Released (on Steam): 2 Apr, 2020
Genres: Indie, Simulation, Strategy, Early Access
Developer: Gentlymad Studios
Publisher: Assemble Entertainment
Steam Price: £20.99
Completion: Tutorial & a couple of worlds attempted. Managed season 200+ once
Playtime at Review: 17.5 hours
Total Playtime: 17.5 hours
Achievements at Review: 14/41 (34%)
My rating: 8.8/10
Variety of options when creating a world, making each world and it’s difficulty very different.
The saving/loading system is likely the best I’ve seen in a game. Super useful!
The controls and key binds are very intuitive.
Steam developer broadcast is regularly active with explanations of certain aspects and answers to questions being asked (many are replays of recordings).
Lots of management and strategy required.
Great attention to some of the smaller aspects, that really do matter!
Constant updates and improvements since entering Early Access began.
No way of changing the camera angle, other than with the standard zoom levels.
Dead settlers appear to be collected and carried away in a small bag rather than a cart or wheelbarrow (anything more appropriate).
Changing settings for same building types is a pain, as is seeing what needs repairing.
Ever wondered what the world would be like after a global scale nuclear disaster? Here’s one way of finding out! Endzone – A World Apart is a city builder / colony sim like no other. Ensure your settler’s survival buy keeping them fed, watered, and radiation free! You may want to hold off on breeding like rabbits too.
It’s been a long time since I really enjoyed a city builder type game as much as I enjoyed Endzone. What makes this more impressive is that it only entered Early Access a few weeks ago! Sure, there’s a lot they can still do with it, but it’s got enough content to enjoy many hours of gaming already!
First of all, the opening scene is simply awesome! Everything about it had me so captivated and really got me in the mood to jump in a rebuild the world! The voice actor was a perfect fit, but also reminded me of the Red Queen from Resident Evil: “You’re all going to die down here”. After seeing how my first game went, that would be pretty fitting too!
I initially played the tutorial, which seems to be very well thought out and teaches you how to do everything you need to do, without giving away the best ways to survive. Judging from my save files, the tutorial has changed, as I’m told my save is no longer compatible with the current version of the game. That’s most likely due to the changes made with the Expeditions update, but I imagine the main bulk is the same.
When you come to starting a game, you have a variety of options to change, depending how challenging an experience you want. You get to choose the name of your world, number of settlers to start with and with what equipment, how close to a water source you are, size of the world, map seed, and how abundant certain resources/features are.
There’s a lot of management to be done throughout the game (as you’d expect with a game like this), and a slight drop in concentration, spotting that change in population or dip in food production too late could be catastrophic. I like this though! Sure, it can be a pain, and it can be very challenging at times, but that’s the fun of it. It’s also probably why the save game reminder pops up every now and then. The only thing I’d like to see is some way of changing settings for buildings of the same type all at once, rather than clicking on or cycling through each. This became particularly clear when changing the settings of every irrigation plant as the weather changed. It was the same with checking to see which buildings need repairing after a sandstorm, although the developers have mentioned that they’re discussing a means of viewing all damaged buildings.
The world is generally very pleasant to look at, even with all the radiation, and the changes with different seasons and weather all add to the experience. The different levels of zoom are great for looking around the world and focussing on different areas, especially if you enjoy taking screenshots. The main things I’d like would be the ability change the camera angle to allow for better viewing of features in the world and for generally looking around your settlement.
You’ve emerged from many years of isolation after a nuclear catastrophe destroyed the world as we know it. The new world’s gonna throw you some curveballs. Those curveballs mainly come in the form of radiation. Radiation seems to be caused by contaminated rain, which can be at a low, medium, or high level of contamination (or uncontaminated). The severity dictates which protective equipment your settlers should wear to survive. You can task settlers to remove radiation, and irrigation systems generally help a lot too, as long as they don’t get contaminated, in which case they spread radiation with great efficiency. During droughts you can also get sandstorms which help shift radiation around, amongst other things, but I don’t want to give everything away.
As far as I saw, so far, there’s no way to change the controls or key bindings, but to be quite honest, I don’t see why the majority of people would want to change them. The key binds are intuitive enough that you barely need to move your left hand, and the other need not come away from the mouse at all.
If you like the attention to smaller/less-significant details then you’re in luck! I noticed several things pretty early on, and they all amounted to one great experience. One was a nice little notification reminding me to save the game if I hadn’t done so for a while. Another was whenever I would exit the main menu, the game would start at the regular speed, rather than the OMGMySettlersAreAllDying speed which I often had it on. If the game was already paused, it would remain that way.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a well thought out and useful load game screen either. Games are saved in their own section based on the world you’re playing. Each save includes the season it was saved in, along with a date and time stamp. You also have the option to include a description when saving a game, to better help identify different saves.
While it’s very early in the Early Access, Endzone is already a challenging delight to play! The constant updates and communication from the developers only fills me with hope and confidence for what’s yet to come, and I look forward to seeing all the future improvements and additions to the game! I'm particularly hoping for crazy mutated animals to attack settlers and to be hunted by us, additional buildings and building upgrades as time goes on, the ability to change camera angle, and additional management tools.
Posted on 26-04-2020