Struggle to survive and fight against all odds in a bleak post-apocalyptic world in our Homeseek review.
Homeseek is a survival strategy game that is parts city builder, part post apocalyptic narrative. Set on a version of Earth that has been destroyed by environmental wars, nuclear mishaps and overpopulation. There is no largescale warfare or a complex political story being woven here – just bitter struggle to survive in a seemingly hopeless wasteland.
What has emerged in this post-apocalyptic hellscape is the struggle over the nectar of life – Water. Think of Dune and you’ll get a similar atmosphere. I didn’t have a lot of experience with resource management games, (having only hazy memories of Sim City floating around my cranium) but Homeseek was a good introduction to the genre. But not a kind one by any means. The new future of earth is brutal, did I have the guts to survive it?
Homeseek Review – Gameplay
Your task is to guide a group of survivors to build a new community in a hostile environment that is in no way your friend. You have to juggle resource management (like spinning plates in the air), the building of your new home, as well as *gasp* difficult choices. Seeing how many plates you can keep from crashing – how well you deal with Homeseek’s resource management system – is the core of this unforgiving game.
You start out having to build a settlement that is the sum of sand dirt, scrap metal, some measly berry bushes and contaminated water wells. But as a wise man once said, you deal with the hand that’s been given to you. The weedy bushes and warped metal will have to do – in the beginning. You start constructing a new settlement to ensure your people have shelter, work and are fed. If you’re unable to provide them with Marlow’s hierarchy of needs (safe housing, clean water, food) then you’ll make them none too happy.
People are your power in this game, and making them want to stay in your new post apocalyptic beach house, (let alone keeping them alive) is paramount to your success. Sending them off to do your bidding is the only way to continue to grow the settlement. Your minions can go off to harvest resources, construct buildings and explore uncharted territory to find new technology, going on expeditions. These expeditions (coincidentally where you access most of the plot) are made up of a party of survivors that must rove to distant areas on the quest for new technology.
For example, do you risk the well-being of your team to look around a uncharted territory, even with the threat of environmental hazards and other rival groups lurking around? This technology you search for can be vital to complete a quest before time runs out, for example. Each mistake that I made became the start of my next success. Once you’ve got the basics down, more complex societal elements surface, such as the need for a law code.
The environment is against you, as it will hinder you access to important resources. Even some innocuous choices will spell life or death for your group. You might have to turn people away looking to join your group, or staying away from other communities in order to preserve your current pool of resources. The larger your home base, the harder it becomes to manage all your interlocking elements. Finding clever ways to McGuyver a solution against the odds truly brings a feeling of satisfaction. This tense one-wrong-decision and it’s over is what kept me coming back to Homeseek.
Homeseek Review – Story
Homeseek has a total of two campaigns spread over nine scenarios. Part one of the story mode is chapters one to five, and part two is chapters 6-9. The plot is well delivered, and has good nuance. It’s no complex labyrinth of interweaving plots, but it does hit home enough to be engaging. The bleak atmosphere reminded me of narratives such as The Road by Cormac McCarthy, or The Wasteland by T.S Eloit.
As mentioned before, the plot is usually available through roving out on expeditions in the thirst for knowledge. These expeditions include some of the tougher choices, which not only affect the lives of your wayward explorers, but are also connected to conditions back home.
Homeseek Review – Presentation
The graphics are clean and easy on the eyes. You view your world from an isometric viewpoint, and the UI seems very much in the vein of the Fallout series – I had no trouble figuring it out. The dusky red/brown colour scheme does the job of selling a harsh, barren world. The audio and sound effects don’t massively stand out, but they do the job of colouring the world a little while you find ways to expand your society.
Homeseek Review – Conclusion
Homeseek is a difficult but rewarding survival strategy game with a great resource management system. If you love tough choices that force you to use your brain, then Homeseek is for you.
So, why should you play Homeseek?
- You love a bleak atmosphere, similar to games like Fallout, or novels like The Road, T.S Elliot’s The Wasteland
- Resource management sims are your bread and butter
- Being able to kill or have your populace succeed make you feel like a proverbial God.
But why shouldn’t you play Homeseek?
- While the writing is good, there is no deep, intertwining plot on offer here
- Keeping those resource plates spinning causes you stress.
A review code on PC was kindly provided by the publisher for the purpose of our Homeseek review. If you enjoyed this review, be sure to check out more of our reviews and join the Qualbert Discord to chat with us about more games!