GamesGames reviewsMade in Ukraine: Ostriv game review

Made in Ukraine: Ostriv game review


The best game about Ukraine. The most anticipated Ukrainian game. A game about Ukrainians and only. A strategy about a Ukrainian village. That’s what people say about Ostriv, a simulation of a young 18th-century town in Slobozhanshchyna that promotes our culture and aesthetics. And it was created by one person.

Today, we are going to understand what the early version is, what features and benefits it has. We will tell you what is already in the game, what is missing, and how interesting it is. We will summarise it all with our own feelings about the gameplay.


History of creation

Work on the project began in 2014, when a young and, it must be said, talented developer from Kharkiv, Yevhen, decided to create his dream game – the best real-time urban economic strategy. The choice of theme – the development of an 18th-century Ukrainian settlement – was largely determined by the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian armed conflict.

The Island is an urban planning strategy that premiered on 19 March 2020 (early access). It was developed by one person for the PC platform. Owned by yevhen8.

By 2018, the game managed to become popular among fans of the genre. Enthusiasts began to contact the author with offers to help in the development, and in 2020, an early version began to be sold on Steam and GOG. Now it tops the TOP of the best Ukrainian games, competing with S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Metro 2033, which have become popular.

Read also: Best video games developed in Ukraine

There is still no full release, but what is available is of great interest to gamers, especially those from Ukraine. “Ours. Native!” – that’s the first impression you get when you see whitewashed thatched-roofed huts, fences and landscapes you know and love so well.

About the game, development features

We are offered to lead an 18th-century city and show our creativity and leadership skills. “Immerse yourself in a campaign to determine the fate of the country, or just have fun in sandbox mode,” sounds pretty interesting.


The project combines strategy, simulation, sandbox, and survival. This combo of genres and elements, complemented by authentic music and atmosphere, promises an interesting gaming experience. The game is designed exclusively for single-player, there are no multiplayer modes.

The current version features 45 main buildings, 5 maps, English and Ukrainian localisation, farming and animal husbandry, road modelling, dynamic seasons, basic trade and other things typical of a typical city-planning game.

The author intends to “raise the bar of the city-building genre by adding unheard-of possibilities and removing annoying limitations”. Behind this is a big goal – “to make the player’s creations living and believable settlements with real social problems, making the late game a new challenge rather than a chore”.

  • Platform: PC
  • Developer: yevhen8
  • Publisher: yevhen8
  • Storeb: Steam, GOG
  • Languages: Ukrainian and English
  • Features: early access, strategy, simulator and urban planning simulator, single player, no multiplayer mode.

The location is gorgeous. It’s Slobozhanshchyna, a few centuries ago. There, in the open fields and forests, you create your own large settlement on a three-dimensional landscape without being bound to cells and right angles.

The first associations are with the colony simulator Banished. Unlike Shining Rock Software, The Island boasts a developed (but not perfect) economic model with money and residents as separate economic entities.

At the time of writing, the game has 5 maps and 45 basic buildings. The player can engage in farming, animal husbandry, build roads, and trade. You will not be bored, especially if you take into account the developed economic model and the absence of any grid. The houses in Ostriv, like any other objects, are built absolutely freely – even to the full 360°. And this is the first thing you notice when you get acquainted with the game. And the realisation that it was created by one person is simply amazing.

Each resident is paid for their work. The money can be used to buy not only food, but also, for example, shoes on the local market. Money is needed both for internal settlements, i.e. amongst themselves, and for external settlements, i.e. in financial relations with neighbouring villages, when in-kind exchange is not possible.

It is necessary to ensure that the village has food and water, firewood for the winter, that the settlement is not in need and that there is money in the treasury – a storehouse of funds circulating in households, which come through sales and rent, which come in the form of wages and social assistance. It is important to keep money flowing in and out without delays or interruptions, as well as to keep households with enough cash to work with.

Advice from the experts. At the beginning of the game, not being able to produce your own, it makes sense to buy imported goods. This will change the city’s money supply. To keep the money supply growing, you should ideally export more than you import.

Keep in mind that if you build too fast and distribute money to households incorrectly, you may have problems. Big problems! Every household needs enough money to buy things. And this is one of the reasons why your treasury may be depleted. It’s also important to understand that the money that appears in the “balance” line is not all you have. There are funds in all the houses on the map. The treasury can be replenished by raising rents and prices.

The game begins in the spring. And it is important to provide residents with houses before winter. If there is no place to live and the first snow falls, people will start looking for a better life and leave.

The rule is that each family gets a house. Families traditionally consist of a father, mother and children. If there are vacant houses, open job vacancies, water, a market and food on it, i.e. the four basic needs are met, new residents will automatically move into the vacant housing. But you can’t relax, because a family can leave the house when there is no money or food. Or if the food is scarce. Yes, even so. You need to keep an eye on the variety of the menu. Potatoes and flour alone are not enough.

Advice from the experts. In order not to bother with a variety of food, the first ten houses should be built with gardens. The harvest should be bought from the population to the warehouse and sold at the market. This way, in the first winter, you can get the first immigrants.

Every family pays taxes to the treasury. They, as well as the level of wages, are regulated in the local council after its construction. The starosta also sits there. By the way, he’s a bit of a slacker. He can neither be fired, nor sent to land work, nor executed.

Jobs are created by industrial buildings. Build a sawmill right away, and you’ll have jobs for loggers and plenty of wood and bark. The number of jobs is up to you, just like in Tropico. Two workers will be enough for a start.

Advice from the experts. One sawmill will last for a long time, but from the first winter it is better to have at least three employees, and during the planting of the forest – to fill all the jobs.

It is worth noting that Ostriv has much fewer vacancies for women. Experienced gamers recommend sending them to farming and field work, “leaving the stronger sex” to work at other facilities. After all, working as loaders and loggers is definitely not for women. And the bosses in the village are also only men. By the way, these guys, who occupy a separate set of positions, are opening up new functions as the company’s efficiency increases.

Advice from the experts. There must be at least four builders, and at first you need to send all the men there, except for the head of the village and two woodcutters.

There are jobs that take priority over the player’s tasks, and there are jobs that run in the background. This is a feature of the game’s production economy. In particular, people who are not working can mow or dry hay. It is used for cattle feed, and straw is used for construction. So a couple of dryers by the river or in a meadow won’t hurt.

Most of the population is involved in sowing and harvesting. This is understandable, because in real life, one cannot cope with several fields of different crops alone.

Another important point that distinguishes Ostriv from Banished, Tropico, and other similar games. So, here you need to monitor the condition of the soil for sowing. There are three conventional types of minerals. They are indicated by colours. And if the land has exhausted its resource, it is ploughed and left to “rest”. Therefore, one field is not an option. You need several.

There are several types of resources available. For example, “home-made” ones, such as flour from grown grain. There is also a virtually inexhaustible resource that is essential in construction – clay. It is neither bought nor sold, but only extracted in a specially designated pit by construction workers. Water is also a resource. It is free. It comes from springs. But as the population grows, new wells still need to be dug. And they are important because there may be a water shortage. This also happens.

In this way, the economy of a small settlement is gradually being created. The economic system itself is developed, but very complicated. The scheme – taxes, wages, buying goods on the market – is not easy to understand at first. There is a lot of small and detailed management and questions to which you have to find answers by trial and error. For example, chickens started dying on the farm, but it’s not clear where exactly. It’s just as easy to prescribe potatoes as the main feed for the pigs, and they will destroy all the stock. In addition, pigs reproduce like rabbits. Ideally, you need several farms: for boars, for pigs and for piglets. If you keep them all together, you risk overcrowding the pig farm in a couple of years. In general, experienced players advise not to have these companions in the first years.

Cattle are no easier. If you run out of hay in winter, you will lose cows. You need to calculate almost manually how many cows you can feed, and the barn’s information sheet contains information about the cows’ appetites, take into account the number of dryers and the availability of workers who can cut grass in season, and then send the “extra” cows to slaughter. Moreover, it is almost impossible to predict the new harvest based on the last year’s one, given the constant change of crops in the fields. It’s quite a quest!

And we must not forget about people, otherwise they will run away: freedom-loving Ukrainians are not slaves. There are advanced needs such as warm clothes, shoes, and the ability to upgrade farming skills. Do not leave the villagers without money, food and water, do not sit in the red, build and develop… And you are the only player. Will you manage?

Developer: yevhen8
Price: $ 24.99

Graphics, optimisation and translation

In a game like Ostriv, it is very important to have an adequate graphical representation. The player should not only see the national colour, but also feel it. And that’s exactly what we have here. Yes, the graphics are quite simple, which is understandable given the involvement of only one developer, who is also unable to work fully at the moment due to the shelling of Kharkiv by the occupiers and power outages. However, even today Ostriv looks cool and can please with its technical and purely visual finds.

The fact that you can build absolutely freely is good. The fact that the paths and trails in Ostriv are trodden by the people who walk on them is also great. In the first Tropico, the primers were made by builders with shovels, while in Ostriv it’s like in real life, for real! And the more you walk on the track, the brighter it gets. It’s very realistic.

And the construction at Ostriv looks interesting. It resembles a LEGO assembly. First, the carriers bring the resources to the site. After that, the builder takes one resource at a time and carries it to the place of placement. If it’s clay, the builder carries a bucket, if it’s wood, a beam. Visually, any building is constructed in detail: slings are placed, foundations are laid, floors are laid, walls are moulded, windows are cut in clay. The process itself is shown schematically in the diagram. You can clearly see what resources are needed right now, at what moments to “call” the builder.

And the change of seasons looks good in the game. Green grass, a field that is sprouting, leaves that are falling, reeds that are drying up and turning brown, a river that is covered with ice – just like in real life. By the way, it’s a pity that there is no ice fishing. You can only catch fish in the game if you have a boat house (boat workshop), and salt them when you have salt.

And the national costumes of the residents also add colour. And the background music – a bandura playing – is a hundred points to the atmosphere.

The game is quite stable, although there are some technical issues and various bugs. However, we can safely divide the shortcomings and flaws into two, because Ostriv is not ready yet. To summarise, the early version is still a top product.

Ostriv has only Ukrainian and English localisation. There is no Russian, which sometimes causes indignation among commentators. And it will not be added. The profitability of Russian localisation is rather questionable.


Ostriv is a decent real-time strategy game with management elements. The goal is to make the result of the gamer’s imagination alive and similar to real settlements with social relations between residents and real life problems.

The game definitely has potential, although the project itself is somewhere in the middle of its development. And even the alpha can give many full-fledged releases a run for their money. Everything looks not only quite playable but also pleasing to the eye. It is atmospheric and cosy. The graphics in Ostriv are excellent, and the world around us is highly detailed. But the main advantage of the game lies in the absence of binding to cells during the construction of buildings, which other popular urban planning simulators cannot please. A house can be placed anywhere you want. At the same time, Ostriv uses the traditional mechanics of a typical construction simulator. There is building construction, agriculture, social background, economic factor, and many, many tasks that need to be completed in time.

Ostriv is constantly being updated, with new activities added to keep the player entertained during the game. And how can you be bored if you need to not only build, but also plant, grow, trade, take into account the need to change crops in the fields, work out in advance the system of purchasing vegetables grown by farmers in the gardens, reselling them on the market. Add to this the detailed management of livestock. And the fact that the author sometimes ignores the stereotypes established in the genre, doing some elements the way he sees them, only adds to the game’s score. However, I would still like to see more of our traditions in Ostriv, for example: the nativity scene, Christmas, folk festivities. But even now, it is still very exciting to play, enjoying the detailed elaboration of gameplay moments. And all this for a price tag of $25. Familiar gamers are sure that it is expensive. It’s really not cheap even by the standards of most European countries, but it’s necessary for the development of the project so that the game doesn’t end up in production hell. It is possible that the price will drop in the future. In any case, we wish the author inspiration and good luck. And we are glad that there are people who want to work with a great goal to make Ukrainian game development great again.


  • “A game that will not leave you indifferent”
  • “I love this game, it’s just incredible! It’s a pity that there are so few games that promote Ukrainian culture and aesthetics.”
  • “The bandura is very relaxing, but when the cattle start dying, the real action begins.”
  • “A decent game from Ukrainian developers. I really liked it!”
  • “It is made with high quality and heart”
  • “The game is fascinating in its detail and authenticity. Many thanks to the developer for this masterpiece and good luck in this difficult task”

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Where to buy it?

Ostriv cannot be downloaded for free, including via torrent. It is distributed on a one-time purchase model.

The author warns that the game is still in development. Recently, the Alpha 5 trailer was released for Ostriv. The update adds a brick production chain, new areas with resources to extract sand and clay. In addition, there is a mechanic related to the health and change in the ability to work of the population.

You can buy the alpha of The Island to support the developer. To download the game, you will receive a DRM-free copy of the game and a lifetime subscription to all future updates, including the Steam/GOG key (via Humble Bundle). It is important to enter your email address correctly – this is where the link to the game will be sent. To update the game, you just need to download it again using the same link.


Notes. The game in early access is under development. It may remain in its current state or change in the future. If you are not satisfied with what the game has to offer at the moment, we recommend that you wait for its further update. The official website suggests looking at the roadmap to find out what will be added to the game before it is considered finished.

Read also:


Presentation (design, style, speed and convenience of UI)
Sound (work of the original actors, music, sound design)
Graphics (what the game looks like in the context of the platform)
Optimisation (smooth operation, bugs, crashes, use of system features)
ІGameplay (control sensitivity, exciting gameplay)
Compliance with the price tag (the ratio of the amount of content to the official price)
Meeting expectations
Ostriv is a decent real-time strategy game with management elements. The goal is to make the result of the gamer's imagination alive and similar to real settlements with social relations between residents and real life problems. The game definitely has potential, although the project itself is somewhere in the middle of its development.

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Ostriv is a decent real-time strategy game with management elements. The goal is to make the result of the gamer's imagination alive and similar to real settlements with social relations between residents and real life problems. The game definitely has potential, although the project itself is somewhere in the middle of its development.Made in Ukraine: Ostriv game review