Game: Settlement Survival Early Access
Genre: Simulation, Strategy, Survival
System: Steam ( Windows)
Developers | Publishers: Gleamer Studios
Controller Support: No
Price: US $14.99 | UK £11.39 | EU € 14,99
Release Date: October 11th, 2021
Review code used, with many thanks to Vicarious PR
Settlement Survival was slated for release on the 15th of October but due to the popularity of the game’s demo during Steam Next Fest, the developers moved the games release date forward. I played the demo during the Fest and was keen to try out the early access of the game.
The developers have named Banished as their source of inspiration for the making of Settlement Survival. For those that don’t know, Banished is a medieval city builder where the main resource at your disposal is not gold or lumber, but the citizens of your town. They are born, grow old and die. They have careers, start families and must persevere through long hard winters and work the land to survive.
In Settlement Survival, you lead a group of new settlers into the wilderness to try and establish yourselves with a new home and eventually if all goes well a city. When Settlement Survival begins you can choose to do different tutorials depending on your skill levels in the strategy game genre. This is a fantastic idea and it means that those of us who have played this type of game before don’t have to sit through a tutorial of things we already know.
Once you have the tutorial out of the way there are a few different maps to choose from, maps that are randomly generated. At the moment, since it’s an Early Access game, there are only two maps to choose from. The standard mode has a New Beginnings map and an Easter island map to play on. Lifelong island, Twilight town and the Vikings maps are to be added at a later date.
Easter Island map has a story and quests to complete, such as needing 21 builders to carve stone statues for the island and your settlement is already established. On the New Beginnings map you can choose where on the map to settle and establish your settlement, so you have more free reign on this map compared to the Easter Island map.
There is also a Sandbox mode where you are free to do as you please. Unfortunately, it is locked behind a condition. You have to have unlocked all the tech in the technology tree in the game to have access to the sandbox mode.
So, say you are not that good at playing the game and never get the whole of the tech tree unlocked, you will never have the opportunity to try out the sandbox mode if that happens. Maybe in the future, the developers could re-think that idea and leave the Sandbox mode unlocked.
Pick the Best Area to Settle
Once you establish your settlement and have built houses, woodcutter’s, hunter’s and gatherer’s buildings it is up to you to keep your citizens alive. This can be difficult at times as there can be food shortages to contend with. Plus there’s managing limited supplies, planting crops, hunting wildlife, gathering resources, and developing trade routes.
Citizens can get injured and require a Clinic to tend their wounds, and need a church for happiness as well as schools for education. The weather throws curve balls your way in the shape of very cold winters where your citizens can run out of fuel to keep warm. I’ve had them freeze to death in a snowstorm…. oops, those poor citizens.
One time while playing I set my laptop down and forgot to pause the game, when I came back to it less than five minutes later all my healthy, happy well-fed citizens had died of starvation. All 40 odd of them kicked the bucket and so quickly too! Don’t take your eyes off the screen as you never know what can happen.
Challenge of Surviving
The challenge of surviving in Settlement Survival is enjoyable. With all the different aspects of the game, you have to juggle as well as work your way along the tech tree. The tech tree is split into eight different areas covering construction to education and more. Each offers different effects and bonuses. Rare blueprints are an opportunity to customise your settlement even further when you’ve mastered the art of trading.
Eventually, nomads will arrive in your town and you have the choice to accept them. If you do they will need houses and employment so it’s best to plan ahead and have all the right resources.
Controls and Future Updates
For an early access game Settlement Survival performed well on my laptop. I really like the presentation of the game with its cosy low-poly graphics and I love watching the citizens running around. The music and sound effects add to the gameplay and help to engross you in the world you’re building. The UI works well and is very clear and easy to use and read. I did notice a few typos in the text of the game and a few spelling mistakes, obviously, these don’t interfere with the gameplay.
The game is controlled by a mouse and keyboard. The developers have stated that they are working on controller support for the game in the future along with other updates to the game.
I really think that developers Gleamer Studios who used Banished as their source of inspiration have achieved their goal. It is a competent city builder, survival game even in the early access stage. Settlement Survival adds more layers to the strategy, city builder survival genre. If you are a fan of city buildings, survival games, and are after a new challenge, look no further than Settlement Survival.
Final Verdict: I Like It a Lot