This year’s Manor Lords video game release inspires people to compare it to other medieval strategies like Banished. Are these two titles really that similar to each other?

Indie medieval city-builders represent a frequent choice among PC gamers who want to relax. Nothing beats constructing an unconquerable city, managing peasants, and waging epic wars against enemies who crave our final loss just to prove them wrong.

Celebrating ten years of its successful existence, Banished continues to draw many players, but should it feel threatened by this year’s ML? Let’s see the pros and cons of both!

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FeatureManor LordsBanished
Release Year 2024 2014
Developer Slavic Magic (Greg Styczeń) Shining Rock Software
Gameplay Focus City Building, RTS Battles City Building, Survival
Game Engine Unreal Engine Proprietary Engine (C++)
Graphics Quality High (Realistic, Detailed) Moderate (Simplistic, Pixelated)
Combat System Yes (Large-Scale RTS) No
Weather/Seasons Dynamic (Affects Gameplay) Dynamic (Affects Gameplay)
Community Support Active (Early Access) Active (10+ Years of Support)
Unique Aspects Medieval RTS Battles, Strategic City-Building Survival Mechanics, Resource Management

General overview

Banished is a unique economic strategy released in 2014 by the independent Shining Rock Software studio. What makes this game even more impressive is it was developed by only one person and managed to sell over 2 million copies on Steam.

It sounds like a title worth playing! On the other hand, ML gathered 2 million wishlists on Steam in January 2024. Surprisingly, this is also a video game developed by one person, so finding the fundamental differences between both becomes even more exciting!

Game Design

You’ve probably already guessed that, as an older game, Banished offers noticeably worse visuals, which sets it apart from ML. The title uses Shining Rock Software’s unique engine created from scratch in C . ML runs on Unreal Engine, providing an incredibly realistic gameplay.

You can expect high-quality details and an almost life-like experience – but that also means higher system requirements. Banished is a trustworthy and highly engaging choice for low-end PC users.

Manor Lords:



How about both games’ essential features? After all, the strategy alone doesn’t say much. One of Banished game’s undoubted advantages is the challenging nature of its gameplay. Players take charge of a group of exiles looking for a new place to live and then develop a modest settlement to transform it into a thriving city.

Banished Gameplay, Video Credit: ShiningRockSoftware

However, unlike ML, this game seriously focuses on the survival aspect. People can die from old age, they are cold and suffer from random accidents, and there are plagues.

Moreover, the game world adequately responds to the player’s actions, so unreasonable use of necessary resources can lead to a complete shortage when not managed well.

ML also lets players develop cities and control factors like plague or starvation. However, unlike Shining Rock’s title, it doesn’t focus on this aspect as much. Instead, ML offers a more complex building system and allows players to engage in epic large-scale wars inspired by the Total War series.

Manor Lords Gameplay (2021), Video Credit: Manor Lords

The game is highly realistic with changing weather and seasons. It makes players feel like medieval rulers deciding on every aspect of their kingdom’s functioning. Yes, kingdom because, ultimately, your possessions reach beyond a single city.


Let’s proceed to the crucial difference – the battles. Unlike ML, Banished doesn’t feature combat. The core focus of this title is survival and fighting the forces of unpredictable nature or random disasters. Your job is to manage the city and keep its inhabitants alive.

Manor Lords Battle Features, Video Credit: Manor Lords

ML also shares these specific rules but on a much more modest (though more realistic) scale, offering players the option to wage wars instead. As the game creator said: ‘Manor Lords is not a Total War competitor. It’s a city builder with battles.’


Comparing these two titles boils down to one conclusion – they are similar but strikingly different. Banished is a significantly smaller video game greatly emphasizing survival. It is a city builder, but your key objective is maintaining the balance between acquiring resources and keeping your people alive.

And they die a lot! They also perform various occupations that may or may not generate a decent profit. It is an excellent title for low-end PC users, featuring a user-friendly interface.

You can think of ML as a newer version of Banished that focuses on providing a realistic medieval experience. It has resource management, city building, ever-changing weather, and battles whose outcome depends on the proper strategy.

This game allows you to live as a medieval ruler and decide what he would accomplish in these highly challenging times. And at the end of the day, both titles are definitely worth playing.