The post-apocalypse is calling, so jump in: Endzone - A World Apart from Gently Mad Studios and Assemble Entertainment brings survival strategy "made in germany" to the screens. This works with very good quality. The strategic title has many strengths, but also a few weaknesses. The developers couldn't deliver a perfect work either - Survival knows no perfectionism. However, you should test the award-winning video game in the truest sense of the word. otherwise you might miss a real pearl. 

When you think of post-apocalyptic development games, you probably first think of the USA. This is where good games come from, and no other country in the world can be so gracefully destroyed in an end-of-time scenario as the United States of America. Nonetheless, if you look around the industry and look for the best offshoots currently in the genre of building strategy games, you will see Germany. More precisely: on Wiesbaden.

There is no nuclear catastrophe in the Hessian state capital, not even the average radioactivity values ​​are increased - however, Assemble Entertainment is a publisher who has qualitatively revived the genre with the work Endzone - A World Apart. In fairness it has to be added that the real people responsible for the strategic game are Gently Mad Studios, a subsidiary founded by Assemble in 2017. Around a dozen developers have finally implemented the development game Endzone - A World Apart - with success on several levels.

Excellent genre representative

Most recently, Assemble Entertainment drew attention to itself with solid to successful new editions of games from the Larry series: Leisure Suit Larry - Wet Dreams Don't Dry as well as Leisure Suit Larry - Wet Dreams Dry Twice were two respectable successes, not primarily because of the quality of the content, but because of the overall concept. With the post-apocalyptic survival game Endzone- A World Apart, however, the Hessian publisher has been able to include a work in its portfolio that is an example of the qualities that video games from Germany can achieve. The commitment was awarded the German Developer Prize in the category "Best Indie Game". 

The work that the developers have put into their work has paid off - also financially. At least the sales figures suggest this: the publisher reported around a quarter of a million sales when it left the early access phase at the end of March. Since then, the strategic development game has been available as a full price title on the Steam and GOG platforms. This has been the most successful release so far for Assemble Entertainment. The foundation stone for this was mainly laid in the previous year, when the game entered the paid Early Access phase in April and the title was gradually made available to a wider audience. Assemble and Gently Mad made use of modern game financing options. And so the game already collected good interim ratings in the early stages. 

The re-entry into nuclear energy is being discussed - the settlers of the end zone village should better not be asked for their opinions on it. Image rights: Assemble

The re-entry into nuclear energy is being discussed - the settlers of the end zone village should better not be asked for their opinions on it. Image rights: Assemble

Even now, after the official release, some elements of the game are subject to change: The developers improve with patches and deliver new content in the updates, such as buildings or upgrades. In the meantime, work has also been done on the research system, which now makes a much better impression. 

Insider tip end zone? More than that!

Basically, the rule of thumb for Endzone A World Apart is: If you like Shining Rock Software development game Banished, you will also have fun with Gently Mads Survival game. Everyone else should try it out, because how often with such genre representatives comes the point in the game when you get to the crucial point and ask yourself the question: is it still entertaining or have I seen everything? In any case, fans of survival games have a good chance that Endzone will be well received. 

By the way, it's not the story that makes the title so playable. It's easy to tell: terrorists. Nuclear disaster. Humanity is struggling to survive in a hostile environment. Something like this is known from film and television as well as from other video games. Seldom, however, manages to captivate the subject as much as Endzone - A World Apart. This is mainly due to the fine-grained mechanisms on which the overall concept of the game is based - even if the game's plot is well known: collect resources, normal and erect special buildings, assign tasks to settlers. But that's not all: the idea and thus the degree of complexity go further. Settlers have jobs, go to school or go on a tour of discovery through the radioactively contaminated surrounding area. So that you can follow your sheep as an omnipresent village chief, the developers have given the whole thing a freely rotatable and zoomable camera guide, in which you can explore the 3D world down to the smallest atom. 

Your settlers make no progress in their status: they always remain survivors on the verge of death. Image rights: Assemble

Your settlers make no progress in their status: they always remain survivors on the verge of death. Image rights: Assemble

Keeping an overview is not just wasted at Endzone - A World Apart, but an essential part of the game and therefore urgently required. Different areas of the ground have different properties, i.e. they are particularly damp - or sometimes particularly exposed to radiation. In order to spice up the system a bit, the developers bring additional weather effects into play. You have to survive a period of drought, withstand storms or withstand the radioactivity from above, which can destroy entire crops in heavy rains. Settling in a relaxing way until the survival camp is bursting at the seams is not the idea behind this survival game, in which survival is everything, but you don't survive everything by a long way.

Frustration and joy are close together. However, Endzone is not a pure expert game. Getting started is motivating and even those with no knowledge of the genre will succeed. At the same time, the game is at times a tough chunk with situations that are not easy to overcome. And it is a time waster anyway - whether for beginners or professionals. Last but not least, this is due to the enormous spiral of addiction that unfolds after the acclimatization period. Build something here, wait there for the effects, there is always work and action in the everyday life of pixelated survivors, which is crammed with tasks.

Tension arises primarily due to two factors: The constantly scarce resources - material and labor - as well as the constant threat from the renewed apocalypse after the nuclear apocalypse, also known as game over. Screen death comes slowly with Endzone - A World Apart, which creates additional tension and tension. Instead of jumping into an abyss or being beaten out of the mountain by a boss monster, as in other games, you are confronted with an impending end at Endzone early. It is important to counteract this or to face the inevitable.

Story? Completely superfluous detail!

Seldom before has everyday endurance survival been so coherent and atmospheric at the same time. Endzone shines in the genre, although narrative core elements are almost completely dispensed with. Nice cutscenes? Nothing. A deep story? There is not any. Multi-layered characters that you can come to love as a player? Nonsense. It's just about survival. Perhaps, however, that is precisely the great strength of the game. The developers only built in squiggles in the form of a mini campaign, the scenarios of which can be played through loosely. Incidentally, that shouldn't sound like you're settling on the maps, which admittedly always look somewhat similar, with no plan or aim. You can always do smaller jobs. Nevertheless, it is never just about expansion or beautiful building, but about offering the settlers what they need most to survive depending on the situation. And because that can always change, the player remains (challenged) challenged. In any case, there are enough pitfalls on the way to - yes, where actually? 

Stupid if the sandstorm has chosen the Gambling City as a destination for an overflight. Image rights: Assemble

Stupid if the sandstorm has chosen the Gambling City as a destination for an overflight. Image rights: Assemble

At this point the dilemma of such survival building simulations becomes apparent: the survival of mankind is a noble goal that one likes to pursue. However, that wears out at some point. How much depends on the type of player. Some love survival games and literally soak up the action, others have to be motivated in between: through loot, progress, the story or other factors. The latter types of players have a much harder time staying on the ball at Endzone - A World Apart. Especially since the never-ending balance between famine and gluttony as well as thirst and drinking - food and water are the two central resources - feels tough at some point. But tough doesn't mean boring at the same time. 

Even if modern strategy games with a simulation component are no longer the "table horse races" they used to be, a large part of the gameplay takes place in the various menus. You have to be a collector and explorer, but also a manager - you won't be able to survive the end times otherwise. So you turn the screws, sometimes the small ones, sometimes just the big ones, it's always better to keep tightening them. Above all, however, you react to Endzone because the game presents one of its greatest strengths here: the dynamic weather and environmental system. Instead of always being able to concentrate on the big picture like in other development games, in Endzone you act on the micro level, create your own goals, make up for mistakes made and learn from failure. The game encourages new games after you have ridden civilization to screen death. Because you know: you can actually do it better.


Number of players: single player
Old: -
Difficulty: medium to difficult
Long-term motivation: medium
Genre: strategy
Sub-genre: construction, survival

Developer: Gently Mad Studios
Official Website: Link
Year of publication: Early Access 2020 / Release 2021
Platforms: PC (Steam / GOG)
Language: German
Costs: from 29,99 euros 



If you are now afraid of Endzone - A World Apart, expect complexity en masse and failure non-stop, the all-clear is given: Yes, the strategic survival development game is complex. But no, it is not impossible to keep your settlement alive. However, you have to be willing to learn from your mistakes. That is assumed. But then an excellent, if not perfectly, interlocked game unfolds, which shines with challenges on the level of detail. Here and there weaknesses are revealed in the B-Bote, for example with regard to the electricity system. And despite the zoom and rotatable camera, it is sometimes difficult to keep an overview.

The cycles of goods are manageable compared to development games like the offshoots of the Anno series. It's much more about doing the right things at the right time. Time is an essential element in this game. Not because time is always ticking down, but because everything takes time at Endzone - A World Apart. Research takes time and because of the necessary knowledge points and because you also have to dare exploratory trips in order to be able to get hold of all the necessary resources. That is sometimes "too much" in everyday survival, which is difficult enough to master even without artificial hurdles. It's still fun, actually, always. We are always optimizing and adapting, hour by hour.

What is particularly positive is the noticeably increasing learning curve. The entry is shallow, beginners find the game well. All the dynamics then gradually contribute to the fact that the level of difficulty increases steadily. The result of that? You have to invest hour after hour in the game again. 

Endzone - A World Apart eats minutes of the game like the cookie monster biscuits. Basically, you are not really rewarded for this, unless you consider escaping before the end as an overarching success that no longer needs to be rewarded separately. How does end zone end? Not at all. The marmot, which has been tried to radioactively, greets every day. Until you have managed to let yourself be extinguished by hunger, thirst or radiation. But in every end there is a familiar new beginning.

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