Game: Against the Storm EA
Genre: Simulation, Strategy, Survival
System: Steam (Windows)
Developers | Publishers: Eremite Games | Hooded Horse
Controller Support: Mouse & Keyboard
Price: US $16.99 | UK £15.29 | EU € 16,99
Release Date: November 1st, 2022
Review code used, with many thanks to Hooded Horse.
Developers Eremite Games and publishers Hooded Horse are responsible for bringing us another cool game in the strategy genre. Against the Storm adds a twist to the genre as it’s also part rogue-lite and part city builder set in a fantasy world.
The story in Against the Storm follows a devastating storm that destroyed the last remains of the world and the Scorched Queens ‘Smouldering City’. You are the Scorched Queen’s Viceroy, and your goal is to survive long enough to gather the valuable resources necessary to build up and restore the Smoldering City and keep the Queen happy.
The Smouldering City
The game begins with a series of tutorials; these will quickly explain each element and aspect of the game and how they interact, and then you are off a vast world map to pick a place to start your settlement. There is also an in-game encyclopaedia called the Atlas to refer to if you miss any of the tutorials.
You’ll lead humans, lizards, beavers, and harpies to reclaim the wilderness, gather resources, and discover new technologies. But.. there’s a catch, well, actually, there is more than one catch since this is a rogue-lite, but we will start with this one first.
The Never-Ending Rain
The Blightstorm will continually batter the land with never-ending rain, lightning and thunderstorms, adding a few problems of its own. Why would I be bothered by the weather in a city builder, you might think? The harsh environmental conditions form another gameplay element central to your settlement: a large hearth, which must be fed fuel to keep it alight.
If the fire goes out in the hearth, that’s it for your settlement, it is over! So it is always important to know that the hearth has enough fuel as your citizens need the heat. This is where your workers, beavers, humans, lizards and harpies come in. All three live together in cooperation, each having advantages and disadvantages.
So it is always essential to keep the needs of the different species in mind. Because if the residents are dissatisfied, they leave your settlement, resulting in less labour.
City Building Rogue-lite
You aren’t only up against the never-ending rain. You must also see to the needs of your citizens in this city building rouge-lite. There are humans, lizards, and beavers, who all have their own needs and resolve so you have to pay attention to them. The citizens for your settlement cannot be requested, nor do they show up. Instead, the Queen sends them since you are building for her to rebuild her kingdom.
In addtion, the Queen will give you tasks to complete, such as keeping the beavers’ resolve up for a set amount of days or supplying the Queen with wood, stone or whatever she demands. But she is a very impatient Queen if you don’t fulfil her requests.
The red bar at the bottom of the UI is your indicator of how pleased the Queen is with your progress. It fills in red as her impatience grows, while the blue bar is your reputation, increasing as you fulfil your duties. It’s a balancing act to please the Queen and your citizens and deal with the never-ending rain.
Against the Storm is also about the unforgiving environment, of which five different biomes exist. It never stops raining, and thunderstorms keep adding more rain with lightning bolts across the sky, making life difficult for your citizens. Each biome has different resources and it’s the luck of the draw what resources are available to you in each biome.
The sheer randomness of Against the Storm makes every run a challenge. In addtion, you have a basic selection of buildings, such as a woodcutters cabin, and you’ll unlock more as the game progresses.
However, the buildings are always random and should be chosen wisely from three on offer to you at a time. After all, the buildings are often related to tasks that need to be completed. In addition to the random buildings, there is also the random component of the environment because some maps don’t have the resources you might need right then.
You can trade with other species, which helps elevate some of the resource shortages, or if you haven’t picked the correct building from the ones on offer.
There is fog on the map as you start your settlement. However, as your woodcutters remove wood, the fog disappears, revealing areas with a Skull in them; these are Glades.
Glades can contain valuable resources or present dangers to your citizens that must be dealt with. For example, a glade I came upon had Leaking Cauldron, an old broken technology contaminating the ground around it.
If you have a successful run and please the impatient Queen by repairing a part of the Smouldering City, you receive bonuses and resources for the next run. The settlement you have successfully founded stays on the map for you to return to.
I’ve managed to establish a few settlements but in the last few days of playing the game, the Queen must have been in a bad mood and very impatient as luck hasn’t been on my side. It’s the challenge of Against the Storm that pulls you back in again to have another play.
Against the Storm, biomes are beautifully illustrated, from lush green foliage to cold and icy environments. I love the look of the game; the music is enjoyable the first few times you hear it; unfortunately, it is on repeat and becomes repetitive.
For an Early Access game, Against the Storm is already highly polished and impressive, considering that some games are released half-finished with lots of further development needed. The game is updated on a two-weekly basis at the moment; the developers have a road map for other updates to add more orders, new Glade events, a new species of citizen, new buildings and new modifiers, and more.
If you are a fan of rogue-lite and want a new challenge, try Against the Storm. For those who like city building and can adapt to the ever-changing random aspects and all the strategic elements the game offers, you will find a lot to love in Against the Storm.
Final Verdict: Two Thumbs Up