Endzone: A World Apart Review
Since I’ve started writing for Jump Dash Roll, I’ve played a lot of games. Over the past year, I’ve enjoyed the likes of Per Aspera, been able to write scathing reviews for crap like Empire of Sin, and more recently, I’ve started to play games that remind me a lot of other games. About a month ago, I wrote a terrible introductory paragraph for my Mutropolis review, not because I’m a bad writer (okay, somewhat because I’m a bad writer), but because it was so similar to other games I’ve played that it was hard to say anything new about that specific title. However, after spending the past week playing Endzone - A World Apart, I can definitely say that I’d rather play artsy 90’s-esque indie games for the rest of my life instead of play another carbon copy of Banished.
For anyone who doesn’t remember Banished, it’s a city builder/survival game that released in 2014 to lacklustre acclaim. In the title, you’re given control of a group of early industrial-era settlers who were (you guessed it) banished from their homeland and who are forced to carve out an existence in an unforgiving world. Over the course of 10-odd hours, you transform your colony from a tiny settlement that barely survives each winter into a booming industrial city by managing resources, exploiting the landscape and managing your village’s population. It’s an interesting and unique concept that combined the likes of DayZ and Cities: Skylines into a title that I absolutely love, and that I constantly recommend to anyone who wants to play something that’s outside of the normal scope of city builders.
But the reason I love Banished so much is because it’s unique, and given that Endzone - A World Apart is quite literally the same exact game as my beloved title with a post-apocalyptic skin on it, it means that it’s hard to recommend Endzone. Exactly like in Banished, in Endzone, you take control of a group of settlers who leave the safety of their homeland in search of better pastures. However, because it’s the end of the world, those pastures end up being filled with radiation, and you as the player need to turn a camper van full of scrap into a settlement that can withstand the wrath of mother nature.
Not to keep repeating myself, but this is the same exact formula as Banished down to a T. The user interface is almost identical, the way you ultimately end up thriving is the same and even the graphics look eerily similar. There are a tiny handful of differences, most notably that you need to ensure that your settlers are given clean drinking water and the inclusion of enemy AI, but neither one of these really changes anything. You order your settlers to chop down trees and harvest scrap piles so you can craft buildings which protect the settlers from the elements which allows them to reproduce and eventually you’ll manage to turn that aforementioned camper into a settlement to behold and win the game. It’s as simple as that.
To be fair, this isn’t exactly a bad thing, and Endzone - A World Apart is a solid enough game, but it also feels like a waste of a good concept. Banished had its shortcomings, most notably its lack of a story and weak endgame, and although Endzone could have improved either one of these things, it doesn’t. There’s still no story, you won’t face any moral choices and after a handful of hours you’ll have seen everything that there is to see in the game. Once you discover the game’s quirks, it’s easy to survive and eventually thrive, but neither one of these things are worth doing when there’s no reason to play past whatever intrinsic value you can find in building an impressive settlement.
This is made worse by just how mediocre Endzone - A World Apart looks and sounds. Although, like with everything about the game, it isn’t technically a terrible game, it is an entirely forgettable one. The game’s graphics, as well as its music and technical performance, are all acceptable but not interesting, and given that the rest of the game isn’t particularly interesting either, it makes the overall experience entirely lacklustre.
That’s the best way to describe Endzone - A World Apart, though. Although the game is perfectly proficient at everything it tries to do, it also doesn’t do anything that Banished didn’t do in 2014. Endzone looks okay, it sounds okay, it runs okay and it plays okay, which is fine for a game that released in 2014, but seeing as Endzone - A World Apart launched in 2021, it’s a game that’s entirely worth skipping over especially because Banished is available for half the price.
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