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 [BLOG] Indie Game Review: FreeHolder 
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I like games with a little random element to it. Give me choices and give me various outcomes that come from them, and let me figure out the best way to handle this. Win or lose by my own choices.



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FreeHolder is one of those games, setting you in the role of 3 recently escapes slaves trying to make a living for themselves on a small farmstead in the time of Romans. Every year you will have a goal of money and grown wheat to meet to keep your farm. As you go along, your characters level up and gain new abilities to help you keep up with this, as well as being able to accumulate new tiles of land around your farmstead (which granted does push up rent, but also maximises places to gain resources).



There are a few goals to keep in mind. You must of course plan your months of the year wisely to ensure you have grown enough wheat to meet the tariff. You must keep an eye on the money you have and try to make yourself more than enough just in case. You need to make sure there is enough food to feed all your characters and keep them healthy, fuel to heat the housing in the winter months, building materials in case you want to construct new buildings or paddocks, reagents in case someone is ill and so much more. Add to this that some food items are perishable and need to be eaten first otherwise you lose it entirely. At first it's a bit confusing to figure out, but once you know where to find things you can probably keep your stock up high enough to not have problems.



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There are areas outside of the farmstead of course, and these consist of a number of small towns you can go to gain information and make use of opportunities, a tavern where you can meet various... interesting characters, and the main city where the main market is located and where you will likely be selling on extra supplies to mount up your monetary total. Believe me, set someone aside to keep doing that at least once a month and you will do well, but make sure you don't sell things you might need.



The game is a little bit confusing to play at first, as the direction is a little lacking. The market interface especially took me a while to figure out. Once you know what to do though, the game plays very well. It does its best to give you as much information as possible, although it is usually the more important stuff such as "you need this much wheat and money". Each character is assigned a certain number of 'turn' slots they can use per month, with a few actions taking more than one of these. Using them wisely is key as the move slots do not pass over from month to month; and these slots get reduced if a character is ill.



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FreeHolder is available now on Steam Early Access (which means the game could change a lot from the version I've reviewed now) from $9.99 or £6.99 - and there's even a demon available if you wish to try before you buy. I would recommend this game, as it's a decent little game and I don't see many turn-based roguelikes based in the Roman Empire era.



7.5/10




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