I’m not sure, whether I should praise Apoc Wars, for trying to bring something fresh to the farming strategy genre, or to shame it for trying to pass as a real-time strategy, despite requiring next to none strategic efforts to win. In Apoc Wars, your mission is to start your own post-apocalyptic settlement, and drive it to a thriving future, battling raiders, and other unpleasant personalities of the dark, gritty future. I’m not sure what happened to bring society on a brink of destruction, but it’s probably our good old friend, controlled fission of Uranium-235. The setting is a generic, Road Warrior / Fallout eternal desert. You take command of a small post, driving the raiders away and establishing your own settlement. To thrive, you need to battle the more violent survivors, while constructing defences and life-sustaining buildings, to keep your people and economy on the level.
Apoc Wars consists of two parts: building your settlement, and attacking enemy settlements, which can be generated fortresses of “dirtbags”, raiders in this world, or your Facebook friends, which you aren’t so friendly to, after all. The first part is similar to all the other farming simulators, with the same problems. You have basic resources that you generate from various “farm” placeholders, and advanced resources that can really be only purchased from an in-game store, and that can not only unlock unique buildings and units, but is also used for speeding up the construction of buildings and units. You also have energy, generated by various, well, generators. If you reach the energy limit, you won’t be able to construct any more buildings, and if you exceed it – say, your power plant gets disabled for one reason or another – most of your base operations cease completely. The difference in this mode comes from the various defensive systems and barracks, which can train units. You can create walls to protect your structures, create turrets of different kinds to destroy the attacking forces, or units to protect and attack. The other interesting feature is the need for upgrading all of your buildings to unlock new constructions, or improve the building’s output.
The second, battle part of Apoc Wars is slightly more interesting. Although it’s a bit too simple to hold on its own, as a Real-Time Strategy, it’s unusual and has several interesting features. First-hand, you can spy the territory with one of the spying tools, since at the start of the battle, enemy territory is shrouded in a fog of war. Then, you need to choose what, and how many troops you will deploy, limited by a supply cap, and choose a point where they will be deployed. Then, you need to get to the enemy command centre and destroy it, losing as few units as possible. You can only control the whole bunch of our units in the field, simply by pressing anywhere on map to let them walk to the point, or pressing on enemy structures and units, to let them shoot at it. Although primitive, this mode is actually dependent on the player decisions. Your upgrades and units still play the most important role in your success, but it’s quite possible to beat a somewhat better equipped opponent, if you know what you’re doing. After the battle you get money bonus, experience boost to advance you to new level, and if you’re lucky, an item that, when equipped in your command centre, gives you some useful boosts.
Wrapping up, Apoc Wars pleasantly surprised me with its varied gameplay, and if you can withstand the extra-long building times, and the possible pay-wall, you can get a lot of fun from this game.