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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Floodland is a downloadable single-player city builder strategy game currently available for Windows and Mac. Players will choose one of four starting clans in a world ravaged by climate change, with the purpose of rebuilding society and becoming humanity's best chance at survival. Unlike most other stories centered around a post-apocalyptic world, rather than doom, gloom, and an inevitable collapse, Floodland pushes messages of teamwork, unity, and hope to bring the world back from the brink. The clans' main leaders ultimately want what's best for society as a whole, which can lead to them being wonderfully productive, empathetic leaders among their people. The game also carries quite a bit of diversity, as the core leaders are people of color and/or women, and many of the other central advisers and characters are diverse as well -- although diversity-centric issues or nuances never expressly come up during the game's campaign. The game may alienate newcomers to the city builder/strategy genres as the tutorials don't quite explain some of the more complex mechanics, leaving players to fail so drastically that it may be impossible to get things back in order. In terms of violence, looting and other crimes can break out if you allow your society to decline and people stop believing in your ability to lead them. But these instances of chaos are merely told to the player -- they're never shown in any visual capacity.
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What’s It About?
In FLOODLAND, massive waves have overtaken most of the world, leaving little more than a watery wasteland in the aftermath. But all is not lost. Choosing from one of the four starting clans, your goal isn't just to survive on borrowed time in a post-apocalyptic world. Instead, your mission is one of hope and salvation for humanity as you try to find a power plant that will be responsible for giving humankind the rebirth it desperately needs. But with every beginning comes many uncertainties. Should you rebuild the world as it was -- rules, traditions, social norms, and all? Or is now the time to wipe the slate clean and start from scratch, one building at a time? At first, you'll appeal to your own clan, which is simple enough as you already know what they want and need. But as your society expands and new ideologies enter the mix, you may find your decisions getting harder by the day. At its worst, anarchy will prevail: riots, looting, and even murder. You, humanity's last chance, will perish with the remnants of your failed nation. Or perhaps you'll gather the necessary resources, do what's right for your citizens no matter how challenging, and watch the sun set on a new, functional world. Where will your destiny take you? Well, that's for you to decide!
Is It Any Good?
It's rare when a game set in a post-apocalyptic world contains a message of creating a brighter future over hopelessness and chaos. Floodland is unique as a city builder that prioritizes an overarching story, featuring events that will shake up the foundation of your well-kept society and force you to make difficult decisions. The four clans you can choose from all have their own beliefs and goals that won't align with all your choices. One clan may take offense if you want to build recreational facilities for your people, as they believe that hard work alone makes for a good, productive society, creating division within your ranks. Enjoy the time you have focusing on the micromanagement of resources, because once you begin taking in people from other clans, things get much more difficult. Oddly enough, one of the game's best and worst features is its decision-making system.
Floodland doesn't really allow for mistakes. It's entirely possible for players to prevent themselves from making progress because they can't get enough research points. These are mandatory to create and build anything of substance, and accumulate slowly if you have the correct resources. If not, your progress grinds to a halt as your society crumbles, which costs you everything. Once you make enough progress and gather enough people, you can introduce laws to solidify your society as humanity's beacon of hope ... in theory. But laws, rather than adding intrigue and complexity, exist only to slow the game to a crawl, making gameplay hectic to the point of becoming overwhelming. It also doesn't help that in trying to distinguish one clan from the next, the story fails to define any specific characters with real goals. Floodland has a lot of good ideas -- some of which it executes well enough -- but while it could offer something new to fans of city builders and strategy games, it's certainly an experience that doesn't quite hit the highs of others like it.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about diversity in video games. Is it enough to simply have diverse groups represented on the surface, or should games explicitly explore the nuances of a particular culture or group if they're present? Is there room for both? What's the difference between performative, empty diversity and meaningful diversity within mass media?
As a leader, what's the best way to satisfy multiple groups of people with different perspectives in order to make sure everyone can cohabitate? What compromises would you entertain, and which would you be hesitant to implement? Is leadership worth the immense burden and pressure? Why, or why not?
- Platforms: Windows, Mac
- Pricing structure: Paid ($29.99)
- Available online?: Available online
- Publisher: Ravenscourt
- Release date: November 15, 2022
- Genre: Strategy
- Topics: Adventures, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, Science and Nature
- Character Strengths: Communication, Compassion, Courage, Empathy, Perseverance, Teamwork
- ESRB rating: NR for No Descriptions
- Last updated: November 28, 2022
Our Editors Recommend
Brutal, bleak society-building sim rewards quick thinking.
This War of Mine: Final Cut
Bleak strategy about war's toll on citizens can't be missed.
Strategy game offers tongue-in-cheek political critique.
For kids who love strategy
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