Surviving the Aftermath is the new survival city-builder developed by Iceflalke Studios. It had been available as part of Steam’s early access program but version 1.0 has now been officially released. The game puts you in control of rebuilding a colony after a global disaster has brought humanity to its knees. Starting with nothing, you must build a colony from scratch whilst navigating the dangers this new world throws at you.
I’ve been playing on PC and as such there are plenty of graphical options you can tweak in order to get the best experience depending on your setup but even the recommended specs aren’t too high and you’ll have no trouble running this game.
Watch the release trailer below:
There are also lots of options to choose from depending on how demanding you want your playthrough to be. You can choose from a low starting population, resources, fertile land and a high rate of disasters if you want a hardcore challenge or you could opt to make things much easier by choosing the opposite. I found setting everything to easy made things far too easy for my liking so I’ve done most of my playing on a middling difficulty which has still posed a few challenges. I haven’t yet had the courage to play on the hardest settings.
Graphically everything looks fine, it’s nothing exceptional but is perfectly serviceable. The sound is also fine but doesn’t stand out as being anything special. There is also a radio station that you can turn on or off plus cycle through a few stations. The radio adds a bit of atmosphere but became repetitive very quickly. On the subject of atmosphere, this is one area the game falls down. It feels a bit soulless. The first survival city builder I ever played was Frostpunk which really sucked me into its desolate world but Surviving the Aftermath doesn’t quite deliver on this front.
As you would expect, the main gameplay is centred around building up your colony and managing resources plus the occasional disaster and bandit raids. There are loads of buildings to use, upgrade and unlock and you’ll need to take the time to plan out where you want things. For example, you don’t want to build your housing all over your limited fertile land. You’ll also need to think seriously about your production chains to ensure they are robust enough, prepare badly and you’ll soon be running out of vital resources and your colonists will leave.
In addition to the main city building experience, you are able to explore the world at large. To explore you need to hire specialists who can either be fighters, scavengers, scientists and more. These guys can roam the world, they can gather resources, fight bandits and make contact with other settlements to name just a few uses. They are also vital for defending your own colony if you get attacked. This feature adds a nice contrast to the main city building and breaks things up a lot.
The game also has a very extensive tech tree that allows you to unlock new buildings and upgrades which will be vital to your success. Every single upgrade is useful and nothing feels like filler. There are so many options to choose from and everything is crucial making it actually quite stressful to decide what to research and in what order. To make things even more interesting, science (the research currency) can only be obtained from the world map.
Throughout your game, you’ll be faced with seemingly big decisions to make. This is usually in the form of making a choice of whether to invest some resources into a request to see if it pays off. Even though some of my choices turned out badly I never really felt punished by the results, perhaps on the hardest settings these would have a bigger impact but on the middling difficulty, they might as well not bother. I also feel this way about the disasters that occur. These include disease breakouts, extreme weather or meteor storms and whilst these all have a negative effect they never felt truly challenging but once again I imagine they could take a serious toll at the hardest settings.
Overall, Surviving the Aftermath is a really solid addition to the genre and I genuinely want to keep playing it and perhaps one day I’ll be brave enough to play on the hardest settings. If city builders are your thing I highly recommend you check this one out.
Surviving the Aftermath was reviewed using a digital code provided by the publisher.
Publisher: Paradox: Iceflake Studios Release Date: 16th November 2021 Reviewed On: PC Also Available On: Xbox One, PS4.