The world has been spun into an icy blizzard. You and a small bunch of survivors have settled into a large crater a few kilometres across to set up your camp.
In this inhospitable environment, heating your population is the core of the game. The interface is designed in a circular shape around a central heat generator.
With the generator at the centre, you slowly build rings of buildings around it, growing outwards. You’ll need to build roads and then spend more coal to extend the range of your generator to heat streets further and further away from the core.
Your initial role as the captain of this small group is to gather coal to start the generator. This is an ongoing requirement throughout the game. Letting your coal supplies run low, can quickly end in a sick population who quickly dies.
The day is divided into work and free time. With your population following your directions to their job sites by day and then eating & sleeping the rest of the day.
Food and wood are the resources that will next become a priority. Like with any resource gathering element of the game, you may start with only a single gathering option, but numerous buildings or techniques open up over time.
Sickness and the use of medical facilities are a constant in the game. Your population is losing limbs through frostbite, hurting themselves and just getting sick. Imagine what it would be like to be exploring Antarctica with incredibly limited resources.
Each type of facility has up to three different types of employees. Depending upon the laws that you put in place, you may have workers, engineers and/or children to employ in each facility. Engineers are the most efficient, while children are the least.
In the game you never quite balance your resource collection perfectly like other civilisation management type games. So you are often lurching from one crisis or shortage to another. Often these are compounded, for example, I lost the game twice when I ran low on coal, just as a particularly cold snap arrived, which paralysed a few of my key buildings.
Building a workshop, which enables you to research technologies is important and will be crucial to survival not just prosperity.
After a short period, you get the hang of most of the basics, and you’ll want to send search parties off to explore numerous areas around the crater you’re inhabiting. You can find survivors, resources and very useful robots.
All the way through the game politics is holding you back, driving you crazy, leaving you with tough decisions and dividing the loyalty of your population. These are often in the form of laws that you’ll need to pass. Whether to allow child labour or not. Whether to forcibly amputate limbs in the hospital etc.
This is a challenging game; you will find yourself losing in some different ways before you crack some great decision-making methods.
Additional scenarios are also built into the game, giving you a different starting point to try totally different experiences with.
All around an excellent game, just check your computer specs before buying on Stream, as the graphics look beautiful but require some processing power.
My favourite city builder & resource management game in the last two years. Get your copy now here.