When a world has been ravaged by climate change, what do you do to rebuild? Floodland puts you in a leadership role, where you take one of four groups and try to rebuild. You must gather resources, find other survivors, and eventually rebuild civilization. But you must watch out for limited resources and rising tensions, which can derail even the sturdiest foundations.
Floodland hasn’t changed too much from the original preview, guiding you through the basics of survival before setting you loose on the world. You still have objectives to complete, and exploration isn’t easy. Some parts aren’t explained as well as others, and trial-and-error will be a big part of the learning process. But as you get better with practice, you can slowly start building civilization back from the brink of destruction.
Floodland is currently available on PC for USD 29.99.
Story – Rebuilding Survivors in a Ravaged World
Floodland begins in a world that has been devastated by the effects of climate change. You will take control of one of four groups that are still fighting to survive. Your goal is to slowly build a foundation to revive civilization, while trying to find out what happened that led to this horrible disaster in the first place.
The story isn’t complex or difficult to understand. Rebuilding society doesn’t happen overnight, and you need to start building the foundations. You start by obtaining sources of food and water, searching for other survivors, and finally setting up laws to govern. As you progress, you will get closer to finding out what led to your current circumstances, but it’s not the most important aspect.
It’s a post-catastrophic setting, as director Kacper Kwiatkowski wants you to feel the realities of societies trying to rebuild. You don’t have any foreign enemies like zombies trying to destroy your progress. There isn’t a time limit where you have to rebuild civilization before a certain point or the game is over. You can technically take as much time as you need to resolve the problems you encounter.
It’s not an epic tale, but it works for setting the foundations of a survival game. There is potential for other ideas, but they are ultimately set aside for the most important aspect: gameplay.
Gameplay – Rebuilding Society from Scratch
Floodland puts you in control of one of four survivor groups, each with their own set of advantages. Regardless of who you choose, you have to secure food and water supplies to prevent everyone from dying. After that is secure, you slowly work your way to securing materials, sending out scouting parties, and consolidating your group of survivors. It’s a structured process that teaches you how to play, and gives you a guiding hand when learning the basics.
Tutorials – Some Good, Some Bad
One area where Floodland succeeds is that it always ensures you know the basics. You will always know where to find food or where you can obtain materials. When you research new technology, you are shown which research paths lead to the required structures. If you forget what to do, hovering over the objective will give you a short summary of what you need to accomplish. By giving you the fundamentals, you have a great foundation for future playthroughs as you experiment.
On the other hand, some aspects of gameplay aren’t told to you and you must learn them on your own. For example, you must build more Storage structures if you want to expand your base. Each Storage gives you a large area where you can harvest resources, but you can’t go past it. If you want to harvest more, you need to build more Storages. These gameplay basics aren’t explained outright, and that can stump players who can’t proceed any further.
It’s discouraging when you encounter a roadblock, but you don’t have the same guidance as you did in the beginning. As challenging as the game is, getting stuck when you don’t know what to do introduces a different kind of frustration. Rather than pushing yourself to try something new, you stop because you can’t get past an obstacle.
This can be discouraging because it is easy to trap yourself in a situation you can’t recover from. All it takes is a wrong move with the right intentions to permanently cost you any chance of succeeding. You have to restart and avoid making the same mistake, which isn’t fun.
Resource Management – Tough Decision Making
After every disaster, resources become precious because they prolong your life. Floodland is thankfully somewhat generous on this front. Some resources will automatically appear throughout the game, while others require expeditions and careful searching. You must always be hunting for new resources to expand, but you shouldn’t neglect the fundamentals that your people need.
Resources are limited, and you must stay ahead of any shortages. Food and water are easy to obtain, but you can drain food stocks faster than they replenish. Research is necessary for new technologies, and you must plan out your research path to avoid locking yourself in an unwinnable situation.
This decision making immerses you in the gameplay, because you genuinely feel the gravitas of your decisions. You can put yourself in an inescapable situation because you aren’t paying attention to what you are doing. If you don’t pay attention, you could have a short game on your hands. Fortunately, Floodland will automatically generate a new map every time, with different resource placements. This allows you to get a new set of resource points to work with, giving you more chances to refine your skills.
Audio & Visuals – Hidden Through Fog
You will see the visuals in two formats. One is when you interact with the world itself, searching for supplies and building structures. The second is through the menu screens, talking with characters and selecting projects to research. The art style on the characters and other parts of the menu (like selecting laws) is great. It gives off a rugged feel that fits with the theme of rebuilding society from scratch.
Resources around the map are easy to identify, and you can see the construction starting from scratch. It is great to see everything come alive, though you will spend most of your time peering through the fog. The fog will be dispelled when you build Storages, but you are constantly looking for new resources covered by the fog. It does clash with the visuals, since you are spending time looking at their obscured image rather than their actual appearance.
The audio doesn’t betray the challenge that’s ahead of you, but it doesn’t intimidate you either. It’s the sound of nature and the rustic charm of building something out of nothing. Listening to the music and the sounds calms you down, and you feel proud about your successes. Unfortunately there are no sounds for falling into an unwinnable situation. You might only realise you can’t win when everything falls around you, instead of hearing an alarm.
Floodland was reviewed on PC with a code provided by Uberstrategist.