Against the Storm – Demo Impressions

Against the Storm is a roguelite colony/city builder made by the team Eremite Games. I’m not 100% sure what roguelite means in this case, but I assume a failure state is a possibility, and that it will punish you hard – but how and what that exactly entails, I don’t know since I didn’t lose any games while trying the demo. The other genre description is easier to understand since most of what you will be doing is building up different kinds of colonies, all to serve the somewhat impatient Queen of the lands.

What I got from the story is that something bad happened to the holdings, and you as viceroy has been tasked to once again build up the country, and with this send material home to reconstruct the capital. It’s a fantasy setting, considering we will not only be working with humans but also beaver men and lizardfolk, all with different needs and skills.

Eye of Sauron, is that you?

The game consists of two segments. The strategic map where you build up your citadel through resources gathered, and XP gained for your level. Here you also chose where to colonize, and what kind of difficulty you will be facing. Going by the look of the map there will be several biomes to pick from, but in the demo only the green forest area was available. I assume biomes later down the line will be much harder to colonize but will reward you with better XP and artifacts. When you have picked where to build, you are transported to the true game – the actual city building.

It consists of the usual stuff, like harvesting wood for buildings, collecting raw veggies for food, and stuff like that. What differentiates Against the Storm from other similar games is that the Queen expects things to get done, and quickly. So right from the get-go, you are at a struggle against time, because the Queen is impatient and every second her disapproval increases. Your objective is to fill up the approval rating faster than her disapproval and this you do by finishing tasks she gives you, and discovering “glades” that have secrets for you to solve and explore. From the matches I played, I never failed, so I don’t know what happens if you reach a 100% disapproval rating, but I assume the colony fails – hence the roguelite element.

Cozy, or a colonizing death-trap? Who can tell

Going by this, it’s not a builder in that sense that you work on one city for hours on end, for example, Cities: Skyline. This is much more “game” orientated since you level up and have an objective to fulfill – building up the citadel. The challenge also consists of some RNG elements. You don’t have all the buildings available from the beginning, that is something you have to unlock each time you start a new colony through “unlock points” by full-filling requests. Some people will probably not like this too much, but I didn’t mind it, considering how the game is designed. The challenge comes from building the city as fast and efficiently as you can within the limits provided. There seem to be a lot of ways around the problems say lacking resources or not having the right kind of building available, because resources can act as more than one resource. Like bugs, and raw meat shares this value. This means you can use either when it comes to certain products. I liked this aspect a lot.

Performance wise it ran fantastic, and I thought the visuals were excellent. A bit cartoon:y perhaps for my taste, but not overly so. Sound effects and music also felt very appropriate. I especially liked some of the tunes, as they had this relaxing comfy feeling to them – fitting the builder mood perfectly.

So, all in all, Against the Storm was a pleasant surprise, very enjoyable and it has me looking forward to the full release. It should also be added that the demo is fairly big. It’s not some 20-minute thing. I think I played for around 4-5 hours, so you really get a feeling for the game and what it tries to be.

Thanks for reading.

/Thomas


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