Are you on the lookout for a post-apocalyptic city-builder game where you try to survive and thrive from scratch? New Cycle is a new game in this genre that focuses on managing people and resources while making important decisions so that everything in your new city runs smoothly. Overall, the game features many great elements of the genre and has a lot of depth. However, occasionally, it can get overwhelming due to the large amount of resources and notifications, but that’s not a new feeling for fans of the city-builder genre. Additionally, while the game feels great overall and offers an enjoyable experience, it isn’t unique. Let’s go through every aspect of it in more detail.
The story is minimal, even in the campaign mode. Somehow, you and a few people managed to survive a solar flare that wiped out most of humanity and are left to start over with minimal resources. Your goal is to survive and eventually thrive in this new world. Overall, the story offers an interesting twist to gameplay progression. After the first few in-game years, the solar flare shows signs of coming back, and it starts worrying people. As a result, you’ll be called to make certain decisions to keep them happy, motivated, and engaged so that your community can survive.
Overall, the storyline fits the standard post-apocalyptic theme. While there’s not much room for originality, it’s also not needed; the main focus is the gameplay, after all, not the story. Nevertheless, the campaign mode has its twists and turns to keep you occupied and lasts for a good while.
The main hero of the story is the gameplay. Overall, the vibe is similar to Frostpunk, although New Cycle is less sad; the decisions you’ll have to make aren’t as harsh as in Frostpunk. The goal is straightforward: you set your workers to collect materials, you use these to research new tech that unlocks new materials, you construct new buildings, and keep unlocking new items, buildings, and resources. At first, you gather limited supplies from the area around you: wood, stone, food, and various ores. However, these will run out eventually, and your goal is to research technologies that grant you access to more sustainable resources. From gathering mushrooms and meat from the surrounding area, you move to setting up your own farm and using it to cover all your food needs.
In terms of progression, there’s a lot on offer. There are multiple tiers of research, and you unlock new ones as you gain more Knowledge and your population increases. Overall, I always had something new to research, build, or produce. However, this also made the game feel overwhelming. The first few hours are slow but it picks up shortly after as you start unlocking research after research. New citizen requests come up almost daily and various world events occur that require some form of action. Of course, this is a common thing in city-builder games, so it’s to be expected.
My only complaint is that it happens way too fast. The early game is slow and helps you learn everything step-by-step. Then, after the third or fourth year (which is about 3-4 hours of gameplay), you start getting a wide variety of different alerts, and you have to figure out everything on your own. There are no tutorials or anything else to guide you. On the bright side, you can pause or slow down time and take things slowly.
Regarding visuals, the graphics showcase great detail and are overall satisfying. Buildings fit the theme, and you can see the technological advancements as you progress in research. People move around to do their jobs, and the city feels alive. However, the building and overall design aren’t something new and jaw-dropping. It features similar visuals to games like Banished and Frostpunk and there’s not much innovation in the world. Performance-wise, the game runs great. I had no spikes, FPS drops, or crashes during my playthrough.
As for the audio, it’s immersive and, at the same time, sad. It mostly uses slow and mellow tunes. While these fit the theme when disasters occur, the same audio plays when you’re unlocking new research, progressing, and thriving. Sometimes, it felt like the audio didn’t fit the mood, and even though my city was thriving, the music was anything but happy.
All in all, New Cycle is a solid addition to the post-apocalyptic, city-building genre. It maintains most fan-favorite elements of the genre but fails to bring something new. Nevertheless, its level of depth is enough to keep you engaged for a long time, and it’s worth trying out if you want something like Frostpunk that’s less brutal in terms of decisions and story.
If you’re a fan of the genre and are looking for something to play while waiting for Frostpunk 2, New Cycle is worth your time. Also, if you haven’t played enough similar games, you’ll find the content new and refreshing. Additionally, despite its Early Access title, the game has more than enough content to keep you engaged. The EA tag is only a plus since it promises more content and updates in the near future.
Our New Cycle review was made possible with a key provided by Daedalic Entertainment. The game is available on Steam.
New Cycle: New Cycle is a great, complex, and engaging title that maintains many fan-favorite elements of the genre. While it fails to bring something new to the table, it still manages to impress with its overall visual setting and graphic style. – Harry Mourtzanakis