Review of Preserve: A Charming Nature-Building Puzzle Game

I recently played the demo for Preserve, an upcoming nature-building puzzle game developed by Bitmap Galaxy and published by Grindstone. The game markets itself as a relaxing and immersive experience, and after spending around an hour with the demo I can wholeheartedly agree.

Crafting Your Own Ecosystem

Preserve a colorful, miniature island with various terrain types in a Nature-Building Puzzle Game setting, featuring hexagonal tiles in a board game environment.
Preserve demo

At its core, Preserve is all about strategically placing plants and animals to create a thriving, balanced ecosystem. The demo gives you a taste of this mechanic within a single biome, offering a limited selection of flora and fauna to experiment with. While the full game promises substantially more variety, the demo provides a solid introduction to the concept.

I found myself engrossed in the challenge of finding the perfect arrangement for my ecosystem, considering the symbiotic relationships between each element.

The controls are intuitive, and the visual feedback is clear, making the process both engaging and rewarding.

However, I did experience a small learning curve after the short tutorial ended, spending a few minutes trying to get the habitat right for my goat and boar. Some additional explanations on mouseover, such as the number of animals that can inhabit a certain number of tiles, would be helpful.

Charming Visuals and Serene Ambiance

A screenshot of a hex-based strategy game Preserve featuring various biomes and resource management elements, with a focus on preserve.
Preserve demo

One of the standout features of Preserve is its charming art style. The game’s graphics are absolutely beautiful, with vibrant colors and intricate details bringing the world to life.

The demo showcases a lush, inviting environment that makes you want to explore and create. Placing down the animals and bees to see them settle into the environment I built for them gives a nice hit of dopamine.

The pleasant music and spot-on nature sounds further enhance the serene ambiance, creating a relaxing and immersive experience.

The only issue I encountered was that the nighttime in the game was very dark, making it difficult to see what I was doing or where I was placing cards. Fortunately, there’s an option to turn off the day/night cycle in the settings.

A Glimpse of Creative Mode

Isometric view of a hexagonal tile-based island floating above water with various biomes and a game ui displaying resource cards.
Preserve Creative mode

In addition to the main gameplay, the demo also includes a limited preview of Creative mode. This sandbox-style mode allows you to freely create your own habitats without constraints.

Even with the limited options available in the demo, I found this mode to be a lot of fun, hinting at the potential for endless creativity in the full release.

Satisfying Gameplay Loop

As I played through the demo, I could see how Preserve could easily become addictive. There’s something incredibly satisfying about creating the ideal habitat for a swarm of bees or watching your ecosystem thrive as you carefully balance each element. The demo strikes a nice balance between being accessible and offering a engaging challenge.

Based on my experience with the demo, Preserve is shaping up to be a charming and relaxing nature-building puzzle game.

The core gameplay mechanic of strategically placing plants and animals to create a balanced ecosystem is both engaging and rewarding, while the beautiful visuals and serene ambiance create a truly immersive experience.

Preserve Release Date

Although the demo is on the easier side and can be completed in around 60 minutes, it provides a promising glimpse of what the full game has to offer.

The release schedule for Preserve is slated for Q3 of this year, and I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on it as the launch nears. In the meantime, Wishlist the game on Steam and visit the official website for news and updates.

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Harriet Gough
Over 20 years' experience as a writer and games journalist. Avid gamer and enjoy a wide range of game genres including MMOs, FPS and RTS. My favorite games include Warframe, Skyrim, Destiny 2, CoD and Age of Empires.

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