Post-apocalyptic games are usually pretty dreary and depressing affairs, however flood plain takes a different approach, weaving themes of hope and exploration into the overall experience. It’s a survival city builder that tries to give things more personality and personal storytelling, and while that idea doesn’t always land, floodlands Mechanics are usually enough to keep you going, always eager to play a little more and tweak your billing.
The history of flood plain takes place after a climate crisis has wiped out most of the world’s population and flooded much of the country. All you know is something called the event that caused all this destruction, and now you must lead a small clan on a journey to rebuild humanity.
At the start of each randomly generated playthrough, you choose one of four clans to lead, each with their own background, which then leads to specific strengths and bonuses. For example, the Fire Department is made up of former first responders, while the Good Neighbors are a tight-knit group that used to live in the same community.
There is an underlying story that ties all of the gameplay together, with each new piece of history reading like a journal entry and illustrating the people at the heart of everything. Interestingly, this idea translates directly to gameplay, since ultimately one of your most important resources is the people themselves.
floodlands The unique aesthetic paints each map with a series of islands and landmasses separated by both shallow and deep waters. A thick fog covers everything, meaning you’ll have to focus on exploration first to find important resources, locations to construct collectible buildings, and abandoned structures to explore.
flood plain can be quite difficult to understand at first, even with a plethora of tutorials. There are over a dozen resources that you will eventually need to manage, although they will be introduced in stages. There are both safe and unsafe foods, with the latter having the potential to poison or make your people sick. In addition, you layer water to survive, plastic to build, wood you turn into planks, stone, metal and the list goes on.
Of course, in order to gather all these resources, you need people to split your population between your various gathering buildings and your storage buildings, where you can assign them exploration and building tasks. This creates an interesting dynamic where you’re constantly trying to balance your survivors’ quests and exploration to find more building-locked individuals to add to your clan.
When you find these other survivors, however, they have their own clans, each with different ideals, which can create tension in your settlement. Here are laws floodlands another important gameplay system comes into play. Over time, you will slowly build up a resource called Authority, which can be used to make laws affecting your settlement as a whole. These laws are largely divided into four categories that focus on martial law, economic expansion, peace, and recreational activities.
Laws balance the differing opinions of your different clans, and each clan has a tension meter that increases as you do things they don’t like. Consequently, people will start stealing additional resources, and if the gauge is high enough, even an entire clan may decide to leave the clan.
While these systems could theoretically help create deep narrative drama, this is rarely the case. It’s a problem that is endemic flood plain: There is simply a lack of narrative diversity. You end up seeing the same issues and lines over and over again while the jitters oscillate back and forth, and the system ends up feeling more like a glitch designed simply to slow down your progress.
While it can be difficult to piece all of these disparate systems together, there is an undeniable catch floodlands Gameplay loop. The exploration mechanic brings a unique take on the survival town builder, and the game does a good job of distributing resources and rewards at a steady pace, meaning you’ll always have something to improve and improve upon.
While floodlands The bright aesthetic really works, there are some performance issues that I experienced deep in the playthroughs. As your settlement grows larger it’s quite common for the frame rate and performance to suffer, and once I reached a certain settlement size the fast forward button would be almost impossible to use as it was taxing the frame rate. This is obviously something that can be ironed out with future patches, but it undeniably impacted the experience and slowed down my overall progress.
Floodland Review – The Conclusion
- Unique concept like no other city builder.
- Strong gameplay loop.
- Beautiful aesthetic and visual style.
- Too many resources to keep track of.
- Narrative trappings ultimately don’t feel satisfying.
- Performance issues as your settlement grows larger.
floodlands Its biggest selling point is its unique setup, and that largely helps it stand out from other city builders. There’s an undeniable learning curve as you grapple with dozens of different systems and resources, but if you can overcome that, there’s a satisfying core gameplay loop underneath.
More than anything, flood plain feels like a game that could really benefit from some updates and content changes. As it stands, there’s a unique city builder that fans of the genre will likely enjoy, but it could be one of those games that, with the right support, really becomes something special.
[Note: Ravenscourt provided the copy of Floodland used for this review.]