I've played the game for about 4 hours.
I think my main issue is that there is very little simulation going on.
A simulation, to me, is more than a set of tasks that needs to be performed in a certain priority. It's more than having 30 bots running between X and Y task. The people don't feel alive - they get born, educated, work, and die. They might gather up some food meanwhile, maybe put on some clothing every second year, and they might idle at a graveyard or a tavern. But there's no life to them whatsoever, running in the same straight paths that the guy before them ran 10 years ago. They don't stop to talk, they don't laugh, they don't have any feelings other than "happiness" which is always topped out. And perhaps most egregiously, they don't seem to learn anything about their tasks. Someone dies after 70 years of working as a teacher? Replaced instantly by a toddler from the workforce. -1 Laborer, +1 Teacher. End of event.
And it's not an economic simulation either. While the essence is there, the mechanics are lacking. Unlike games like Settlers and Anno, there's almost no escalation of worth with your resources. A garden of plums is as useful as a gathering station in the forest. Would you like to eat some mutton or fish for dinner? It doesn't matter. You can trade for new types of farm animals and seeds, but again, there's no point to it other than burning through your precious resources. The only two improved paths that I see are iron, replaced by iron+coal, and leather or wool, replaced by leather+wool. And as far as building goes... nothing is unbuildable, every building requires the same resources and is available from the start (although you probably don't want to build some stuff right away).
There's no overworld interaction (besides trade). What you have is all that you have, and all that will ever be. No vicious wolf attacks (didn't I see that in a video?), no diplomats, no immigrants, no emigrants, no messengers from home requesting or giving aid.
What it is, I think, is a simulation of margins. There are slight efficiency bonuses to how you plan your city, and those eventually determine how quickly your city grows. But even then, it isn't difficult at all. I don't understand how you can even lose at this game unless you put everyone in the mines and let them starve. Even at Harsh weather, with disasters, on Hard, you should have no troubles in your first game. Three houses, one gatherer, one herbalist, you "beat" the game.
Ultimately what it comes down to is that the gameplay focuses you towards building an increasingly large village. But where's the fun in that? If the game was significantly more difficult I think it might be interesting. If it introduced new mechanics as your city grew (politics, diplomacy, crime), that would work too. The only difference between hour one and hour five is that now I have 50 bots instead of 16.