I adore Management Sims. Between growing unfathomably complicated factories in Factorio to catering to the dark whims of Cult of the Lamb’s cute creatures, I cherish the micro-managing thrill of developing a small community into a thriving town or city.
Even so, these sims have grown rather formulaic in focusing on keeping our followers healthy, happy, and well-fed, and rarely introduce any mechanics to reinvent or revitalize this formula.
Luckily Lakeburg Legacies, a medieval management sim, takes a crack at breathing life into this genre by introducing matchmaking and dating sim elements into our management antics. With an entire cast of quirky medieval characters looking for love, we must build lasting families, settle lovers’ quarrels, and eventually produce a massive medieval kingdom from our matchmaking efforts.
Unfortunately, the humorous charm of making your followers bond over their hatred towards kittens or sending them on dates to see the next public execution wears thin as we match and rematch hundreds of bachelors.
The initial prospect of matchmaking, once a quirky new mechanic, becomes an intimidating chore as we repeat the same menial tasks with an unrewarding payoff.
Still, even if I walked away from it, ultimately dissatisfied with the repetitive grind, Lakeburg Legacies has some hilarious delight in the first few hours and addictive strategy elements that can make a silly playthrough worthwhile if we don’t mind the unforgiving tedium later on.
From Rags to Sprawling Monarchial Love
Boasting a cozy setting and narrative tone, the premise of Lakeburg Legacies centers around a lighthearted medieval town’s growth into a full-fledged kingdom through our matchmaking efforts. Though the game lacks a central story, it’s brimming with little anecdotes across our dates and narrative events from our success and failure to unite lovers.
The real charm was some of the organic side stories, like how I used my cosmic love powers to make Leona cheat on her wife with her secret lover John to increase their Lumberyard efficiency or how an elderly family chose to adopt a newly orphaned child after their parents died of the flu I failed to stop.
Overall, playing love god in the early game was a delight and led to some hilarious interactions stemming from my whimsical OTPs and strategic desire for increased broccoli production.
However, the excitement of these matches wears down as repeated dates exhaust the narrative dialogue surrounding these interactions, and the increased size of our settlement makes these more potent minor interactions forgettable.
By the 4th hour, I’d seen every story beat from people getting together, breaking apart, and dying of the plague to the point where I was increasingly bored of the interactions and stopped engaging with the matchmaking mechanic.
Overall, while I enjoyed the initial cozy premise and wacky interactions accompanying our initial growth, it wasn’t enough to sustain itself into the midgame and eventually drained itself of every narrative thread.
Management, Matchmaking, and Marriage Mayhem
With comfortable, fairly standard settlement management and a novel matchmaking element, Lakeburg Legacies had some refined, then later unbalanced, gameplay. At its core, the game centers around growing our settlement and managing our follower’s hunger, happiness, and health.
While this is somewhat standard across most settlement games, Lakeburg Legacies goes to great lengths to remove elements of busywork like clearing trees and placing buildings to focus on resource production and allocation.
Frankly, I got a kick from micromanaging followers’ skill sets and watching my lumber output jump threefold because of a few choice placements.
Meanwhile, the matchmaking element allows us to take any bachelor, regardless of sex, and marry them through a quick memory game, which has excellent nuance in balancing gaining resource-rich followers or aspiring for perfect matches.
Sure, we can force followers to marry a poorly suited master mason to increase our stone production, but the marriage will likely fail in a few years or even shorten our follower’s lifespan.
Eventually, however, this nuance goes out the window when the increasing population of children we’ve been raising grows up and we’re forced to match them as well as the widows of the last cholera outbreak, with thirty, then sixty matches at once.
Having to repeat the matchmaking minigame, again and again, becomes a grueling chore and grinds what has been our exponential growth to an utter halt.
Even if we’re careful in keeping our follower’s health, happiness, protection, morale, and faith high, I still founds dozens of my followers perishing, forcing me to repeatedly match followers or watch the progress I had made slowly begin to wither and crumble.
All-in-all, the novel mechanic that was supposed to set Lakeburg Legacies above the rest ends up becoming a pitfall that traps us in a late-game grind to endlessly match our followers lest a newly divorced lumberjack dies of homelessness, thereby crippling our wood production and stalling our progress.
While I experienced less of this monotony on future playthroughs, the matchmaking never regained its initial charm, prompting me to endure devastating tedium to keep my town alive.
Unless the developers can expedite the matchmaking mechanic that makes the game unique, our adventure will nearly always spiral into a seemingly unplayable medieval mess by the end.
Clean and Cozy Crayons
Even if its gameplay devolves into shambles by the end, Lakeburg Legacies creates a cozy, comfortable setting with enchanting visuals. With a charming hand-drawn crayon art style that invokes a more innocent, cleaner medieval setting, each follower portrait, homey house, and little workshop is brimming with adorable charm and comfort.
I delighted in seeing a new follower’s flustered or angsty portrait, reveling in the small details, like watching the picture of a character change as an adorable child would grow into a flustered adult and then a decrepit grandpa or seeing a little shack become a lavish mansion the more we upgraded it.
Even if some of the portraits are reused, and I once married a woman to her visual double, enough variety was poured into each character to forgive reused assets.
Overall, Lakeburg Legacies’ crisp visuals never ceased to delight with its comfortable kingdom of flustered folk. Though I grew incredibly disgruntled with the gameplay, the graphics’ cozy medieval charm never left me.
Fear the Fluffy Flute
While it had no phenomenal tracks or heart-wrenching themes, I enjoyed Lakeburg Legacies’ relaxing and welcoming songs. With a few main themes playing medieval-style music, the comforting sound of a flute or lute kept me comfortable as I watched a cholera outbreak wipe out half my town on my first playthrough.
Though the game has some repetitive sound alerts for each time someone gets married or listening to the sad sigh of the fortune teller when we decline a suitor, these soundbites felt appropriate for the setting and succeeded in drawing me in.
The only exception, however, would be the death sound alert that, during a crisis, would get overly repetitive, sometimes hearing it more than ten times every minute and becoming a frustrating reminder of our failures.
All-in-all, while I didn’t fall in love with Lakeburg Legacies’ music, it was still well-placed enough to draw me into the setting. I wouldn’t listen to this music outside of the game, but I still appreciate it for immersing me in this cozy medieval era.
A Mediocre Medieval UI
Like many other strategy titles, Lakeburg Legacies gets harder to run the further we are in the game. Though I never ran into any crashes, the game would aggressively stutter every time I increased the game’s speed or when someone died, sometimes taking half a second for the game to catch up.
While none of these stutters were game-breaking, they became more prominent the further we got and made me fear touching the fast-forward button.
Worse yet, the game insists on pausing everything every time a person dies. While I understand this meant we had time to rematch their widow and replace their job, it became increasingly frustrating having to re-click the fast-forward button if we were okay with individual deaths or just wanted to skip ahead towards the end.
A Matchmaker’s Misery
Lakeburg Legacies’ progression is a nightmare. To its credit, the game starts well by gradually introducing new resources like wood, stone, and broccoli as we gain new followers, meters governing health and faith, and even gold to increase factory productivity or gambling on better followers.
In the early game, we can easily manage our +10 followers, sending them on dates with each other to see remarkable changes in their production and morale. Unfortunately, by the midgame, the meters governing our follower’s health and faith become more of a nuisance in randomly killing followers that could be a lynchpin in our resource production.
By the late game, I was utterly frustrated with keeping our meters high and dealing with followers, some of whom were a perfect match to begin with, breaking up and requiring resources to spend on a new house for this divorced spouse or see them die of homelessness.
While the game makes a slight recovery in the addition of a monarchy that grants us taxes we can spend on improving resource production, we’re still at the mercy of RNG and can watch 10 of our followers die if we accidentally run out of gold and can’t pay our Guards for a single day.
All-in-all, progressing in Lakeburg Legacies was a descent into a cholera-ridden, monotonous matchmaking nightmare. Even if I enjoyed seeing the new visuals accompanying each castle and admiring our sprawling kingdom, the increasingly unbalanced gameplay becomes less novel and more pronounced towards the end.
Once More, with Less Cholera
Even if it got more monotonous, I appreciated playing through a second and third time to avoid disastrous pandemics and create lasting marriages. While the tedious matchmaking won’t go away, focusing on building a more stable settlement makes it easier to avoid game-ruining panics and remove any of the tedious mass-matchmaking we suffered the first time around.
Though it’s not worth a fourth playthrough, doing well enough grants us royal tokens to spend in the gallery on beautifully drawn art of our followers working together and falling in love. So if you want to give it another go to set things right for our lovelorn settlers and earn some lovely intimate character art, Lakeburg Legacies may be better appreciated that second time around.
Overall Pros and Cons
• Comfortable Visuals and Setting
• Hilarious Matchmaking and Dating
• Fun Love God Powers
• Rewarding Replayability
• Tedious Late Game Matchmaking
• Unpredictable Follower Casualties
• Repetitive Audio Cues and Interactions
• Unbalanced Love and Health mechanics
• Alternative Medieval Managers for Your Consideration
Frankly, Lakeburg Legacies isn’t for everyone. The tedious matchmaking, lighthearted tone, and lack of a central narrative may not be appropriate for someone looking for a more mature tale with engaging gameplay.
Fortunately, there are a variety of management sims and medieval tales that have more fascinating mechanics to keep us invested. If Lakeburg Legacies doesn’t sound like it’s up your alley, I recommend checking out the titles below:
JT spent 13.3 hours across three playthroughs matchmaking lovestruck followers, growing a single lumberyard into a sprawling medieval kingdom. He matched +300 followers, crowned two kings, and unlocked six pieces of adorable follower art in the gallery.
After watching his kingdom succumb to a cholera outbreak on the first playthrough and starve from broccoli deficiency on the second attempt, JT built a thriving civilization his third time around and relaxed watching his knights joust in his honor. JT might return for a final fourth playthrough to gather some final pieces of art and bring his time with Lakeburg Legacies to a close.
Lakeburg Legacies Review: FAQs
Question: Can I Marry Same Sex Couples in Lakeburg Legacies?
Answer: Yes! So long as a follower is 18 years or older, followers can marry any other bachelor in Lakeburg or in the surrounding countryside, regardless of sex. Even if we marry same-sex couples, they’ll adopt an infant, so our birthrate remains unchanged.
Question: How Long is Lakeburg Legacies?
Answer: While we can select different lengths governing a specific scenario beforehand, the default Lakeburg Legacies campaign is about 3-4 hours across 75 years. However, if our followers get more unhappy and or start dying, we’ll have to spend another hour or two rematching them lest our settlement falls apart.
Question: Does Lakeburg Legacies Have an Ending?
Answer: Unless we pick endless mode, Lakeburg Legacies ends after a given amount of years have passed, tallying up our prestige points and allowing us to purchase pictures in the gallery. Otherwise, once everyone in the settlement dies, the game gives us a game over screen.
Overall, even it frustrated me with its tedious matchmaking and late-game monotony. Lakeburg Legacies’ early game was fun and engaging enough that I had a great time playing love god and getting into medieval shenanigans.
Though the humor and novelty of medieval matchmaking lost its charm after the 50th marriage (and became an utter drag after the 200th match), the charming, comfy visuals in the background excellently drew me into the cozy medieval setting.
However, despite its visual allure, my experience with Lakeburg Legacies still plummeted into a medieval trench by the end, and I’d sooner have my followers die alone than matchmake another widow.
Frankly, after overhauling the matchmaking mechanic, making the health and faith meters less erratic, and having more control over keeping followers alive, Lakeburg Legacies could become a fantastic management sim rather than a medieval mess, but it has some rebalancing to do.
All-in-all, I had some fun with Lakeburg Legacies and enjoyed having the final say in my followers’ love lives even if the gameplay lost me.
While their matchmaking mechanic was an ultimate flop, I appreciate that Lakeburg Legacies tried something new to breathe life into the settlement management formula. Hopefully, we can learn from Lakeburg Legacies and find a way to make this style of game work without spiraling into lovestruck tedium.