Floodland Preview – A survivalist city builder with social balance at its heart

Floodland Header

It certainly feels like the city or colony builder genre has started to lean more and more heavily toward survivalist elements in the last few years, and Floodland is absolutely a part of that game design movement. Set in a future where climate change and rising sea levels have risen exponentially and destroyed civilisation as we know it, it’s up to you to rebuild society after the collapse.

Of course, that’s easier said than done, and if apocalyptic fiction has taught us anything, it’s that even with complete annihilation facing us, mankind can easily devolve even further when clashing views, societal change and simplistic differences come between us. This is one of the key parts of Floodland, so as you expand your settlement and invite more and more people under your umbrella, you’ll have to start mediating between beliefs and ideologies, finding a path where people can coexist.

But that’s a problem for later into the game. At the very beginning things are much more simplistic, with a focus on building up the very basics of a sustainable settlement. Starting out from a simple resource collection point, you need to send the handful of survivors you have to salvage food and water from the nearby wrecks and ruins, gathering enough to put together some shelters out of recycled trash, and feed and water your people for a while. These are very finite resources – enough to get you started, but not enough to survive on for any length of time – and so you need to start getting creative, researching and fabricating the buildings that can sustainably make food, clean contaminated water, research ancient relics, and more.

Floodland Exploration

Completing the basic missions through the opening rewards you with research points to spend in the tech tree, thematically either figuring out new buildings and structures for yourselves, or rediscovering old technologies and methodologies by trawling through relics and text books from fallen civilisations. Where your basic camp and foraging efforts can draw upon a pool of your people to do work, once you start setting up kitchens, water purifiers, fishing outposts, research towers, you need to then allocate one or two workers to keep them active. Beyond that you can also specialise buildings – the research tower can either use text books to help your workers specialise, or use relics found within the ruins to gain more research points.

As you expand and explore your surroundings – an early objective will see you try to reach a nearby radio tower, before the rest of the map is procedurally generated with other islands and distant skyscrapers piercing the fog – you’ll inevitably bump into other groups of survivors. If you want them to join your settlement, you need to meet their core requirements to show that you can support them. Once they’re brought into the fold, though, you still need to cater to their needs and desires.

Floodland Survival

Your people will group up into different clans, each with certain outlooks on the world and differing beliefs. Looking to balance these and rebuild society, you need work through the Law Committee, a kind of societal tech tree that lets you enact laws based around authority, recreation, security, survival and customs. You’ll need to have built up enough Influence in order to push new laws through, and there’s various branching points that will determine the kind of society that you build. You can place your security needs upon a police force or a militia, allow for a free press or censor the newspapers, emphasise shared public spaces or private property.

It’s entirely possible that everything could come crumbling back down around you if you head down the wrong paths. It’s sure to be exacerbated by worsening conditions and supply of essentials, and if you don’t meet their requests and demands, but unrest can start to build up within a particular clan, potentially seeing them threaten to leave and depleting your settlement of valuable manpower.

Floodland looks to be an interesting take on the survival city builder, blending together the fundamentals of the genre with a more social element and a pleasantly stylised apocalyptic world. We look forward to seeing more as it heads for release on 15th November.

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