Endzone is a very difficult and very deep post apocalyptic strategy survival game. It is extremely harsh and brutal in the resource and logistics management through the course of a scenario or a freeplay environment. Which is absolutely fantastic. It brings to life a fresh bit of air and reality that some decisions domino onto either great fruits of labor, or terrible reprocussions leading to a complete colony failure.
Starting off with an extremely well designed and detailed tutorial. Endzone guides you through the aspects of the game and how to make it through the harsh radioactive and ever changing world. The tutorial guides you through nearly every building and takes you through some of the research and the benefits of your labor of tech. I haven't seen quite an in depth tutorial such as this one for some time and it was extremely refreshing to see. Even moreso the guide was voice acted to provide you with a more in depth feeling of what is going on to your colony or survivors. This tutorial however well informed however - did not highlight the extremely harshness of dealing with certain scenario's such as a radioactive wave coming through and making your people sick and infertile. After several different playthrough's of "The Long Summer" Scenario it highlighted to myself the small missing details of the side effects of a drought and what it effects. How much water consumption actually effected everything and what used water and what didnt. These were slightly frustrating points to learn after the fact. But just like every game alot of thing's you learn as you go and it takes a few failuers to understand how to prepare for what's to come.
Overall in my eyes this game is fantastic. As an early release game it was very well polished. Very detailed and extremely deep in gameplay and mechanics. The graphical detail was fantastic to see with fine detailssuch as the raindrops appearing on the waters surface or lanterns being flown into the sky above the cemetary for the colonies dearly departed. To the foliage adjusting to the weather conditions. The music was quite lovely and fitting. Adding moreso to the deep dive into the world you are trying to survive in. However over long gameplay sessions it did feel a bit repetitive so i would love to see this library expanded. The length of a game depends on each scenario and i feel is quite fitting for these games. As you familiarize yourself with the layout of each colony and the buildings you can adjust the speed to take as long or as little as you like. This makes it quite suitable to pickup and walk away from to regather your bearings when you come back and understand what you were previously working towards. I had quite an enjoyable time playing this.
There were a few smaller details that i would like to see to help with overall expansion and greater management of the details of the game. The ability to see on an in game menu what buildings are producing what.
· As an example of this the "recycler" is a major building you will use for a very substantial part of each game and you will end up with several of them more than likely. Trying to confirm which building is producing what and is staffed and which isn't is quite a tedious task and as an Endzone colony expands - would be quite well suited to its own interface. This interface could also show other various bits of information such as "tools used this season, newborns this season, deaths etc".
· I would love to see on the selected building interface a bit more detail on resources gathered / consumed for each building type - and then bring this information further on into the already visual graph interface they are currently using (which is very applicable but just needs a little bit more). An example of this is a charcoal kiln consuming X lumber per worker per cycle (or day if they were to add a time to the season information). This could be expanded into the existing graph system they have.
· A larger indication of when a gathering facilities has exhausted its resources within its zone. Again this is one of those do we keep the difficulty of the management up high - or adjust it slightly (possible difficulty options here?). There were several times i would end up Scrapless due to being late in realizing i had exhausted a gather zone and it generally ended up being a critical blow to the colony.
· a toggleable option for structure health for all buildings visible
Currently the game lacks a little information in a few departments. But im sure these will be addressed as the game continues development.
· Radiation levels, effects & how to approach it.
· The differences in radiation clothing and when to use what could be a nice addition. Currently the own visible advantage i see for the radiation suit is the longevity of it per production.
· Pro's and cons of trying to explore your surrounding's with expeditions vs ignoring it. the rewards don't seem too beneficial currently given the manpower it takes to setup for an expedition and remove people off certain tasks. I feel at this point of the game where that is practical you probably dont need a few extra scrap or wood or metal.
· Further information on different seed's and animal types without having to find them would be beneficial
· Further explanation of "production limits" would be beneficial
Endzone is quite a replayable game. With each scenario offering something different and a new obstacle to overcome. Each map offers a whole new level of difficulty and way's to approach certain scenarios. It is because of this factor it steps above its predecessors like "Frostpunk" where all the maps are locked in and set in stone, and opens the game up to repeat gameplay. This hopefully won't mean the developers won't release future scenario's to expand upon the challenges but it does open the door to "freeplay" style scenarios.
I am quite a lover of this style of game. When i laid my hands upon a copy of frostpunk and dived into that - I well and truly lost hours upon hours of my life. There were many midnight finishes because i just wanted to do the next bit. Endzone a world apart is very much the same. I have already found myself up until the early hours trying to complete or finish certain parts. I am loving each challenge i find with this game and differeing ways to approach each difficulty. I have extremely high hopes for the final release of this game and am eagerly looking forward to the final production. For lovers of resource management. Strategy and survival games i would highly reccomend this game. Anyone who enjoyed frostpunk will also enjoy this game. I would give this game an 8 / 10 with hope for a 9 with a few changes.
Thankyou to Gentlymad Studio's, Assemble entertainment and Whisper Games for the production and creation of such an enjoyable survival game, and giving Gamerz Downunder the chance to enjoy your creation.