as I mentioned if you just want to hang out with friends and family and not deal with trolls.
The PC version is available for Free. It is not in the Steam store, but available via their private launcher here. You still need a PCVR headset to play it. The graphics are of course going to be better quality in the PC version, but I didn’t feel it was lacking in the Quest version, there are just fewer shaders. I also found the controls were much easier to use and more intuitive on PCVR. You will need to be a supporter in order to get a private server in the PCVR version though. That has a few different prices but $9.99 monthly is the basic price. You can of course play the PCVR version through virtual desktop and your Oculus and PC.
People who love Minecraft will obviously be thrilled with a real 3D-type version. Generally, a younger crowd likes Minecraft, so adding in some of these basic block/mute features would help with abuse in both directions. Those who like gathering, crafting, MMO, and RPG will also have a good time here.
How long is A Township Tale?
That’s one of the best parts of this game. For a really inexpensive price, you can be playing with your friends or strangers for endless hours of crafting and gathering fun. There really is no limit to gameplay. Tons of replayability.
Can you play A Township Tale Sitting Down?
Yes! A Township Tale will most likely be played sitting down although you may have some issues with placing items on your belt or pulling items out of the floor. Adjust your height to get the best results and stand if you need to for some things. You can also play it standing, but the in-game movement is done with a joystick or teleportation.
Can you work out with A Township Tale? Is A Township Tale a Fitness Game?
Perhaps not surprisingly, harvesting all these resources can get you a bit of a workout in! Especially in professions like woodchopper or miner. You will need to be swinging your arms with great speed many times in order to do these activities.
You will also be bending down to the ground to pick things up pretty regularly. Everyone I asked who played it said they were sweating. It can help you get your cardio in for the day playing a game!
Does A Township Tale cause motion sickness?
I didn’t have any issue with the basic settings.
A Township Tale may cause motion sickness issues, but use the many in-game settings to adjust and get comfortable.