Floodland, from developer Vile Monarch and publisher Ravenscourt, is a survival-strategy hybrid set in a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by the floodwaters caused by climate change. Yes, it’s dystopian and apocalyptic and maybe a little bit too on the nose given recent real-life events but, oh boy, does this game succeed at what it sets out to do.
Flooded lands and clans
Players take on the role of a clan commander of sorts. You pick one from a decent selection, with each commander having unique personality traits and methods of leadership. Once done, the game thrusts you straight into the deep end with the tutorial doing the bare minimum of getting you into the flow of the game.
In Floodland you will, unfortunately, have to learn the more nuanced mechanics of the gameplay loop through trial and error. Once you get your initial settlement up and running, you need to ensure that your survivors can become self-sufficient and have enough food, shelter, and other refined resources to survive. This is easier said than done as each map is randomly generated and RNG is a factor.
In some instances, you can easily run into an essential resource shortage early on and suffer a defeat because you won’t be able to progress further without more advaanced technology. On top of this, random events occur throughout the game and you need to be on your guard at all times. Many can be a disaster for you and your settlement if you’re not stocked up on resources or at a sufficient tech level when they strike.
Survive then lead
Players will need to sink a considerable amount of time into the game to get used to the resource gathering, research and building loop. Once this is mastered though, the finer details – like managing your society with laws and rules – comes into play. It’s all very reminiscent of Frostpunk and, if you enjoyed Frostpunk, you’ll definitely find yourself enjoying Floodland in much the same way. Both games have a brutally difficult learning curve but become extremely rewarding once you know what you’re doing.
Choosing to invest in all four areas of research is essential to building up a successful settlement. “Growth”, “Survival”, “Exploration”, and “Well-Being” need to be equally researched if you are to have any sort of success in Floodland as these unlock new buildings to construct, which in turn helps your settlement deal with the post-apocalyptic world and lack of abundant resources.
There’s also a human aspect to consider, with the addition of “Clans” and dynamic relations between them. This adds an intense layer of complexity to the game and you’ll have to keep a close eye on this dynamic if you are to keep everyone happy in your settlement. Players will need to carefully manage their resources and allocate research points to the right technologies, at the right time, to keep the settlement thriving and happy – all the while working towards their goal.
Beautiful but buggy
Floodland looks fantastic from a graphical standpoint, with detailed animations and an eye-catching art style. The user interface could be a bit less intrusive when it comes to displaying warning messages but this is something you do get used to over time and ensures you react quickly. The graphic novel-style cutscenes are beautiful and are packed with artistic details that really draw you in, while the in-game graphics are very similar too ensuring it feels cohesive.
The soundtrack serves its purpose and helps maintain the sombre atmosphere of the game, while contributing to the tension you feel when things escalate and your settlement is in danger. The combination of random events and an overarching storyline keep Floodland engaging and had me pushing towards the scenario end goal.
Now while all of the above may seem great for a strategic game that involves micro-management and tight resource control, Floodland suffers from a few potentially fatal technical flaws that mar an otherwise amazingly in-depth experience.
The game suffers from crashes and numerous problems once your population exceeds a certain limit, such as inconsistent and inexplicable frame rate drops. The game also black-screened our PC once and we were forced to restart from a much earlier save file because of this. That loss of precious, hard-fought progress wwas a blow and, if this happens to other players, we could see them being put off quickly.
Overall, if the technical issues can be patched out, Floodland is a solid strategy game and one that we can recommend picking up if you’re into games that require forward thinking planning, some trial-and-error learning, and on-the-fly adaptation to survive. Floodland is a title that follows in the footsteps of Frostpunk, and other titles which involve similar hybrid gameplay mechanics mixing up traditional survival with social elements. If you’re a fan of this genre, you’ll probably love Floodland and should definitely give it a try. Just be wary of the problems it currently has but, thankfully, the developers have indicated they’re providing ongoing support so we’re hopefulit’ll improve.
A review code for Floodland was provided to gameblur by the publisher.
Floodland (PC) ReviewFloodland (PC) Review
Audio8/10 Very Good
Visuals8/10 Very Good
- Very similar to other titles in the genre, notably Frostpunk
- Strategic survival and social gameplay elements
- Visually pleasing art style
- The steep learning curve might put off some gamers
- Inconsistent and inexplicable frame rate drops and crashes