Today An Apocalypse, Tomorrow An Empire

HIGH It’s easy to learn all the features.

LOW Generic battles. Generic events. Generic aesthetic.

WTF Stock markets survived the Apocalypse??

For sure, we live in atypical times – maybe even the end times that churches and cults warn us of. The COVID pandemic, growing number of refugees, global warming… the Doomsday Clock is getting closer to midnight. Luckily, we have videogames, and we trust them to show us how to survive the apocalypse. From Last of Us to Fallout, from Days Gone to Horizon Zero Down, or from Metro to The Division, gamers are probably the best-prepared people in case the gods go mad.

In this vein, SimPocalypse is introduced to us as a post-apocalyptic civilization game that combines the sim and strategy genres with one of the most present ingredients of pop culture — the post-apocalyptic theme. But no, there are no zombies ravaging around like in The Walking Dead or any bizarre mutants doing bizarre things. This is not a simulator/strategy version of Fallout.

SimPocalypse resembles more a conventional civilization builder, where the player must look for resources and manage them to expand their settlement. The developers tried to bring something new to the table by combining a theme and genre that we don’t usually see together, giving players the opportunity to have a post-apocalyptic experience with a strategy twist.

The disaster in this case is a nuclear war which killed most of the population. It’s a Chernobyl-like scenario, and the player leads a small group of survivors with the mission of establishing a settlement and finding resources to survive.

Visually, SimPocalypse isn’t impressive. We have an initial cutscene with three images, and the background of play is a portrait of an abandoned factory. The building icons show images of decaying facilities, and… that’s it. There’s definitely room for a more convincing post-apocalyptic aesthetic. The battles scenarios are also generic and repetitive, alternating between a normal arboreal area, a desert landscape, or a blank ice sheet. However, we may consider these limitations the vicissitudes of a small studio.

Initially, SimPocalypse guides the player to search for resources. These are food rations, water, and wood, that we can get by exploring the territory or by producing it in certain buildings or looting it in battles. As we progress, we gain access to other resources like energy, stone, iron, or uranium.

The resources that we obtain are mainly used to build and keep facilities operational. Alongside these, there are two other relevant resources – knowledge to unlock research in a well-made tech tree, and gold that we use to buy or sell products in the global market. Apparently, in this post-apocalyptic world international trade routes and stock markets are working fine?

A vital feature of SimPocalypse is the population which grows as more houses are built. These citizens are needed to explore the territories, scavenge resources, fill public jobs, work on facilities, or act as soldiers. At a more advanced stage, the population can reach the millions. However, even when at these dizzying numbers, I never felt a loss of control. Unlike some similar titles where management is complex and we can get lost in numbers, SimPocalypse manages to stay simple and intuitive.

Unfortunately, things soon become rote and dull. For growth and expansion, the player must build the necessary facilities and always work towards a gradual growth of resources and population, and much of the gameplay is just about making these numbers bigger.

War in SimPocalypse is also simple. It boils down to a clash of tanks that fire at each other from static positions. The player must build a huge quantity of them, upgrade them, and destroy the enemy

At certain point, SimPocalypse offers nothing more than conquering the next region and performing the same battle hundreds of times. It’s not a hyperbole – to conquer a region we must engage in a hundred battles, and there are a total of 476 regions – and yes, I counted them all. That is, in total, we must do the same battle 47,600 times to conquer the world militarily! Fortunately, the developers realize the absurdity of this and give automation options, allowing the process of conquest to carry on without the attention of the player. Alternatively, we can colonize or purchase parts of regions for an accessible amount of gold… either option makes the battles a bit pointless, though.

SimPocalypse is an easy game to learn and can be used to introduce new players to the sim management genre because it has a clear tutorial and simplified mechanics. On the other hand, the repetitiveness of the battles and actions builds up quickly and the replayability is weak. While the developers have come a long way since launch, I can’t shake the feeling that SimPocalypse has yet to reach its full potential, especially in the late game when many choices seem pointless. Hopefully the developers are still listening to feedback and working to improve the experience.  

Rating: 5.5 out of 10

Disclosures: This game is developed and published by Gamex Games. It is currently available on PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PC.Approximately 13 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was not completed. There are no multiplayer modes.

Parents: As of press time, this game was not reviewed by the ESRB. This is a strategy game in which players manage to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. This is a management-based game without the representation of humans and animals. Battles are only done by tanks, where we can see gunfire and explosions. Along with this, some pop-up messages refer to radioactivity, violence, and deaths.

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: There is no dialogues in this game. The texts cannot be altered and/or resized, although there is an option to turn on/off the fullscreen mode (but the differences between these two modes in text size is minimal). The game is perfectly playable with no audio. The only audio this game makes is the soundtrack, the menu/interface sounds effects, and some environment sounds like the tank explosions.

Remappable Controls: Yes, this game offers fully remappable controls. The game can be entirely controlled via the mouse, but the hotkeys can be entirely changed and disabled.

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