Strategy games have never been, nor should be about graphics.
Still, the presentation in Seeds of Resilience was a bit drab. There’s so much to include when it comes to menus and options for selection that it’s not intuitive at all and I found that for the first time in a while, I was reliant on a tutorial when it didn’t show me how to play properly.
Before you get into this survival game, you have to learn the basics as it’s turn-based, so every time you act, it eats into the day and to continue with whatever task you’re in the middle of, you have to sleep it off. At first, it’s the one villager, then you unlock more, each with their trait, or should I say trade, and the options increase dramatically. However, once again the controls are sluggish, to get to a menu you have to press down on the d-pad, press L, R, L, R, drink a shot of undiluted Ribena, then do a backflip. The last one I made up, but you could do all those things by the time you get around to doing what it is that you set out to do.
I could easily get lost in these sort of games and seldom play them for that reason.
However, Seeds of Resilience was bordering on a chore, unlike say another turn-based title like when Filthy Banana played Tharsis. To get through the game so that I could provide a fair appraisal, I needed to unlock more of the commands, get a bit familiar with the UI and, ideally, enjoy it. With the harvesting mechanics and building a community from nothing, I was looking forward to playing the game, and while it’s not bad, it doesn’t do much to stand out, nor does it beg to be played in handheld mode when there are so many menu options.
The game is split into missions where you have an objective to meet, a timescale measured by the days in which you have to complete it, and conditions. The latter can be anything from the team you have available through to the available resources. When you are on the mission, you’ll have your objectives pop up in the top right of the screen with very minimal explanation to work out what to do. Sometimes it’s clear, other times the instructions are blurred as you try to interpret the goal.
Each area is tile-based with some unusual designs for the land.
Often small bits of land are available. While separated by water, you can harvest and build without physically moving to that location. By the time you start building your lodgings, thinking that it’s now a cakewalk, the wind picks up and blows it all away. As frustrating as it sounds (it is), you don’t seem to care so much and rinse and repeat the process, grit your teeth and get on with it. In that respect, it bears a resemblance to what one would expect it to be like if shipwrecked – fending for yourself with a few others: there’s not much else to do, so you have to do what it takes to survive. As a game, from my perspective, it lacks any excitement, and despite that, there is a need for strategy, and you do need to think things through, you just feel a little apathy for the island dwellers.
The concept is a good one, but the fact that I didn’t care so much bothered me, as I’m a caring person, folks. All the factors are there for a good strategy game, and being on the Switch, there’s no need for it to be resource-intensive in that it’s unpleasant to play, but it would be best played on a PC with a mouse. Moving the cursor about isn’t the problem, but screen real estate is limited, and I just found the UI sluggish – scrolling through all the actions I don’t want to get to the one I do. When it comes to manufacturing items your villager is always too tired, or you’re missing one item – harvest it, then you’re missing another. Once they’ve slept on it and replenished their capacity, you’re told they’re not skilful enough.
This is the nature of a resource management game, but as per my tone, it just wasn’t exciting enough to play as there were always obstacles in the way that annoyed rather than had me eager to find a solution to the problem.
Other than the mission-based game, there’s the option to play in a survival mode – which is appropriate.
You can choose from three difficulty levels, where normal is challenging but just right. Merciless is simply cruel. Additionally, you can set up a custom game that has more appeal as you can turn off the weather elements that often wipe out your settlement, change the size of the island(s) and provide optimal resources, a fair supply or a random selection. Instinct leans towards making it as easy as possible to get accustomed to the style of play, but the challenge is probably the selling point for Seeds of Resilience.
On that note, once again, the concept is a good one, and the presentation of the game is relatively common and will be familiar to those who like strategy-based games. Back in the late 90s/early 00s, I would play this type of game, like Sid Meier’s Civilisation, to death and in the 20+ years since then, the game doesn’t really seem to have offered much new in the way of gameplay. While it seems like I hate the game – I don’t, it just lacks a little lure to keep playing, in my opinion – there are a few elements I like. The weather idea is a good one, as it the tool options and crafting techniques available. However, we come back to the controls once more, as well as the mediocre UI. While you can zoom in on some areas, it doesn’t really do it much justice in handheld mode, and I find this is how I play the Switch most of the time. It’s arguably best played on the TV and when you have the patience to play it.
As a fan of strategy games, I wasn’t wowed by Seeds of Resilience – noted in the comments above. It’s not so frustrating that you get mad at the game, but for me, it was hard to engage with the characters and gameplay when scrolling through the commands, only to find out you had to do U, V and W before X, Y and Z.
Review code provided
Platform: PC, Nintendo
Release Date: 18/06/2020
No. of Players: 1
Category: Simulation, Strategy
Developer: Subtle Games
Publisher: Forever Entertainment
Download link: eShop