Shattered Hope is the latest expansion for Surviving the Aftermath – the first being ‘New Alliances’. The Shattered Hope DLC went live on Steam November 3rd 2022, building on the base game which launched October 19th 2019. Since quite a length of time has passed between the base game and the expansion, it makes you wonder what Iceflake Studios have been up to. Well, Shattered Hope brings a ton of new content, modifications and tweaks to the original game. Some of these are based on player feedback – it’s refreshing to see a studio that listens to the players.
Surviving the Aftermath is a colony-sim survival game set in a post-apocalyptic future. Resources are scarce, colonists are valuable and danger is everywhere. The main goal is to create a sustainable settlement, bringing back stability and civilisation to a broken world. One of the more interesting mechanics of Surviving the Aftermath is the cataclysms.
Cataclysms are – as you might expect – are cataclysmic type events that bring death and destruction to your colonists. Perhaps a meteor has rained down on a group of farmers, or a pandemic has wiped out half your population. Either way, these seemingly random events really add an element of risk and danger to everything you do. Foresight and contingency is key. Just think to yourself “If I stack my buildings close together, what happens if a meteor hits?”, or “if my population is too dense, how do I deal with an outbreak?”.
Before we can experience the pleasures and pains of a cataclysm… we must first master the basics. Each game starts in a fairly rudimental state. Players will begin with little, and must recruit new colonists to build up basic structures for housing and production. Through micro-management and strategic prowess, you must ensure your colony is planning for the future and growing in a sustainable manner.
Once we’ve chosen a location for our basecamp and invited some settlers into our colony, we can begin turning the hostile wasteland into a sustainable settlement. Managing the needs and population of our colonists with the capacities of our infrastructure is key. Insufficient housing means colonists will be more susceptible to illness and poor moral. Finding a balance can be tricky – particularly with random cataclysm events lurking around!
Unfortunately the steam reviews for this expansion are so far negative, with players complaining of a lack of content and sync issues between the base game and DLC. The main issue is the Anguish mechanics, which stacks on top of the already existent Moral mechanic. Some confusion amongst fans as to how colonists can be both high in moral and anguish at the same time seems to be the main issue.
Besides this though, the DLC brings a bunch of new building types; Mushroom Farm, Med Hut, Trauma Centre, Moon Rock Scavenger and Colony Square. The Mushroom Farm allows players to create a second source of food production, pretty handy.
Surviving the Aftermath also supports a heap of mods, both visual and mechanical. Mods are accessible via a special Mods tab in the game launcher, why not check them out? They’re free!
Graphics & Audio
At times, Surviving the Aftermath is visually relatable to games like Command & Conquer. Woodland areas are well-built, and half beaten up old structures lie dormant amongst the broken world. It performs well on my day-to-day rig, running a Ryzen 7, RTX 3070 and 32GB RAM. Though the actual requirements for this game are only an i5-2500k, 4GB RAM with a GeForce GTX 580 or similar.
Boasting some decent 3D graphics with a photorealistic finish, players view the world from a top down perspective. Though you’re able to zoom in to an almost uncomfortable level, allowing you to really connect with some of your colonists.
If there were any graphical glitches, they’ve been well hidden. Everything seems to perform really well, with no real graphical issues to pick at.
Supposedly, the (main story) offers 16.5 hours worth of playtime, with a ‘completionist’ playtime of 28 hours. Tearing down structures and rebuilding entire sections of town to get better output and optimised production is incredibly addictive – and fun!
Side note: the game receives regular updates with seasonal content, so there are plenty of reasons to return and play again!
Surviving the Aftermath is a solid base game, with some questionable DLC. Core mechanics are well designed and while the game does have some issues, it offers just enough to make it worth picking up. There’s plenty to do and the game offers quite a bit of bang for your buck. My only issue, like with other players, lies with the DLC, which doesn’t quite integrate with the base game as well as it could have.
Overall, this is a solid title with some interesting mechanics, and it’s well worth the price tag.
I award Surviving the Aftermath the Thumb Culture Silver Award.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.