Favorites: NEO Scavenger

David Stark / Zarkonnen
23 Jun 2014, 9:45 a.m.

I just picked NEO Scavenger back up and decided it's time to write about it. It's a solidly difficult survival game played on a hex-based map. It's 2D and turn-based, which suits me just fine.

At the start of the game, you wake up near-naked in a post-apocalyptic semi-wilderness. Your first action is to get away from a monster that's trying to eat you, and then you must concern yourself with not freezing, starving, or dying of thirst.

To do so, you roam through a vast wilderness that has mostly reclaimed civilization, scavenging for clothes, food, water, tools and shelter. Nor are you alone: there are more monsters out there, and looters and cannibals. You have to figure out how to avoid being spotted, or how to defend yourself.

NEO Scavenger is really satisfyingly hard in the right way: you get better because you learn what to do. In the first half-dozen games I died within a few turns. Eventually, I made it to a few days, and now I'd rate myself as fairly competent and generally able to survive unless I get unlucky.

Playing this game will give you a love of lighters, plastic bags, pill bottles and pans. You will get a jolt of excitement when seeing those items in real life. This is the right kind of survival game: it's about the struggle of survival with limited resources, not just about shooting things against a drab background.

The game's under active development, and you can get a demo or the full version from Blue Bottle Games.