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Surviving The Aftermath Preview

Posted by GG Goblin On November - 11 - 2019

Colony building after the end of the world.

 
I am starting to wonder if Paradox Interactive know something that we don’t. First, they decide to challenge us to survive on Mars, and now they want us to survive after a world-ending apocalypse. The Surviving series may be some kind of covert training manual, but Iceflake Studios’ Surviving the Aftermath also happens to be a whole lot of fun. With a nod to the previous Surviving Mars game, along with a touch of The Walking Dead (without Zombies), Fallout and Frostpunk, Surviving the Aftermath is currently available in Early Access on the Epic Games Store for PC and Game Preview for Xbox One.

 


 
Surviving the Aftermath begins by asking the player a few questions about their own world ending events. It is through these six questions that the game sets the difficulty of what is to come, which is a really nice way to do it that is far more interesting than moving sliders around. These questions will dictate how many starting resources the player has, how many survivors, how damaged the world is and how likely further catastrophes are. I will admit that I want my apocalypse to be as comfortable as possible, so I kept things simple. As it happens, even with the easiest options, losing more than 100 colonists to thirst in less than 24 hours still hurts.

 
Gameplay in Surviving the Aftermath comes in two parts, with the first part having the player try to rebuild society by managing their little survivors and building some form of settlement. This at least begins in a fairly familiar way, with your adult survivors heading out to collect resources that have been left over from the civilised world. Things such as planks of wood, blocks of concrete and berries as a food source can be collected by anyone. Shelter will need to be built, and then more specialised resources will need to be collected by creating the right kind of buildings. As buildings are set down, survivors will take jobs, but it is vital to keep at least a couple without jobs in order to do all of the building and fetching.

 
It doesn’t take too long to get some kind of settlement going, but the limited starting survivors will only go so far, and so it is time to build the gate. This structure, at the edge of the players settlement, will allow not only new survivors to rock up and ask to come in, but also allow the player to start exploring the world outside. With new survivors that come to the gate will be specialists that can be sent into the world to find resources.

 
On the over world map, the player is able to move around their specialists according to their action points. The map is divided into sectors, and the first thing the specialist will have to do is scout out a sector to see what is there. It could be a stash of resources that the specialist can then collect and bring back to the settlement. These stashes can be vitally important as they may contain resources that the settlement simply can’t produce. Specialists could also find stashes of knowledge that can be spent in the research tree to unlock new building types and make life better in the settlement, such as greenhouses for crops or a building that can clean away radiated soil.

 


 
But nothing in the Aftermath is without risk, and the specialists could just as easily find bandits in sectors, jealously guarding their much needed resources. Specialists will have to fight to get these resources, and run the risk of harm or even death. In fact, even collecting unguarded resources can cause harm and the specialist will have to travel back to the settlement to rest and recover.

 
Meanwhile things move on at the settlement as the survivors go about their daily business. While the players spends their time concentrating on finding the resources they need to set down new buildings, along with ensuring that there is enough food and water for everyone, and that sick survivors get treated, or at least thrown in the burial pit once they pass away, events will pop up to keep the player guessing. These events are incredibly varied and will have the player deciding whether to spend some resources to send some survivors on a bear hunt, or breaking up a fight and deciding who to punish, for example. There is the whole risk reward things going on, and quite often the player will get both the reward and some injured survivors. Once the gate is built, there are also gate events. Do you invite in that twitchy survivor and run the risk of him stealing resources? Do you buy slaves from a bandit slave trader to set them free? Or do you invite in the party van, have a massive party and then deal with the infections afterwards?

 
Of course, this is the end of the world and with that comes catastrophes. Players will mostly get a warning that a catastrophe is coming, and thus will be able to prepare as best they can. Meteorites dropping from the skies and damaging buildings will require the resources to repair. Magnetic storms will stop any electrical items from working, bringing progress to a halt, while a heatwave will wither crops and cause survivors to drink twice the usual amount. It was the heatwave that saw my settlement lose more than 100 survivors in less than 24 hours, leaving me to struggle with clearing away the bodies. That was a harsh time.

 
Surviving the Aftermath is in early access, and that generally means that the game is not done yet. However, I have to say that everything seems to be running very smoothly. There have been no technical problems with the game thus far, and the gameplay is not only well balanced but also varied. There seems to be a lot of content already available, and it all looks great. So what will change during the early access phase? Your guess is as good as mine.

 


 
Still, whatever else is to come will be an added bonus, as Surviving the Aftermath is already a compelling survival colony builder. Any fans of the genre that want to try their hands at rebuilding society would do well to check out Surviving the Aftermath, currently available in early access on the Epic Games Store and Xbox One Game Preview, and coming to other platforms when it launches in 2020.

 

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