Endzone – A World Apart – Building The New World
Endzone – A World Apart
Developed By: Gentlymad Studios
Published By: Assemble Entertainment, WhisperGames
Price: £20.99 /$23.99
City-Builder, Simulation, Strategy, Survival
In most post-apocalyptic scenarios, you feel this sense of drab hopelessness with only twinges of a better future — only if things are done right. With Endzone – A World Apart, you’ll get to create that better future, even if the world tries to take you down.
From The Ashes
Endzone is a city builder game set in a post-apocalypse world 150 years after terrorists blew up all the world’s nuclear power plants. Survivors stowed themselves away in underground facilities until they saw it fit to reclaim the surface, with you leading the charge to remake civilization. It won’t be easy, for the land is wrought with radiation, substantial climate change, and raiders. But you’re up to the task, right?
First things first, Endzone looks pretty good for a game where you won’t be scrutinizing every last texture. Even from a distance you can tell they worked on making sure the visuals were nice, especially when you see the rain come in with the clouds looming overhead. Seeing the land change as moisture in the environment does is mesmerizing, showing you how messed up the world is, when beauty turns to desolation and back.
Another thing to mention is the incredible music. This is a game where you are trying to bring back the world that was once lost, and the soundtrack does well to not just emphasize that to you, but keep things cool as well. It’s a slow process which takes time. It’s not epic or even depressing, it’s this strange mixture of mystery and solitude. Multiple times throughout me streaming this game to my friends on Discord, they noted how relaxing the music was, which is something I really appreciated as it helped ease me into this state of relaxation. Even when things began to be a bit dire, I didn’t worry about it as I would because the music calmed me down.
When you begin a game of Endzone, you start with your survivors setting up their base camp, with their travel bus being the main building. This is what everything revolves around for now, where resources are stored and decisions are made, such as prioritizing building structures, repairing said structures, and constructing roads.
From the beginning, you have to start gathering resources. Shelter means nothing if there’s no one alive to occupy it. So you go for the necessities, specifically water and food. Sometimes, you’ll get tasks from your settlers who will ask for specific items, which they will reward you for getting. How you go about all this is up to you, but there’s plenty to keep in mind, such as radiation.
Radiation is what will greet you in the beginning, threatening to harm your people, render them infertile and unhealthy. Since repopulation is the name of the game, you should be wary of it, though you do have solutions at your disposal. You can remove it, protect against it, and prepare for it, but these are all processes that take time as well as resources.
Season By Season
Resources, especially water, are prone to being manipulated by the elements. Endzone is played around seasons, and each season could bring something different. Sometimes you’ll get rain, other times you won’t. The rain could be contaminated, which requires you to decontaminate the rainwater you collect, and the crops you grow. You might not get water at all thanks to drought. Sandstorms can sweep by, damaging your buildings, requiring you to spend extra time, resources, and people on repairs. You have to keep track of all this if you want to prepare and survive in this dangerous new world.
Thankfully, the UI does a fantastic job of keeping this all in check and right in front of you, so you don’t have to go rooting around in that many menus just to find something. Everything you need to know is right there, or only needs a simple press of a button, from gauging your populace’s happiness, to showing where radiation is. With info like that, you can manage accordingly.
Despite this, I do wish there was a little bit more to the UI than that. Although it does have all this info, with you being able to manage your town with just a few clicks, I wish it would allow us to look further into specific things, like why my populace isn’t happy. To do that, you’d have to click one of the red warnings below and have them show you, one by one, which specific citizens are unhappy and why. Also, I would’ve liked it if each part of the UI showed what key corresponded to it, so I don’t have to go searching the keybinds for that.
Needs of the Many
Nevertheless, it’s pretty easy to manage your town when on the fly, since Endzone is all about management. As you start, you need to start managing what to build first, and how many settlers will be sent to work at that building. The game has multiple different professions to put settlers under, all of which do provide an important service to the community. And the more you set upon a specific task, the more productive it will be.
As times go on, more needs will have to be met than just the basic necessities, with more processes to go through to accomplish this. When all is said and done, it’s not enough for your people to survive, but thrive, all the while managing your resources so you don’t run out.
While I’ve said before that repopulation is the goal, there are always caveats. More population means more resources used, which in turn will make survival harder. People will reproduce when given homes, meaning you have to limit how many homes you build. Those who don’t have a home can live in the shelter, where they are still given a place to live, just without the privacy needed to do the hanky-panky.
Setting The Rules
In addition, you’ll be able to more effectively control your people by setting decrees, only accomplished by constructing a forum. Decrees are orders given to your people that they must follow, but only for a specific amount of time. These include rationing water and forcing people to stop creating more babies. Some of these will decrease confidence, another important mechanic to keep track of.
Your populace has a confidence meter that determines how things will go. Low confidence brings crime and less reproduction. High confidence brings new settlers and makes your workers more efficient. Multiple things affect confidence, such as making sure dead loved ones are buried, or planting shrubs to spruce the place up, making the area more attractive. Doing this will ensure your settlement grows.
Do Your Research
Eventually, things will need to expand in more than just size. Research brings you these; building research stations allows you to spend points and resources on newer or upgraded buildings, which open more avenues for growth and efficiency. These range from electricity to expeditions to protection.
Electricity is fairly easy to grasp, as it’s meant to hook up to buildings around them to increase quality of life, while also assisting efficiency in production buildings. You can gather electricity in multiple ways, all of them green, and store it for when they can’t provide any.
Expeditions are meant for bringing back not only more resources like metal or plastic, but new seeds as well. Having a wide variety of foods to choose from is important in keeping your citizens happy and healthy. This requires sending scouts out to interesting locations before sending the expedition team to collect, with some of them even having random events occur, with benefits if things go well. One such random event was a woman needing medicine for her sick husband, and you had to have brought medicine in order to help.
Protection is for when the raiders start to come. From time to time, you’ll get attacked by bands of raiders, coming in to ransack your settlement and destroy your buildings. They usually travel through, so you must prepare by building watchtowers and other such defenses. You can even pay a tribute to them to hold them off while you ready your town for their assault, setting up a militia and manufacturing rubber or metal bullets to fend them off.
What Was Lost
Of course, these aren’t the only things you can research, though I still wish there was more. While there are plenty of things to research, some of them don’t feel all that special to get, nor have that sense of progression that you usually get when discovering newer technologies.
While there are new things to find that enhance the creation of the settlement, others are just upgraded versions of buildings you already have. Other times, it just seems rather useless to have them be parts of the research station and not a part of upgrading the town center, like creating new decrees for the forums. Looking at the full research list and knowing that’s how far it goes was somewhat disappointing.
Also, I did feel like there are too many negative events. Endzone is supposed to be about finding hope in a desolate world, so I wish there would be random events that show off the positive side of that. Parties, travelers stopping by, merchants coming to sell supplies. Make the place feel more alive with these kinds of things so it’s not always preparing for the next sandstorm.
Then there’s the limited resources. Sure, while most everything will come back, there is one resource that seemingly doesn’t come back, which is scrap. When you collect it, either by tasks or scrap yards, it’s gone. This means that you’ll be building and demolishing a lot of scrap yards just to collect resources and clear out an area for further building. I wouldn’t say I’m a long-term player, but for those who are, this presents to them a game where their city will eventually end.
We Will Survive
Besides that, I have to say that Endzone is incredibly polished. Besides the well done visuals, the game ran incredibly smooth on my laptop without so much as a hitch. In that same vein, I didn’t run into a single glitch or bug.
I’d say Endzone was almost the kind of game I wanted whenever playing city-builders. I always wanted to control a settlement being built at the end of the world, trying to survive while braving the harsh environments. While it’s not exactly as I had envisioned one, it’s still pretty good for what it is.
Overall, I really enjoyed my time with Endzone. It’s a game with fine-tuned mechanics and a message of hope wrapped in a truly relaxing soundtrack. Though it does seem to have finite resources and not too much in the way of major advancement, it’ll probably also be a game that can provide someone many hours of enjoyment, including myself.
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Reviewed by Freelance7. Game received by Assemble Entertainment.