I really enjoyed the dozen or so hours that I’ve played Against The Storm thus far and so I’m going to highlight some of the things the game does very well. It’s not scared to keep critical goods, even ones as basic as stone or meat, from the player. There are a lot of possible currency conversions that you can do and figuring out how to get what you need even when you don’t have what you want is deeply engaging. On that note, having the crude workstation be a prerequisite to more efficient buildings like the carpenter is a good way to take away some of the sting of inefficiency. The game also doesn’t give you enough reputation from orders to finish the game, making it so that you have to engage with more systems, whether happiness or exploration, to push you over the top. It has much better balance than Frostpunk, in part because of the continual resets, and so I feel the scarcity much more. The game thus did a good job of telling me that the status quo would not sustain and so I had better start trying some dangerous glades.

Some more notes on Against the Storm - Each game prerolls the resources you get so you can’t just open glades until you find what you want. This maneuvering around missing resources is the best bit of the game and fits very nicely with the roguelike structure. It’s very similar to adjusting your strategy to the unlocks you get and provides the player with novel challenges.

Trade does a good job of softening that harshness without just being a get out of jail free card. I have often hoped for a trader to have what I need just to roll a different trader that season. This also encourages you to buy more than you need when you see the right trader.

The amber economy is interesting. Sell orders keep amber trickling in and the higher packages get enormous amounts of amber but you also get a lot from crates and events and that often ends up deciding the path more than reputation.

Also, traders having cornerstones and blueprints is a good mechanic as it always gives you something to spend on even as the amber economy begins to break in the late game.

On that note, you can see that the game would be solved fairly quickly if it didn’t end so fast. It often feels like the win is inevitable by the late game. Your settlement ticks along nicely and you start to have plenty of surplus labor and material.

Each game is also too long for the cheap failure of the roguelike to stay true. I think each settlement is something like an hour and that’s too long for me to experiment the way I do in other roguelikes.

I like how the game uses rising hostility as a ticking clock. This is strengthened by the non-renewable resources depleting, pushing you to opening more glades. The game plays this well though. Even if people leave, it doesn’t do much hard. It just feels very bad.

The seasonality adds a lot of spice to the game. It worked well for Banished too but there’s more weight to it here and it makes for good seasoning.