SelectButton's Early Access reviews provide valuable insight into a work in progress. The game will be reevaluated once officially released, as the review below is based on the Early Access build of the game at the time of the review's published date.
Endzone: A World Apart is a post-apocalyptic world builder's dream. Think Civilization or The Guild meets Fallout. As survivors of the nuclear wastes, you're tasked with bringing your little group together and driving them to survive in the new, harsh landscape.
I readily admit I played the tutorial and still felt very overwhelmed even after a few hours. I'm not saying that's an issue; the vast set of options and opportunities within the game to manage a thriving settlement is fantastic. However: There's just so much shit in this game. That is honestly the best way for me to put this. It was somewhere during the third hour of the tutorial when I realized I had no clue just how deep this game ran in terms of mechanics. You end up creating chains upon chains of buildings and resources that rely on one another, eventually allowing you to produce things like electricity and other wonderful improvements that help manage the happiness of your encampment. But, for example, you need scrap to produce metal to build tools to make your citizens more productive, but to ensure they use those tools optimally, you need schools (or advanced schools and teachers to teach them). It's a balancing act, especially when you start tossing in need for specific housing types to maintain or stagnate population growth on top of keeping a wide variety of foodstuffs for them.
Once again, I'm blown away by how much layering there is within the game. You're a city planner, resource and workforce manager, and always worried about what the next radioactive rain will do to your poor inhabitants and crops. It just takes a bit to get through the learning curve and understand the longer-term impacts of your poor planning on sticking housing in the wrong spot and making your people travel long distances to get water.
But seriously, the game looks great in its current build, and while I am still working my way through understanding it, there are points where I've been able to sit back for a bit and just let it run. The interface is well set up throughout, and after some trial and error, the keyboard + mouse combo works great. Throwing building plots out, assigning workers to tasks, or even just seeing the population's general thoughts is simple and easy. The game is also quick to point out if there's an issue somewhere, like low happiness factors or lack of materials, making it easy for you to jump in and manage accordingly.
Endzone: A World Apart shows a ton of promise, especially for those looking for an in-depth city builder and simulation management game. There's a literal TON of ways to manage your settlement, depending on the map and game at hand. The world, a broken ruin of what was before, is ripe for your taking as you work to keep your settlement alive and growing amidst the debris. Endzone is a fun yet complex game. It reminds me of the old Settlers titles, where the game's complexities grow as you get further and further into the layers of what's contained within. But that is also potentially one of its failure points – the sheer volume of stuff to manage and control can be daunting, much like how it probably would be if we were to find ourselves in a similar scenario within real life.Note: Endzone: A World Apart (Early Access) was reviewed on PC. A digital copy of the game was provided by the publisher/developer.