With a more traditional Revelations-inspired slant on the end of the world and reminiscent of Prison Architect and its ilk, Judgement: Apocalypse Survival Simulation is an overhead view survival RTS with a slight whiff of Project Zomboid on its breath and whole bulbs of Northway Games’ Rebuild series strung about its neck. That’s the impression I get anyway – not having played it.
The backdrop to Judgement is that demons are on the rampage, no doubt in the service of Beel-Zebub, and your job is to keep a gang of survivors alive by assigning teams to forage for supplies, ordering others to help develop your settlement and getting everyone to chip in when Satan’s minions come calling. What’s interesting is that as well as developing rudimentary technologies to help keep demons at bay, players can choose to embrace the dark powers of the occult to aid in their long term survival, although figuratively decorating a settlement with pentagrams could have consequences.
Judgement has been quietly lurking in the depths of Early Access since April, with more-or-less monthly updates helping to give the impression that the speed of development isn’t a cause for concern. Alpha 9 was released today with a new AI system, superficial day/night cycles and the long asked for ability to rotate structures prior to placing them.
But perhaps the most interesting development is a new food system which introduces a number of food groups, each bestowing survivors with a distinct bonus. Each unit of food regardless of its group will replenish a survivor with nutrients, but late-game gluttony will reward them with the full range of bonuses should you choose to take the lock off the pantry doors, so to speak.
While keeping survivors fed felt a bit of a challenge in the first or second playthrough, it quickly became trivial, and was just an annoying thing that needed to be done without much challenge or benefit. Our goal is to change this, and make food a more important and interesting part of the game. This rehaul of the food system is a first step, we are still considering ways to make starvation a risk in the mid/late game, and not just in the beginning.
Though a staple of the survival game genre, the need to find and regularly eat food is often a tedious and clumsy part of play, especially once a player has starting ascending the hierarchy of needs. It’ll be interesting to see if the Judgement way of handling nutrition offers a balanced and healthy way to keep players invested in the system while progressing beyond it. Time will tell.