Homeseek is a real-time strategy game from developer Traptics that has more than a tinge of Fallout about it. We were given preview access to the upcoming game scheduled to release sometime later this year.
Players are responsible for a small number of survivors that have been living underground in a bunker for years after some sort of global apocalypse. Lack of resources forces them to the surface where they must now fend for themselves.
The preview dumped me right into the thick of it with no idea of what to do. I could see some tiny people that I could click on, but couldn’t task them a la Age of Empires. Scattered around were bushes and scrap piles that, when clicked could be assigned survivors to work on.
First though, as per the prompt in the top left corner of the screen, I needed to get the water flowing. After setting up the pumps to draw water from the well I needed to then construct a water storage facility and link it to my extractor. I then did the same with the bushes and food storage facilities.
Operational buildings, scrap piles and food bushes need to be assigned a workforce. The more people assigned (up to the maximum) the better the efficiency.
With people getting sick I needed a medical facility, but first I needed to build a research building. If I was going to explore the surrounding area, I would also need an expedition centre. With these two buildings under construction, I waited.
I soon realised that gratuitous use of the x3 time button is in order once you have assigned all your tasks. It’s good that the game doesn’t run away with itself whilst you are doing things but you don’t really want to be waiting around for a building to be built.
With the research building complete I started researching the medical building. From the newly constructed exploration building, I gathered a team, packed them up with some food, water, and materials, and sent them packing to a nearby point of interest.
I hit the x3 button again.
This time the timer stopped: my exploration team needed attention. It seemed that the team had stumbled across some ruins on their way to their destination. A brief description of their status appeared on the screen asking me if I wanted them to investigate. I did. As exploration teams journey around the world, you are frequently asked for input. Do they attack the scavengers or do they invite them to join the community? That sort of thing. It’s a pretty cool feature. At their destination, the teams usually unlock a bit of technology that can then be researched back at the home base.
There were a few scenarios unlocked that seemed to depict points further along in the game, with new technologies already unlocked. With these, it’s possible to construct complete networks for power, water, and food. In between all this, there are story tasks that one assumes eventually allow the player to progress to the next scenario. Unfortunately, I was only allowed a set amount of time to check out each level. But every time, even though I didn’t always know what I was doing I was left wanting more, which is a good sign.
The visuals look good, with an old-school isometric style that can be zoomed in. The various buildings and equipment are very detailed, all fitting together nicely as your settlement expands.
The game does have a detailed and illustrated in-game manual. I hope that the final game has a more intuitive interactive tutorial rather than expecting players to stop and look up how to do stuff. Not that the game is particularly complex once you have sussed out the game’s mechanics.
For an early look at the game, Homeseek comes across as being remarkably polished and well-refined. I’m looking forward to the final game as I think it will really appeal to fans of Fallout, as well as city builder and 4x/real-time strategy fans.