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New Cycle is an Early Access Apocalyptic City Builder Worth Jumping Into

New Cycle

Building a civilisation from scratch is quite a big ask, isn’t it? If the modern world we know today was to come to an end through any sort of apocalyptic means, I’m not sure I’d want to be around for the aftermath. Just drop that nuclear bomb right on my head: the current world is hard enough, thankyouverymuch. New Cycle, available now in early access via Steam, tasks you with that very thing: building a new civilisation from the bottom up.

It’s something that most city-building simulators ask, and so the basic premise of New Cycle isn’t anything new. It’s all been seen and done before, and this latest attempt from Daedalic isn’t attempting to redesign the wheel. Instead, it’s created something that’s comfortable, familiar and actually, rather fun to play – even if you aren’t a strategy/city-building sim expert.

In New Cycle, you’re in charge of a small encampment of settlers. You have practically nothing to begin with, other than a tent acting as your headquarters and a few tiny tents where your residents are stationed. Piece by piece, you’ll need to grow your settlement, becoming self-sufficient and providing everything your people need to survive and, eventually, thrive.

New Cycle
Image: Core Engage/Daedalic Entertainment

If you’ve played a game like this before, you’ll know the drill. You’ll want to place a field camp and employ people to cut down trees, then a lumbermill will turn the wood into useful planks. You’ll also need a well, a gathering camp to find wild-growing food, and a soup kitchen to create basic meals. You’ll also want to give your residents better lodgings.

By hitting milestones in New Cycle, you’ll begin a titular new cycle, which opens up new technologies to be researched, allowing for new buildings – and improvements to your existing ones – to be deployed. These roll out at a decent pace, meaning you’ve always got something to work towards. The onus is always on you, though: outside of a short tutorial that acquaints you with the basics, you won’t have any prompts telling you what to do next. You’re in charge, and it’s entirely your call.

New Cycle

Save 10% on New Cycle from Humble

Fancy giving New Cycle a go? This brand new post-apocalyptic city-builder can be yours on Humble bundle for just £22.49 (or your local equivalent) – that’s a 10% saving on its RRP.

Thankfully, New Cycle is pretty easy to get to grips with. There’s enough depth that stalwarts of the genre should find it engaging enough, but I think that newcomers will find themselves feeling pretty welcome here. Menus are easy enough to navigate and working out your next steps is always straightforward enough.

I particularly like that New Cycle has a great deal of customisation, catering for different ability levels. Your first choice is of game modes: there’s a sandbox mode, which offers an easy-going, threat-free city-building experience geared towards complete newbies. Then there’s a campaign mode, offering a gentle difficulty slope which will present ramping challenges as you progress. Further modes will be coming at a later date, allowing competent players to jump into existing settlements and face off against a range of challenges.

New Cycle
Image: Core Engage/Daedalic Entertainment

These modes can be further fine-tuned by choosing a difficulty level, and a choice of different locations will affect how many resources are available. Tackle an arid settlement, for example, and you’ll have to work harder to get water. Or opt for an isolated tundra location and you’ll find your hunting opportunities are limited.

Considering that New Cycle has launched into early access – a state that its developers expect it to remain in for up to two years – I’m pleasantly surprised by how polished everything feels. There’s already a fully-playable experience here, and one that’s hugely satisfying to boot. Over the course of early access, more modes (as mentioned above) will be added, animations will be fine-tuned and additional mechanics will be added. The development team will also be taking heed of community feedback – so if you want to be involved in shaping the game, now’s a good time to jump in.

Few early access games are as polished and presentable as New Cycle right out of the gate. There’s a lot to like here, particularly if you’re partial to a strategic city-builder. With multiple challenges on offer to suit a number of difficulty levels, both fans of the genre and those looking to find a jumping-in point should consider giving this some of their time.

New Cycle is available now on Steam. Buy it now from Humble and save 10%.

Editor in chief // Kim's been into video games since playing Dizzy on her brother's Commodore 64 as a nipper. She'll give just about anything a go, but she's got a particular soft spot for indie adventures. If she's not gaming, she'll be building Lego, reading a thriller, watching something spooky or... asleep. She does love to sleep.