Endzone: A World Apart is a brand new post-apocalyptic survival strategy game that’s currently in early access on Steam. The game puts you in control of a colony of survivors who are fighting to establish some sort of settlement in the wake of a nuclear disaster. While the plants and animals seem to have returned, very little is left of civilisation, which is why you need to help them rebuild and flourish. I’ve been playing quite a lot of the game, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with it. Instead of a standard review, I thought I’d walk you through the five elements I enjoyed most, and the one that bugged me a bit.
1) Automated Survivors
In Endzone: A World Apart, you are responsible for a lot of people right off the bat. If you were controlling each of them individually it would be a nightmare, but thankfully things work a bit differently here. Instead of telling each survivor what job they have and what to build next, you simply assign people to different jobs. This is all done form a small window that simply requires you to increase or decrease the number of people in certain roles. It takes away from the progression of each character a little, but there are so many, and there’s so much going on, that you don’t have time to notice. It’s a nice touch that makes you feel like you’re being organised, when all you’re really doing is prioritising the tasks that need to be done most.
2) Brutally Realistic Needs
The needs of your survivors begin with water and food. However, as you build more infrastructure into your settlement, those needs are going to get more complex. Tools need to be manufactured in order for builders to keep repairing and constructing, there’s wood to be chopped, fields to be farmed, deer to be hunted, herbs to be gathered, and so on. While each element is a separate need in itself, they all rely on protection from radiation, which is another need you have to tend to. However, if your food and water run out, everything else falls apart. I’ve failed a session in Endzone: A World Apart a number of times just because my water couldn’t sustain the number of people I had. This is true to life and it feels as such. Without food and water, nothing gets done, and it’s brutally true here.
3) Fantastic Sense Of Progression
When you’re doing well in Endzone: A World Apart, you feel it. You can upgrade buildings to help with production and gain more people, and that feels amazing. As you get more adults to help out with jobs, you sometimes hit the point when you don’t know where to place them in your production schedule. The game rewards you with these extra people without it feeling too much like a reward. Instead, it feels like a natural progression that’s occurring as your settlement grows. If you manage things well, this will be familiar to you, but it’s a fragile balance that can fall apart at any time.
4) Meaningful Upgrades
Most buildings can be upgraded in Endzone: A World Apart, and they have a true meaning that’s immediately evident. A Cistern for water can be upgraded to also have a rainwater collector. This boosts the amount of water you collect for most of a season, and makes things feel a bit less tense. Likewise, Cabins can be upgraded to be larger and more efficient family homes. These are important because they help you develop more people, which are essential for all of the tasks you’ve got going on. You pick up on how the upgrades affect your game pretty quickly, and they’re a nice touch to make you feel good about the way you’re playing.
5) Huge Potential
Above all else, Endzone: A World Apart has huge potential. The game is still in early access, with no final release date in sight just yet. There’s a roadmap showing all of the new content that’s on the way, and it’s genuinely exciting to feel like you’re a part of it. Expeditions were just added to the game, allowing you to send people off into the wasteland to collect vital supplies from destroyed buildings. Next on the roadmap are scenarios, which will include short events for you to compete with. I can’t wait to see what else comes to the game, and I know I’m here for the long haul.
Unfortunately, there is one big issue I have with the game.
1) You Can Fail Without Knowing Why
I’ve failed a few times in Endzone: A World Apart, and early on that was just because I had no idea what I was doing. Later on though, I could see things falling apart, but there was no alert to tell me why I was failing. Water and food were fine, but my people were simply leaving or dying off, with no new people joining. As it turns out, my cemetery was full, and people were either leaving because they had a dead body in the house, or dying from a disease caused by living with a dead body. I’m not sure which. The game tells you when someone is unhappy because their friend died, but it doesn’t point out when your cemetery is full.
Even with this one issue I had, I have to admit that the game is still fantastic. It’s still in early access, so I imagine that the developers will put in new alerts and systems to help players avoid failing due to dead bodies slowly filling up every building. This is a survival strategy game that’s worth your time, so consider it if you need a new strategy game in your life.