Survival games draw in a certain player base, gamers who love all the small details, who enjoy building up a life from scratch, and doing whatever they can to survive for as long as possible. As a genre, it is time-consuming, tough, and above all extremely rewarding. I love a survival title that plays out slowly and allows me to plan my path to victory, so when I was offered the opportunity to review Seeds of Resilience, I jumped at the chance. Developed by Goblinz Studio and published by Forever Entertainment S. A this turn-based survival game allows you all the time in the world to plan how you want to approach your problems, and to overcome any issues you face.
The gameplay is split over two modes; Mission and Survival. The latter is exactly as you’d expect, start on a map with a set amount of survivors, and do whatever it takes to keep death from your door, and escape your island prison. This mode requires a full knowledge of all the gameplay mechanics, so I would recommend that you hold off trying this until you’ve completed most of the missions. I loved the freedom that came with experiencing Survival; it was enjoyable, and brutally unforgiving. The elements hate you, and there are never enough resources for you to complete the tasks you wish to achieve. You must plan which of your survivors you use for each job, and you must prioritise what you need to have done first. The mission mode starts as a tutorial, allowing you to learn the basic gameplay mechanics. It adds new elements on a gentle learning curve, so you never feel overwhelmed with what you need to do to complete each stage. You are given objectives that flow from one to another, these utilise all the skills that each of your characters has, and builds up robust knowledge that is needed to succeed at any point. This mode is more rigid than the sandbox survival, and though necessary to complete and interesting to work through, I preferred the freedom that came from playing Survival.
As you start each game, you may choose from a selection of survivors, each has their own traits and skills that will either help or hinder the group. As time goes by, more helpless individuals float towards your desert island, they decide to join the group (even if you don’t want them). They bring with them their own special abilities to help you out, but they will throw a spanner into the works of any plan you are working on. Every person must have a place to sleep, and when more people are added, you must make room for them, so stop building your farm, or fishing area, and start making them a wooden hut. This is a minor problem when you consider that they must also have food, the bigger the group, the more mouths to feed, and the larger amount of hunting and harvesting that you must take on. It soon goes from being a small operation, to planning the movement and tasks of a village’s worth of humans. You can quickly become overwhelmed with what needs to be done, but you simply remember that you have all the time in the world to complete each task, so take your time and think everything through.
Your team of hapless vagabonds don’t have to be that way forever. Do you need one person who is an expert at farming? Need a master of surviving, or one that can hunt like The Predator? This can be achieved (maybe not The Predator comment) with a small amount of training and repeatedly completing set jobs. With a little time and effort, your useless team of island dwellers can become an integral cog in a well-oiled machine. As skills are increased, you are given the opportunity to build and create higher tiered buildings and technology. Though these more complex items and structures take a higher amount of resources to create, they make your life exponentially easier, and are worthwhile. Not only do they improve your quality of life, they are much more resilient to the harsh weather that you will face.
Storms in tropical areas are a given, the people who live in these areas have come to terms with the disastrous effect that the high winds and floodwaters can have on their homes and way of life. Unfortunately, when you play Seeds of Resilience you will also have to become accustomed with the devastating impact that both the weather and the seasons have on your playthrough. Houses get flattened, your crops will wilt because of searing heat, or freezing air, and your plans will well and truly be turned upside down regularly. This game mechanic made an already hard title much tougher.
When you first look at the graphics, you may be taken back by how dated and pixelated it looks. The action takes place from a bird’s-eye perspective, with a fixed camera angle. I found the lack of panning facility frustrating, though you could see through the scenery to find any hidden resources, I expected to rotate the view freely. The display was busy with several menus, statistic bars, and other vital pieces of information. It didn’t bother me too much, though I’m sure many gamers would prefer a cleaner cut User Interface.
The audio takes a simple approach, with realistic sound effects and a lack of music. The clanging of pick on rock, trees swaying in the breeze, and rain hammering down on your structures, was relaxing and transported me to life on the desert island. Its minimalist approach allowed me the chance to enjoy what was happening without being overwhelmed with a cliched soundtrack. Though the sparse sounds may be lacking for some gamers, I believe that the developers took the right approach, and got the balance just about right.
There is no doubt in my mind that Seeds of Resilience plays better on PC. This genre works well with a mouse and keyboard, and though the controller does a good job of mapping the required button layout, it feels cumbersome, with several radial menus, and submenus to navigate. Fortunately, the lack of time pressure takes away from the lack of finesse that the controller analogue stick presents, and with a small amount of practise you soon master how to work through all the tabs on the screen.
Because of the two game modes that are on offer, and the unpredictable nature of the gameplay, you soon discover that no two attempts are the same. This adds a large amount of replay value, combine this with a challenging achievement list, and you soon discover that this game will take a considerable amount of time to complete. You have lots of survivors to unlock, and customisation options for Survival mode to make each attempt as easy, or as difficult as you like. When you look at the current price tag, this represents fantastic value for money, and a title that will keep you entertained for many an hour.
If you love this genre, then I’m sure that you are already taken by the idea of a desert island survival game. If you are sitting on the fence, then I can confidently say that most gamers will enjoy their time with this classic take on a turn-based survival game. The graphics and audio won’t be for everyone, but the challenge of the gameplay, and the freedom of the sandbox mode more than make up for this. So, with all things considered, do I recommend you play this? I do! It ticks so many boxes, and though there are a few minor frustrations, these do not stand in the way of what is fundamentally a solid game with an excellent concept. Can you and your band of hapless survivors live off the land, and do enough to make it home? Only time will tell!