Cathedrals retain their value as important city centerpieces in "Anno Online". Photo: AFP
The historical city-building series Anno has now launched its public beta phase, meaning that the curious can drop by its website and start putting together farms, villages, shipyards, trade routes and little empires.
"Anno Online" is based on "Anno 1404" (known as "Dawn of Discovery" in North America), the fifth entry to the Anno series, which embraced medieval and Rennaisance-era history, enabling players to explore both Occidental and Oriental historical advances, albiet from within a fictionalized geography.
Tellingly, the "Anno Online" announcement includes a preview quote from video game website Destructoid, hailing the free-to-play experience as "a great alternative to the new Sim City" -- both city management games require players to maintain online connections in order to play.
"Anno Online" currently supports play in English, French, German, Danish, Polish, and Hungarian.