End zone in the test: relaxed like Anno, tough like Banished

End zone in the test: relaxed like Anno, tough like Banished

End zone in the test

Those who buy early access games are always taking a risk: Are the developers keeping their promises? Do I have to wait forever for the release? Are all features on board in the end? But Gently Mad Studios shows how to do it right: The Wiesbaden team released Endzone: A World Apart almost a year ago, as an early access version including a transparent roadmap. Regular updates kept the fans engaged, features were added, the interface revised and the balance improved. Endzone has been officially ready since March 18 - in the test we check what has happened since our last preview.

Table of contents

Page 1 End zone put to the test: Post-nuclear development strategy on the trail of Banished 1.1 Structure meets survival 1.2 Everyone has their task 1.3 A problem rarely comes alone 1.4 The main thing is a good mood 1.5 Risky Family planning 1.6 Thirst for advanced learners 1.7 Lean research Page 2 End zone in the test: Post-nuclear development strategy on the trail of Banished 2.1 Man versus weather 2.2 New feature: The looters 2.3 Exploring 2.4 Not modern, but atmospheric 2.5 Add-on already announced Page 3 Image gallery for "Endzone in the test: relaxed like Anno, hard like Banished"

Structure meets Survival

The indie hit Banished obviously made an impression on Gently Mad. Endzone follows a similar pattern, but puts the concept in a setting with a fallout aftertaste: In Endzone, a nuclear war swept humanity from the scene, the few survivors retreated into underground bunkers. It wasn't until 150 years later that people dare to come back to the surface and begin to build modest settlements in the post-nuclear wilderness. Refreshing: Unlike in Wasteland 3, for once there are no monsters, mutants or crazy robots here. Rather, the danger comes from radioactive radiation, acid rain, adverse weather and marauding gangs, so the setting is much more realistic than in other end-of-time games. The scope is also completely okay for the small purchase price (24 euros): Endzone does not offer a story campaign, but at least an extensive tutorial, a survival mode (free play) as the centerpiece and several scenarios with different mission objectives.

Endzone plays slowly, but quickly turns out to be a tricky struggle for survival. Source: PC Games

Everyone has their task

The basic principle always remains the same: We start with a few settlers, a village center and a handful of raw materials that we put into the first construction projects. It all starts with the water supply, which requires a cistern and a jetty on a nearby lake. Then we still have to assign a few workers as water carriers who scoop the cool water into the camp, because the residents don't lift a finger by themselves. From here on we basically don't need to close the job menu, because in Endzone you are busy around the clock to distribute the right number of people to the right professions. This micromanagement is sometimes tedious, but the residents act relatively reliably. And if you are wondering why a shell is not being completed or a resource is not being picked up, you can even view every assigned worker in detail, including inventory and route. This makes what is happening in the first phases of the game understandable.


Endzone - A World Apart: Survival game leaves the early access phase loadVideoPlayer ('83669', '& sAdSetCsategory = article_featured ', 12, '16: 9', false, 1368963, false, 275589, 260, false, 0, '', '', false); Our warehouse is now quickly filling with life: collectors and hunters get herbs and food from the forests, fishermen cast a line at the lake. Lumberjacks bring boards or reforest cleared forest areas. Farmers allow various fruits and vegetables to flourish in the fields, and shepherds keep rabbits and chickens in their stalls. And scrap collectors are meanwhile going to search rubble and mountains of rubbish for useful raw materials. Particularly practical: Once a resource has been harvested in one place, we don't have to demolish the building and rebuild it somewhere else - we simply move the work area instead. Clever!

A problem seldom comes alone

All buildings are placed on a grid. Source: PC Games As the settlement grew, so did the demands: Herbs, for example, are only processed into medicines in the medical supply store. And schnapps can be made with fruit, which we then lack as food. Meanwhile, decontaminators clean irradiated depots, the dead have to be buried and fields need irrigation as soon as the rain stops. When the going gets tough, the trading post can also help, here we exchange products and raw materials for urgently needed goods. Most important, however, are the recycling huts, where scrap is separated into four components that we urgently need for further products.

This is how metal is processed into tools, without which after a while nothing works. Fabrics, on the other hand, go to the tailor who uses them to patch simple protective clothing. That is sorely needed, because radiation is an omnipresent enemy in the end zone. If our residents run unprotected through the contaminated wilderness, they become sick, slow down, become sterile and die earlier! Activated charcoal masks offer better protection, but for the right raw material you first need a charcoal burner that burns tree trunks. This naturally increases the consumption of wood, which devours additional tools and personnel. And if you want to make high-quality radiation protection suits, you also need plastic, which requires another recycler. In short: there is always something to do.

The main thing is a good mood

But productivity is not everything. For example, if you set up a noisy workshop next to a residential hut, your annoyed neighbors hang their heads. If, on the other hand, you set up a residential group around a market square or a social campfire, satisfaction increases. And that is important! Happy settlers are faster, more effective, and live longer. At the same time, one should also keep the supply chains in mind. For example, wood has to be brought from the woodcutter's hut to the warehouse or to the charcoal burner - longer walking distances cost valuable working time. Settlers also have to eat and drink daily. In order to save time, we are therefore installing some food dispensers and taps in key positions. For them, however, we have to assign additional workers as logisticians who we lack elsewhere.

Whoever wants satisfied settlers should not build noisy businesses next to homes. Source: PC Games

Risky family planning

There are new residents either through optional side tasks or naturally. To do this, however, we first have to build the appropriate dwellings. Although we can accommodate a large number of settlers in larger camps, they do not enjoy any privacy there and therefore do not father any offspring. If we build smaller huts instead, it is mainly couples who move in there who are starting families at full throttle. But be careful: if you build a lot of houses, you risk growing too fast. Then supplies run out, diseases can hardly be contained, protective clothing and tools become scarce. Similar to Banished, you drive your settlement against the wall in no time at all.

Children also need a few days before they are operational. At first they are not allowed to take up any professions, but at least they help out with the transport. But it is better to send them to school, where they learn, for example, how to use tools and radiation protection suits. As a result, the goods last longer and the production facilities are relieved.

Thirst for advanced users

The developers have built in a little help for emergencies. If, for example, the supplies run out, we are promptly given a secondary task: We should quickly build two more food buildings to compensate for the shortage. As a reward, there is a big chunk of food for our hungry residents in one fell swoop. That helps us to make ends meet, but it is anything but logical - because where does all the food come from all of a sudden?

Question marks also arise when it comes to drinking water: Even if you put down 40 water carriers to get one To supply a village with 400 people, it can easily happen that the settlement is left out of control during a period of drought. The carriers should actually be enough to fill the cisterns up to the edge! Our settlement is no longer dying of thirst as quickly as it was at the beginning of the early access phase, but the bottom line is that the balance here still doesn't feel fully developed.

Lean research

Der With its few options, the research tree looks unnecessarily stretched out. Source: PC Games In order to keep the settlement in good shape over the long term, we depend on new buildings and technologies. A small technology tree is available in the research center in which we can unlock new buildings and improvements. Unfortunately, the offer is very manageable, the research screen extends over several screen widths, but only hides the fact that there is hardly anything in it in terms of content. Here we would have liked more options, decisions and passive upgrades.

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