Laysara: Summit Kingdom Review – Building Towards the Tippy Top


High in the mountains, above a land enveloped in a poisonous mist, there sits an ever-expanding settlement reaching across the peaks. This is Laysara: Summit Kingdom, stealth dropped in early access from developers Quite OK Games, and you are the architect of this burgeoning mountaintop empire. On the surface, this is a city builder and resource management sim. Still, it is also a complex economy and trade simulator that forces you to face terrain challenges and the unpredictable destructive path of avalanches.

Laysara: Summit Kingdom Is Gorgeous

I was initially struck by just how good Laysara looks. My laptop is aggressively mid, and the game still looks quite beautiful. The mountains that will be your home are detailed and varied in their terrain, and the different styles of buildings are all easily distinguishable. For example, buildings relating to religion are all adorned with golden accents and earthy tones, whereas artisanal buildings are more red.

Laysara Summit Kingdom mountain overview
Image Credit: Quite OK Games.

I’m getting ahead of myself. Putting the cart before the yak, as it were. First, there is a long and detailed tutorial to go through. This tutorial serves as a way to teach game mechanics and establish the initial link to the hopefully soon-to-be thriving chain of mountaintop settlements. If you’ve played a city builder before, then Laysara will not hold any earth-shattering secrets for you. If you have mainly played the more chill, cozy city builders and their ilk that have been prevalent lately, then there will be a learning curve.

This isn’t just about creating a load of pretty mountain towns. It’s also about mining, supply chains, needs management, and preventing natural disasters. As someone who plays mostly the more aesthetic-leaning city builders, I found this to be a fair bit of information to take on. The tutorial is thorough enough with the basics of the different townsfolk, buildings, and supply routes. Moving into the game’s more difficult and complex areas later makes sense and shouldn’t cause too many issues.

Laysara: Summit Kingdom Lets You Build Your Heart Out

Each mountain has multiple levels to build on. There needs to be a degree of planning, but I’m pretty bad at it, admittedly. The main issue I found was getting the spacing and distancing right. I did a lot of remodeling. It’s a feature, not a flaw. If I want my yak cheese to get to the lowlanders, I sure better plan my routes, distribution centers, and worker numbers to make everything move smoothly.

Laysara Summit Kingdom monk level
Image Credit: Quite OK Games.

Your basic workers are Lowlanders in their little blue houses, artisans reside in their fancier red houses and take care of crafting goods, monks live in the gold and green dormitories, and yaks yak it up in their pastures making cheese and wool and acting as logistics and transport. Keeping track of your settler numbers is easy with a bar across the top of the screen that will tell you how many of each settler are available, whether they are employed or not, and if you have ad-hoc workers on staff. Ad-hoc workers are costly, and you are better off upgrading or adding another residence. Money and supplies are tight – money especially – at the start of a game. It is easy to overbuild and suddenly be in the negative.

Now it’s time for the most difficult aspect of the game, for me anyway, getting everything in the range of resources and maintaining supplies. Each little settlement of people also requires a food market. The food market requires supplies, meaning chicken farms, barley fields, bee hives, and various other resource-producing structures have to be erected. These structures then need to be in the range of the food market, have an accessible road, and have an individual supply link established to the market either directly or from a processing structure.

You Need To Manage Your Supplies Properly

I often did a little symbol popup alerting me to short supplies when I had many chicken farms or fields active. I had almost always forgotten to link the building to the market. You do this by left-clicking on the resource and drawing a line to the market. Simple, but easily forgotten when you have the attention span of a child filled with E numbers.

Laysara Summit Kingdom aurora borealis
Image Credit: Quite OK Games.

An excellent feature I truly appreciate in Laysara is the ability to move buildings after they are placed. Thank you for this, Quite OK Games. This made life much easier when I inevitably realized every time I had built outside the range of a specific structure. Another handy feature is the ability to upgrade a pre-existing residence, thus increasing the number of residents in each. This ups your worker numbers without the need to jam up the limited real estate at your disposal. Buildings can only be upgraded when the occupant’s needs are sufficiently met, and these needs scale with every upgrade.  

Monks begin researching new ways of crafting and producing supplies and exports as the settlements fill out. New avenues of expansion begin to open up, and so must your trade routes. Erecting carrier posts, trading posts, and yak posts will allow goods to be transported long-range and allow money to come in. Eventually, you can build lift towers that can move resources between levels on the mountain.

Laysara: Summit Kingdom Requires You To Brave The Elements

Of course, all of this building is for nothing if an avalanche plows over your settlements. An avalanche warning icon on the top of the screen will tell you the risk of avalanche. Scouting around the mountains will show you where the likely disasters will occur. Luckily, there are a variety of protection options. Initially, you can erect barriers of trees that will slow the tide of snow. If that fails, you can build a plowing station that will remove snow from an area in range. As you progress, you can install better and more foolproof avalanche-negating measures. I forgot to do this almost every time at first. Godspeed, Mr. Plow.

Laysara Summit Kingdom avalanche
Image Credit: Quite OK Games.

One thing that I highly recommend doing upon starting your game is changing the camera settings. Laysara defaults to that camera The Sims has, where it swings around if you move your cursor too close to the edge of the screen. While this is useful for checking out the mountain before building, it is a massive pain while trying to construct on a specific level. Initially, the game also consumed a fair amount of RAM; however, the developers have been sending out regular hotfixes since release to address bigger issues people have been experiencing. The RAM consumption has been brought down a bit. It can still be high, but it’s better and is being worked on with the planned first update.

Wrapping Up

Laysara is challenging. It’s also fun. It looks great, the progression is balanced, and the setting is relatively unique. There are definitely some minor technical things to iron out and further content to add. That said, it is an early-access game and devs are listening to feedback and addressing major technical concerns efficiently and with transparency. All in all, it’s an incredibly engrossing game, where hours suddenly slip away, and the yak milk flows like wine.

Laysara: Summit Kingdom is out now in early access on Steam.

Laysara: Summit Kingdom Review – Building Towards the Tippy Top
Beautiful setting.
Interesting and intricate supply chain mechanics.
A city sim that makes you think and plan your moves.
Minor bugs, glitching.
Terrible camera presets.
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Written by Emma Oakman

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