Floodland Preview: An Immersive Survival Sim That Tackles Real-World Issues

Floodland

Floodland is set in a fictional post-apocalyptic world, sure. But make no bones about it, this game paints a stark and startling picture of what our real world could be like if we don’t tackle climate change head-on.

Developed by Vile Monarch – the team behind Oh… Sir! The Insult Simulator and Weedcraft Inc, amongst other things – this may seem like something of a departure for the team. Indeed, you can’t really get much further from a head-to-head insult-em-up with Floodland. That’s surely nothing but a testament to how innovative and diverse the Vile Monarch team is. Its other games may have been tongue-in-cheek or all-out silly, but Floodland wants you to take it seriously. And it does a very good job of getting its point across to you.

When you start a new game of Floodland, you can choose the faction you wish to take control of. In our preview, we opted to take on a group of Firefighters: strong, brave and not afraid of a challenge. Seems like a good set of qualities to have in the face of an apocalypse. But starting out here, you’ve got nothing except the land around you. You’ll need to send your team our scavenging: collecting scraps, food, wood; anything you can get your hands on. Foraging for berries will have to suffice for now. It’ll keep your group going until you can find something better, at least.

As you collect resources, you can research into new areas, allowing you to start building new facilities, expanding your base and, hopefully, becoming more self-sufficient. Your group will learn how to turn waste materials into useful structures, for example. Before you know it, you’ll have built a fishing outpost and a camp of tents to give your group somewhere safe to sleep. But surviving simply isn’t good enough: Floodland wants you to rebuild humanity, and that means forever pushing forward with research and development.

Set against a devastating backdrop where rising sea levels have decimated much of the planet, Floodland feels like a real-life “worst case scenario simulator”. Starting from scratch when everything seems hopeless may feel like a lost cause. But actually, seeing your small settlement grow and thrive can actually be affirming. There is light at the end of the tunnel, after all. Perhaps humanity can pull through even the very worst of events.

Floodland

It’s not going to be easy, though. Our time with the preview build of the game was brief, but you’re going to face many challenges as you play. How do you deal with dwindling resources? What about unrest in your camp? How do you bring peace to a group of starving people? You have tough decisions to make at just about every turn in Floodland, and it’s safe to say that not everyone will be happy with the choices you make. But being a leader is never easy: you need to go with your gut and do what you think is right.

Related: The Best Survival Games on PS4

And if you get it wrong? You deal with the consequences, and keep going. Fail, and not all is lost: Floodland is designed to be played again and again, with every new game taking place on a brand new, randomly-generated map. Maybe you’ll be lucky and be thrown into a world filled with resources. Or maybe you’ll be sniffing for scraps right from the get-go. You can set difficulty parameters too, depending on how challenging you want your time with the game to be. We’d suggest sticking to ‘story’ difficulty the first time around until you learn the ropes.

When it comes to familiarising yourself with Floodland‘s controls and menus, though, it’s rather straightforward. There’s a handy tutorial that teaches you the basics, and you’ll soon familiarise yourself with the menus you’ll need to frequent in order to unlock upgrades and set about constructing new buildings.

If you’re a fan of management sims and survival games, Floodland deserves to be on your radar. We’re excited to play more: not only does it look and play good, but its focus on narrative and characterisation injects some welcome personality into the proceedings. When you know a little about the people you’re fighting to keep alive, it all feels much more worthwhile.

Floodland is coming to PC via Steam on 15th November.