7 Grand Steps is to put it honestly, a rather unique experience. Think of a single player board game, mixed with some city organisation and some people management mixed into it. All together you have the formula for a rather interesting game.
The gameplay takes place on a rotating board, where you control your character and your character’s husband or wife. The objective is to collect coins that are scattered on the different tiles of the board. To move around the board, you must consume a token, which then takes you to the next available corresponding space. To create tokens, you need to move backwards to the next character pawn. You need to be careful, however, as falling too far behind leads to society’s crocodiles: Oblivion, Inadequacy, Blunder and Poverty.
When you collect enough tokens, you enter a dialogue sequence. This is the story element to the game, and as it is a player driven narrative you can become quite attached to the family you are controlling. You can influence the deeds performed by your character, allowing them to become a local hero, inventor of new technology (and gain bonus tokens), or advance your family’s social standing, allowing yourself to get closer to the goal of ruling the city.
The game sounds rather complicated when you outline all the rules at once, which is why the game gradually teaches them to you at a welcomed steady pace. As you advance through the generations of your family, you are taught more and more game mechanics. This not only increases the difficulty, but give the original simple idea a creative and wonderful twist. You soon have to juggle arranging marriages, treating your children fairly whilst fulfilling your own life goals.
The game is unique and fun, and is able to hold off feeling repetitive due to the addition of new mechanics and the evolving board. Additionally once you’ve reached the status of a noble, a whole new game is unlocked. While this first appears to be a mini game, it is surprising how complex and interesting a simple concept can evolve.
It does however seem like luck plays a major part in these games. This can lead to some frustrating times for example when your family becomes dishonoured due to an event you’ve had no control over although, this can reflect the lessons learnt in real life too.
Overall, 7 Grand Steps is a very unique game, unlike anything played in recent times. While it may be for a more niche market, this game could blossom on tablets, as gameplay would migrate well to touch screens and is well suited to being played in short bursts while on the move. While the game may eventually become repetitive for some people, and luck plays too major a factor in your success, the creators behind 7 Grand Steps have created something that is truly unique and fun to play, and is well worth the money.
+ A truly unique game
+ Complex, yet easy to pick up
+ Fun interactive story
- Luck plays too much of a role
- Ruling takes a lot of dedication which may put players off