Caravanserail Review

Based on what I've read about caravanserails, this doesn't look like a very good one.
  • Reviewed by: Mark Goninon
  • Developer: Jerome Bodin
  • Publisher: Jerome Bodin
  • Release Date: 26 February 2016
  • Time played: 1 hour

I must once again thank generous Steam buddy Mix-Master for giving me a spare key last month so that I could finally experience Caravanserail. So, thank you! I'm not quite sure what attracted me to wanting this game but I seem to have a soft spot for games that involve trading I suppose – probably why I like the board game "Settlers of Catan" too, despite me being terrible when it comes to the actual trading part of the game…

So what's Caravanserail all about? Well caravans pass by your stand offering to buy or sell various goods like incense, fruit, gems, pottery, etc. and you have to make a profit by buying the goods low from one caravan and then selling them high to another. This is especially easy when you've got a caravan only a few camels away that has a price listed for an item you've already purchased which is higher than the purchase price. For example, you may have bought some pottery for 80 gold from one caravan but then the caravan straight after it has a price of 120 gold for pottery. What you do is purchase the pottery for 80 gold, increase the price to 120 (or slightly more) then wait for that caravan to pass by where it should purchase the pottery for 120 gold giving you 40 gold profit. The goal of each level is to earn a certain amount of gold and occasionally it's about increasing your standing with a faction instead, which ultimately involves selling goods too. Later on in the game you'll have to worry about other things such as spending money to upgrade your fort (so it doesn't get raided by bandits) and the ability to manufacture more valuable goods from cheaper goods, but besides that, the game is very much all about buying low and selling high.

What I like:

WTF is a Caravanserail?

Thanks to this game, I learned something new today: I've learned what a caravanserail actually is. A "caravanserail" seems to be the French spelling of "caravanserai" or "caravansary" which is a city improvement you can build in Civilization V. Only joking! Well, actually no I'm not, it is a city improvement in Civilization V and playing Civilization V was the first time I've ever encountered the word. But what does it really mean? Well, it's basically just a roadhouse or roadside inn that was used by caravans along popular trade routes. Many of these were built in ancient Persia which is where the word derives from.

So thanks to playing this game and typing up this review, I now have another word I can add to my vocabulary. Cheers Monsieur Bodin!

Simple, casual fun

The game is very simple to pick up and the entire game feels like a tutorial to a degree, slowly easing you into how the game works by gradually introducing new features (which gives you ample time to get accustomed to them).

Totally mouse driven

The game can be played with just a mouse, which is fantastic :).

Funky Arabic music

The game has some funky Arabic tunes and you gotta love that goblet drum. The music can get repetitive after a while though.

Developed using Unity

The game is developed using Unity and consequently showcases its capabilities in developing 2D indie games.

What I dislike:

Mindless clicking

You're going to be spending a lot of your time frantically clicking various parts of the screen as you buy goods, set sale prices on the goods, pay to reinforce your fort and manufacture new goods. All the while you'll be watching the caravan in the foreground, perched like a falcon, ready to snatch a juicy deal, although the caravan will travel faster and faster over time making it a bit more challenging. The whole game feels like it'd be a good training exercise for those who want to increase their Actions per Minute (APM), at least with the mouse.

Very short

Just when you're getting the hang of the game, it ends abruptly after only 10 levels. It's not really a lot to play and you'll have experienced all the game has to offer in only one hour.

No Steam Leaderboards

A game like Caravanserail could really benefit from introducing Steam Leaderboards since this would increase the lasting appeal of the game an encourage replays. Having leaderboards which list the quickest finishing times for each level would be a good place to start.

No Steam Achievements and Trading Cards

While it might seem a bit silly to have Steam achievements and Steam Trading Cards for such a short game, at least it would help with the game's longevity.

Score – 5/10 (Average)

The core game is actually quite a unique concept and isn't that bad a game if you're looking for a mindless, little distraction. However, the game is far too short and there is no incentive to return and play the game for more than an hour.

Is the game worth $2.99 USD?: No. The price is a bit steep for what you get (which is only an hour's worth of entertainment). Wait until it goes on sale for a dollar if you desperately want to give it a shot.

If you like this game, you might like…

[ LINK: Caravanserail Steam Store Page ]