A promising demo out of Steam Next Fest is Floodland (opens in new tab), a city and society builder set in a world ravaged by rampant, apocalyptic climate change. It has the distinction of not being just a colony-style city builder, but a society builder ala Frostpunk, where your decisions shape laws: How people behave and what they can do.
The demo, on Steam for Next Fest, showcases how emerging societies will scavenge for resources on islands amid a vast flooded plain. It has you setting up reliable streams of food and water, but also steadily moving your scavenging camps forward to find usable plastics, wood, and metal in ruins. It peaks with the restoration of an old radio tower, to contact other survivors with.
We first got a look at Floodland earlier this year, at the Future Games Show. (opens in new tab)
What I was most struck by with Floodland was its color and motion. The paintery palette lends it the aspect of an impressionist work, both more subdued than brighter candy-colored city builders and more vibrant than most muted and grimy post-apocalyptic work.
Floodland’s society-building aspects aren’t highlighted in this demo, but they’re somewhat present. You choose which people you’re leading from one of four tribes, each with their own place on the political axis of Old World-New World and Liberal-Authoritarian positions.
It’s a promising look at how developer Vile Monarch has designed societies to be shaped by their ideals in new circumstances, and once you get more than one of those clans in one place I can imagine that it’ll be difficult to balance their traits in order to get everyone’s benefits. More so once you start passing laws to mandate or prohibit certain behaviors.
You can find Floodland on Steam, where it’ll release on November 15, 2022. The YouTube channel (opens in new tab) for publisher Ravenscourt also has several trailers and videos highlighting the world, its setting, and how Floodland is played.