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Manage a colony of busy beavers in 'lumberpunk' city builder Timberborn

Humans aren't the only creatures that build structures that can be seen from space. So do beavers, which have constructed dams so huge they can be spotted in satellite photos. Since the 1970s, a colony of beavers in Canada have undertaken a multigenerational effort to build a dam that's twice as big as the Hoover dam. Take that, human engineers!

So it makes a certain amount of sense that beavers should have their own city building game. Enter Timberborn, a colony sim about a bunch of intelligent beavers who inhabit the Earth long after mankind has perished. Now they're the ones building cities, farming crops, and researching new technologies.

There's been a free demo available since January, and I finally got around to checking it out today. It's quite enjoyable sending beavers scurrying hither and thon to gather wood, construct buildings, and create roads, instead of your typical humans. It's also super tragic when they starve to death, which is what happened because I was so busy trying to get power lines running from a water wheel to a woodworking shop that I didn't notice they'd run out of berries. I couldn't get their carrot and potato farms harvested in time to save them, but hopefully I'll do better next time. Leave no beaver behind!

Naturally, wood is the core resource of Timberborn, but at some point you'll have to send your brave beavers out into the ruins of the old world to strip down rusting skyscrapers for metal, too. How far up the technology chain can the beavers progress? I'm not sure, but I hope the game ends with them building a wooden rocket and blasting off to find other planets with trees to nibble on.

If you want to make a bunch of beavers build a lumberpunk city, and I have a strong feeling you do, you can grab the demo here ahead of Timberborn's full release later this year.

Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring stories in RPGs so he can make up his own.