Cast yourself back a few hundred years to 15th century Italy, where artists roam free and paint inspiring masterpieces for all comers. It is a fine time to be alive, but there’s always room to make more Florins, and the best way of doing that? Setting up your own guild of painters to produce fantastic pieces of art for those willing to pay through the nose for them. That is the idea behind Lucas Molina’s Painters Guild, and it pulls in simulation, management and even historical aspects to form a different type of simulation game.
You start off as just one painter in a single room, painting things for people that arrive at your door, but as you improve, you’ll be able to expand your building and your group of creative geniuses, meaning with a little hard work you could grow to be the most prestigious and profitable painters in all of Italy. Of course, everything comes at a price, and not only will your painters demand a wage, but they’ll also get into brushes with the law or death that will require you to pay for bribes or doctors to keep them at their productive best, so ensuring you’re able to afford everything while still attempting to improve can be a challenging task.
You’ll be able to choose your artists – all given a star rating out of five – from an almost bottomless pool of artists. The majority are generated, and can be found by searching your little town, your county or even the entire country depending on your budget, and the more expensive your search is, the higher the likelihood of finding a little genius. However, the five star artists are not limited to the larger, more costly search, as you are able to find a rough diamond even with the cheapest of searches – and when that happens, it really does feel good. There are some non-generated artists to choose from as well though, as some of the most famous artists from the era will become available for you to choose from. Such renowned artists like Botticelli and da Vinci all become available and are a guaranteed five star should you wish to take them on, but their services do come at a price – a princely sum of nine hundred Florins, plus their annual wage is what you’ll have to pay to convince them to paint for your guild. If you’re struggling to find the greater artists with your searches and you’ve got a lot of spare money, then they definitely are worth having around as they’ll provide you with beautiful artwork as well as teaching the younger artists.
In addition to the randomly generated painters and the nods to the historical painters, there are a few other mechanics in the game that make it a joy to play. Firstly, there are five different styles that artists can specialise in, and these will cycle through in various seasons which will boost the value of artwork created during this season, which means having a well rounded team of artists is important if you want to maximise profits. Another great part of the game is the different commissions you may be asked to do. There are plenty of paintings to crack on with, coming in four different sizes, but you may also be asked to paint a building, with each artist taking on one room. These are generally highly paid, but any painter you choose to paint the building will be unavailable to paint anything else for you while they are away painting murals for the requested building, meaning you may well want to leave a couple of people behind just to make sure all of the people who visit you don’t leave annoyed.
There’s very little to actually dislike with this game. The only bit that may irritate some players is that it is rather shallow, as you will only ever see the one single screen for the entirety of the game, and provided you have enough Florins, you will be able to keep yourself and your guild up and running, which may be a little easy for some. However it is billed as a casual game, for you to dip in and out of as you wish and so expecting great depth is more something that would be foolish on the part of the player than a failing of the game.
With its appealing aesthetics and enjoyable gameplay, Painters Guild is a solid game. It provides you with a bunch of adorable painters that you will get attached to, as well as some soothing and calming music which complements the game perfectly and makes everything seem manageable. The game never feels like it’s rushing you, neither does it ever feel too easy. You’re able to dismiss requests from people if you feel they aren’t doable by your artists, so you can really take the game at your own pace, which is definitely something that a lot of games lack these days. Painters Guild is simple, fun and addictive, so it’s definitely one to pick up.