Ark of Charon

Ark of Charon – Roguelike Colony Management Game

What is Ark of Charon? It’s kind of a blend of colony simulation and tower defense where you guide a giant, lumbering tree on a desperate journey. You’re the caretaker, overseeing a crew of helpful golems who transform the tree’s back into a mobile fortress. It’s a neat concept, but it has issues.

First, the good news. Ark of Charon ditches the usual city-building tutorial overload. You get helpful tips on the side, but at your own pace. This is especially welcome in early access, where things are bound to change.

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The core gameplay loop is interesting. You spend calm periods establishing your base, building structures, assigning tasks to your golems (think RimWorld-lite, without direct control), and growing crops. But looming over you is a literal storm – a dark force that chases you on, forcing you to pack up and move to the next area.

The building system is surprisingly versatile. You can construct basic wooden rooms for your golems or even go fancy with side-ways constructions (if your materials can handle it). Resource management is key – strip-mining an area and then moving on is oddly satisfying.

The art style is adorable, and watching your little golems run around at triple speed is strangely hypnotic;). It injects a touch of lightheartedness into a game with a darker premise.

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Unfortunately, Ark of Charon isn’t without its issues. The biggest culprit is the English translation. It’s clear the developers aren’t native speakers, leading to confusing terms like “growth rate” not referring to actual growth. A good polish would go a long way.

The difficulty curve is another concern. While the initial challenge is refreshing, pushing you to adapt quickly, the enemy strength ramps up way too fast. You’re constantly on the back foot, desperately trying to optimize your downtime before the next storm hits. This turns the race against time into a frustrating scramble, especially since the combat itself can be a bit clunky.

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Then there’s the issue of the giant tree creature, Thistle. While the visuals of it lumbering from place to place are impressive, it feels like a missed opportunity. There’s no real connection with Thistle – it’s just a means to an end. Games like The Wandering Village do a much better job of making you care about your mobile base.

Ark of Charon: Despite its flaws, Ark of Charon has the potential to bloom into something special. The core concept is intriguing, and the building mechanics offer a decent foundation. But the frustrating difficulty and lack of character need addressing.If the developers can smooth out the rough edges, add some narrative depth, and tweak the balance, Ark of Charon could become a truly unique and engaging experience. For now, it's a fun experiment with a few growing pains. Tom Henry

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