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Seeds Of Resilience – The Review

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Seeds Of Resilience is a god game where you strive to keep alive a small group of castaways. Directing them to scavenge for food that you find, crafting a place to sleep, making fire, crafting tools to make better food, you can even recycle the parts from the raft that you arrived on the Island with and collect items that drift ashore.

When I’m playing a new game, my preference is normal difficulty setting and whatever the main play mode is (with S.O.R. I chose survival.)

It is probably a game best played on a PC as the natural controller is a mouse. Things grow on the Island and the micro-biosphere of the Island is constantly changing. So some things you have to wait for, others you have to grab on that day before the plant becomes a tree and you need an axe to chop it down, which you may not have, yet. The key to this game is timing, choices and ingredients for crafting – while not neglecting the needs of your castaways.

The graphics are beauty in simplicity, there is a feeling of a slight Age Of Empires influence, but it is still very much its own thing.

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Seeds Of Resilience is a bit tricky if you just want to jump in and play…

I almost killed my team via starvation before I figured out you could eat crabs by left-clicking on them. On the other hand, I did figure out how to build a hut before my team got tired, and how to get them to live in it. Some team members are actually wrapped up warm so they don’t mind sleeping outside at first – which is a nice ‘story perfectly matched with mechanics’ element.

I actually like this difficulty of learning, about it. It’s challenging, but you figure it out as you play. And if you screw up completely you can always easily just play again – and there isn’t a long-ass intro to bore you or a bunch of menus to confuse you before you get to jump in.

A lot of the negative reviews on steam are simply people asking for more hand-holding, which I don’t think is warranted. Where’s the challenge in that? Why even bother?

I am in love with how quick to start this game is. And the strategy isn’t at all childish, like it does tend to be with this game’s competitors; it’s an intelligent game and all of the micro-mechanisms for crafting and everything else are incredibly well thought through, without being excessively detailed.

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At first it can be a bit tricky to figure out what to click on to do a specific thing, but you pick up its interface organisation fairly quickly. Some things you may have to err before you figure it out. But that’s part of the fun of this game. It’s an anti-handholding game and I love that. So tired of specifically rpgs and adventure games always telling you what you can interact with and how that takes you out of the game, and makes it far too easy and boring.

Strong Thematic And Story Elements

Speaking of rpgs and adventure games, that’s something else that’s cool about this game. You have a very strong thematic and story element guiding you through the game, which makes it feel like rpg/adventure, except that it has the very solid and very expected approach/format of a god game (strategy subgenre.) Except to begin with you are only controlling a team of three people and trying to keep them alive for at least a little while so you can keep playing.

Later…

Okay so I picked up my game where I left off, feeling pretty good about how I handled the play (not including my messy start where I starved my crew of three, for three days.) Started to eat all the crabs, turn some of them into bigger meals and try to find some bamboo so I could build a fishing spear. I also needed string, but I won’t go on about that. Something significant just happened. The game had warned me that Davram was about to die. I didn’t know why. He had plenty of food. It was probably due to the fact that I starved him for three days, a few days before.

So what did I do? Went looking to see if I could craft another fishing spear. I equipped the woman with the first spear yesterday, so she hooked some fish and the food pouch was overfull. Problem is it looked like there was only 1 bamboo – it was a set of three bamboo shoots (which we could have eaten, but we needed it to grow into a bamboo tree so we could knock it down and harvest the wood to make another fishing spear.) Apparently, it wouldn’t be big enough to do so, for three more days. This was a pretty big problem because Davram could be dead by then.

Seeds Of Resilience Game Play: Enjoyable, Many Decision Trees

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It’s fun trying to figure out what you have to do and how to do it – to keep your castaways alive. The only trouble I’ve found with the gameplay and the design of the game, is due to the particular style of the graphics. It’s not easy to see everything, which is fine. But it’s not easy to click on some things, either. Which is a problem, especially when you’re still trying to figure out which button to click in order to eat, craft or harvest a particular item. Like I said, I love the challenge. But when a number of the objects are beside each other, it’s a little difficult to choose the one you want to click – and to even know if it’s clickable.

For my third play-session, unfortunately, an update meant my last saved game is not compatible with the update and may crash the game. This is not a problem you’ll encounter as a player (I presume) but it does mean that I have had to start again from the beginning. Which leads me to realise exactly how replayable this game is. I thought that starting again from scratch would be annoying. Losing everything and having to begin again with nothing. But it really isn’t. It’s great!

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I found myself doing things differently. This time I knew about building a hut, about sleeping outside, that I had to feed my castaways. I knew about hunting crabs (and frogs as well, as it turned out) and fishing after you craft a spear – using string from recycling the raft you arrived in. New things I discovered: Conserve your string. After a few days, things may wash up on the beach and you might get cool stuff from salvaging. I really needed to figure out what to make string out of, because I ran out and I wanted to make a decent fishing pole, because we didn’t have enough fish to cook a real meal and I had finally managed to make a fire – now knowing that this was possible, I realised I had been feeding my castaways nothing but raw seafood for about a week – could be part of why they were upset with me!

See, the problem with making a decision is that leads to a branch of limited new decisions. Which in itself is great, but when you take advice from the game and build a pickaxe, (when you should conserve your string and you’re not really ready to mine the rocks), you’re left with a bad decision that you feel you only made because the game advised you to.

I was tricked into using all my string and I didn’t know if it was possible to recycle my pickaxe in order to make my fishing pole. Which really sucked, because I was looking forward to seeing smiley faces on my castaways because they were finally able to eat cooked food.

I also really love the zoom feature. Being able to zoom in and out really makes it so much easier to identify, choose, select, watch and wait, and search for – certain things. I do find it a bit awkward to drag the map with the right-click held down. I tend to prefer using my left-click for map-dragging, but that’s a minor issue.

Once you do get into the game, it’s the kind of game you could spend hours of light enjoyment really lapping up the consequences of your decisions, the feeling of urgency to keep your people alive and the elegant way this game allows you to craft and harvest, and to convert ‘live’ items into usable items. There is more to the game than this, however. Yes, a lot of this game is about keeping your castaways alive. But in the distance are many blacked-out opportunities of objects to build when you actually discover metal, more string, seeds or whatever.

In my first game, I built a 3-man house – but spent 3 days not knowing that my people were starving. In my second game, I accidentally built a 1-man house then had to build another one so I built a 3-man house in case more people arrived later.

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Seeds Of Resilience: Pros

  1. Anti hand-holding and quick to start
  2. Deep gameplay, replayable and a game you can really let consume you
  3. It pulls itself together elegantly as a strategy game where decisions matter

Seeds Of Resilience: Cons

  1. No hand-holding that I could find
  2. Sometimes difficult to select something that is behind something else
  3. Not a unique game type (a hybrid with instead a unique approach in its implementation)

Seeds Of Resilience

by Michael B.

£10.99 on Steam

Summary

This game is about the decisions, mistakes, and details that you pay attention to – and to their consequences. And if that’s really what this game is supposed to be about, then I love it. 

3

Michael B

Writer/Designer/Producer at Michael B.
Michael has a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing with a Screenwriting Specialisation and has been writing stories since he was four. He wrote his first 300-page manuscript at thirteen, and that’s also when he started writing game design documentation.
Michael B

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