Floodland is a city builder sim set in a future where the world has flooded, and it’s up to you to ensure that your clan survives. While the game is certainly a sim, there are elements that are borrowed from RPGs, like skill trees, that help with the learning curve. As far as survival city sims are concerned, this is one of the better ones you’ll find out in the market.
The game opens with a short story about how the world flooded, and the stories of how life used to be are campfire fairy tales. Your mission is to recreate society, and maybe even make it better than it was before.
You select between four clans to start, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. The Good Neighbors, who value democracy. Their clan traits include producing water faster and being workaholics. The Oakhill clan believes in structure and having a hierarchical society. Their strengths include increased walking speed and eating less food than other clans. The Fire brigade was founded by a previous firefighter, and their beliefs include personal growth that rejects prejudices. Their strengths include a lower crime rate and reducing a sick person’s time for a disease to become lethal. And finally, there is the Berkut-3 clan consisting of former oil drillers. Their clan traits include precision specialization and searching and collecting resources.
Each clan has a leader who will give tips and feedback based on their beliefs. You can choose to ignore it or try to build a society based on the principles that they embrace.
As you begin the game, you start off with very little. But the game’s tutorial does a good job of walking you through the steps necessary to rebuild a society. Each lesson in the tutorial can be tracked via a task list, similar to a quest log in an RPG. As you complete the tasks, new game features will open to you. This is one of the aspects I enjoy about Floodlands, as you never feel overwhelmed, and by the time things get more complicated, you have a good grasp of how the game plays.
Your worldview is small, as you are isolated in a small section of the flood land, surrounded by a fog of war. One of your first missions is to go out and explore the area around you, find survivors that were sent ahead of the clan, and ask them to join you. The fog of war not only provides a sense of exploration, but it’s a bit eerie as well, not knowing what lies just beyond your borders.
You’ll soon realize that, just like any other city building sim, resource management is an important aspect of Floodland. The resources available include risky food that has been poisoned that can only be purified and made safe to eat via a kitchen. Safe food can be found by forging or other means like fishing. Potable water can also be found via forging or building water filtration systems. You can gather wood by forging or cutting down trees. And rubbish of old plastic pieces used for buildings can be gathered via sorting huts. Other resources include old-world relics that can be turned into research points. Research points are resources used to expand your knowledge and technology.
One of my absolute favorite features in the game is how technology is handled. There are four different areas of technology, each acting like a skill tree. You use research points to unlock different aspects of the tree. Growth increases your society and allows you to build structures ranging from lodging, to science buildings, and factories. Survival allows your clan to thrive and focuses on technology like kitchens, to water treatments, to farming. Exploration allows your group to know the surrounding areas, such as creating climbing equipment, diving equipment, roads and more. And well-being focuses on building tents, medical facilities, cabins, and housing.
As you gain new technology, you’ll be able to build new infrastructure for your society, which means utilizing the resources you gathered. Sometimes you’ll find yourself focusing on collecting rubbish so you can build more in the well-being category. Other times, you’ll realize you need more food, so you’ll focus on building fishing and gathering structures. You can prioritize your projects and move them around quite easily.
Eventually, you’ll need to establish law in your society. And much like how technology is handled, the law system looks like a skill tree, allowing you to focus on what your society should value. If you value security, you can put your focus on policing. If you focus on work-life balance, you can put your efforts towards building rules around it. This is where the game really shines, as you soon start finding yourself building a world that is both complicated and engaging. And you start to even question what would work well in your society, and it might not be exactly what you, as a player, values.
Final Grade: B+
I enjoyed my time with Floodland. The leveling system made it easy to understand and pick up on the game quickly. The pace was a bit slow in the beginning, but the tutorial is thorough and does a nice job of walking you through the overall mechanics so that when things do get more complicated, and you find yourself trying to manage resources while still exploring and moving your clan forward, you don’t feel overwhelmed. If you enjoy survival sims, or city builders, Floodland is a game that should be in your library.