More importantly, all of this graphical finery actually means something. While other city building games plow incredibly complex tech trees and pie charts into their games, 1701 enlists the very citizenry to show you how you are handling your job. Your ability to meet complex needs and wants is reflected in a myriad of ways around town.
Poor city management will shutter businesses and cause disease. When this happens your town will become plagued by invalid beggars overflown by black crows. Even the statue in the town square becomes bedraggled - a quick visual personification of your governance.
Competent management produces the opposite effect, and there is virtually no end to the merriment and mischief that happy (and/or drunk) citizens will make.
This visual payoff is what keeps Europeans coming back in droves (1701 A.D. is the third in the so-called Anno series of hit games in Europe). In addition to the Disney-inspired art style, the nearly endless list of places, buildings and events has us looking to the horizon daily. But we'll have to be patient, as 1701 A.D. won't sail into U.S. ports until late October.