Surviving the Aftermath is a Science Fiction settlement simulation game released on October 19, 2019, developed by Iceflake Studios and published by Paradox Interactive. On PC, it was a temporary Epic Games Store exclusive on early access, and was released on Steam on October 22, 2020, with the game leaving early access and entering 1.0 on November 16th 2021. A Nintendo Switch version is planned for Spring, 2022.
The game is a city builder, like Tropico but set after what is implied to be a nuclear/lunar apocalypse. You are a leader who must ensure the survival of your colonists in the face of meteor strikes, nuclear fallout, extreme winter, mutant animals, and marauders.
This game provides examples of:
- Acceptable Breaks from Reality: At the start, your humble Medical Tent can successfully treat any ailment a colonist suffers — injuries, infections, even radiation sickness and mutation — without any medical supplies (having the relevant medicine for a problem simply lets the patient heal faster). Unrealistic? Very. But on any real difficulty level, you'll have enough trouble keeping your colonists in shape even with this advantage.
- After the End: All there in the title.
- Apocalypse How: Class 2. A large object impacted the moon, as stated below, and in the aftermath of the devastation the world's remaining governments began waging war over whatever resources they could still access. 20 years later, civilization is only just starting to build itself back in small pockets. And the main quest reveals more cosmic devastation is right on the horizon...
- Cozy Catastrophe: Going further and further into the game's tech tree allows for more luxurious things to be added to your colony, such as heated houses, plumbing, movie theatres and arcades
- Detonation Moon: The central story mission reveals this was the impetus for the apocalypse, with a large asteroid shattering a corner of the moon, causing devastating meteor showers and magnetic storms across the globe that persist into the game's current day.
- Fling a Light into the Future: It's revealed in the main quest that the governments that survived the first part of the cataclysm attempted this, building enormous doomsday bunkers to preserve large swathes of people and pre-collapse knowledge. They failed, miserably, and the governments decided to abandon the projects in favor of petty warfare over dwindling resources. The colony quickly discovers that the bunkers were also meant to survive an approaching apocalypse, and the colony has to start up the work again if there's any hope of preserving what little knowledge still remains.
- Hero Unit: Your specialists function as this. While you can turn ordinary colonists into defenders with your guard posts, your specialists will always be far more adept at fighting. Specialists are also the only ones who can leave the colony to interact with the world map.
- Hold the Line: when your base is assaulted by most bandits, they will first attempt to breach the front gate. Depending on how strong your gate is and the quality of the people manning it, the bandits can either be driven back completely, moderately crippled when they begin their assault in earnest, or barely even affected.
- Money Is Not Power: Conspicuously averted, given the After the End setting. Other colonies, mercenary specialists, and even bandits will accept silver coins as currency, despite that there is no government to back them. Of course, you still have to dig these coins up among the ruins.
- Nobody Poops: Averted after the Tainted Earth update: Outhouses are the first step for maintaining the hygiene of your colonists, but accrue pollution quickly.
- Nominal Importance: Specialists have unique portraits, names, and a short biography displayed when they arrive.
- Non-Entity General: You aren't any colonist in particular, although many events portray you interacting directly with the other colonists.
- Random Event: Every few days or so, your colony will have an event of some kind that will require you to make a choice.
- Reduced to Ratburgers: Your colonists don't seem to mind, but your food sources can include scavenging for cockroaches, crickets, and various worms. The "Alternative Proteins" advancement in the Tech Tree allows you to build climate-controlled bug farms for this purpose.
- Resources Management Gameplay: A huge part of the gameplay. Buildings need construction material stockpiled to be built as well as to be repaired when it inevitably is damaged or worn down. Colonists require sufficient food, and not only in totals, they require a variety of food and food that's well prepared to stay fully healthy. In addition to being drunk, many buildings require water, and more advanced buildings require electricity as well. Various medicines for treating ailments, fiber for clothmaking, cloths for wearing, tools for doing work, and all the variety of more advanced materials need to be sourced. In the early game, many of these will be scavenged from the environment around the colony as well as ruins further afield, but options to produce or trade for those resources open up as the colony develops.
- Sandworm: Technically they're giant mutant centipedes, but still referred to as "sandworms". Like the namesake, they are burrowers and can mostly be found in sandy areas, but rather than "swim" they seem to be ambush predators, digging underground bivouacs to lie in and conserve energy while waiting for prey to draw near. They spit damaging compounds, have a huge health pool, and generally require several specialists to take down. Thankfully there are no more than a few of them in any one map.
- Scavenger World: Most of the construction resources you find around the settlement are the ruins of older buildings that your colonists gradually break down so other things can be built from them. Most of the other resources that the colony needs like cloths, tools, and medicine you need to send specialists out into the world map to scavenge from ruins further afield (and science is almost exclusively gained by this method.)
- Schmuck Bait: The Stormdome is a massive brawling pit that is quite cheap to build as it doesn't require the Component or Electronics resources, only requires 12 power and provides a whopping 80 Entertainment value, four times as much as the early Brawl Pit without using any more space. The main upgrade on the Brawl Pit is that it has an enclosed steel roof. Which attracts the lightning during Magnetic Storm catastrophe, focusing on them and causing fires that will destroy them. Many players will have built these before they even know that the Magnetic Storm is coming in their first play through.
- Sickly Green Glow: One of the disasters that can befall your settlement is a shower of radioactive fallout, rendered on screen as a green glowing fog. Until Update 8 (Tainted Earth), areas of nuclear waste in the environment also appeared glowing green; now all pollutants, whether nuclear, chemical, or biological, glow magenta.
- Side Quest: Occasionally, your colony center will spawn an optional quest for your specialists, ranging from defeating a local group of bandits to investigating radio signals to exploring pre-collapse ruins.
- Tech Tree: Decades of living in a post-industrial society has deprived your colonists of knowledge of farming and wilderness survival (and even if specific colonists understand these things it takes effort to socialize that knowledge to others enough to be effective.) Unusually for most games of this genre, you mainly gain technology points by sending specialists to research in the ruins of museums and libraries.