How do you rebuild a society when all the infrastructure, the cabling and networking that keep things ticking smoothly get ripped apart in a global nuclear disaster? All those Cities: Skylines players with their perfectly functioning transit systems and gleaming skyscrapers would be in for a rude awakening if they jumped into the post-nuclear city-builder (or rebuilder) Endzone - A World Apart.
You won’t find much time to kick back and admire your town-planning in Endzone’s rough world of shanty shacks and windowless houses, but that’s exactly what makes it exciting; your humble settlement is constantly on the brink of extermination, so every little bit of progress feels like much more of an achievement.
After nearly a year in Early Access, this post-apocalyptic settlement building/societal survival game has made it to full release on Steam. The 1.0 launch will see the game receive its 12th major content update, which is emblematic of how hard developer Gentlymad Studios has worked in consistently improving Endzone from its humble beginnings leading to this big moment.
The full-release update will add a mix of new dangers to overcome and new resources to aid your quest for survival. Raiders now roam the land, and your settlement will need to be prepared to defend itself from attack at any time. It’s not all bad news though, because the update also comes with a bunch of new voiceover lines, a new scenario, more tutorials, as well as nice quality-of-life touches like a new session creator and map preview. Perhaps best of all for all you meticulous town-planners out there, you can now build diagonal roads too!
As you can imagine, building a society from the irradiated ashes of the apocalypse is hard when contending with natural (and a few not so natural) disasters like droughts, toxic rain, sandstorms and the insidious, persistent threat of radiation. Then there’s the management of energy, resources, workforce distribution and trade. This is a deep, complex city-builder that’s neither easy to learn nor master. But it is fair, and you’ll be helped a great deal by comprehensive tutorials that have evolved alongside the game through Early Access.
If you’re to turn your ramshackle group of survivors into a not-exactly thriving but surviving town, then you’ll not only need to lay it out for maximum efficiency but make some tough decisions too.
At what point do you butcher livestock instead of just farming its produce? To what extent will you replace human workforce with machinery? Do you want your settlement to grow naturally without any restrictions or will you issue a birth control decree to prevent sudden overpopulation – ultimately saving your settlement from starvation? These and more fateful decisions for your settlement can be made at the Forum. But beware, each decree comes with its corresponding benefits and drawbacks.
Another key system is expeditions, whereby you scout the surrounding area for ruins that may hold invaluable resources for your burgeoning slither of civilisation - and danger for the brave group sent to retrieve them. Once an area has been scouted - whether it’s a crumbling fast-food restaurant or doctor’s office harbouring precious medication - you’ll need to send the right people with the right equipment for the job. If you plan these scouting missions poorly, members of your expedition may return with disease - or not return at all.
That’s just an example of the high-stakes decisions Endzone weaves through its bigger picture of kickstarting a new civilisation. You can buy Endzone on Steam as a Standard Edition, or as a Save the World Edition, which includes the complete soundtrack but also gets a real-world tree planted on your behalf thanks to a collaboration between publisher Assemble Entertainment and its partner OneTreePlanted. Over 40,000 trees have already been planted, and you can become part of this impressive green army.
Society needs rebuilding. In Endzone, how you approach this is down to you.