A fictional eastern European city by the name of Pogoren, surrounded by the country’s military. A last stand for the rebels fighting against the government. It sounds like the build up to an epic shooter, where you play a pumped up soldier ready to die for a cause or perhaps your country. But 11 Bit Studios and their new project; This War of Mine, takes a far more different approach. The player instead takes control of a group of civilians, trying to survive in a violent and isolated city. Due to the military blockade, all supply lines have been cut and a general evacuation was sounded. All those remaining in the city have been declared rebels. You take control of a group of survivors trapped in the city, caught between two warring factions with the rest of the trapped population struggling to survive.
Developer: 11 Bit Studios
There are twelve possible survivors in total and upon starting the game for the first time, the player will be dropped into a bombed out house with three survivors; Pavle, Katia, and Bruno. They are the basic starting group. The longer the player survives, the more set groups can be unlocked. Otherwise, there is a random button. This will start the player in a random location, with a number of survivors. The goal is simple. Gather enough resources to survive, defend yourself and hopefully live through to the end of the madness. This means managing your survivors in building new equipment, tools, and weapons. But it’s not just about food and resources to build, you must also care for your survivors. They can get sick or wounded, and they become tired or exhausted if they don’t rest. But most importantly, they have their own feelings, desires and cravings. Some are coffee drinkers and others are smokers. There are physical needs to cater for and there are also psychological needs. Something as simple as a chair and a book can bring a character out of a downward spiral.
The game is difficult from the start. There is no tutorial or hints and this is the biggest problem for many players. To learn you must experiment and this often means failure. Failure where no second attempts are allowed.
Your characters have their own perks, some sneak better or are better scavengers. Some are trained cooks and some are ex-military. The game is broken into two segments. The day and the night. During the day, you care for your survivors; keeping them fed and healthy. This is when preparaation occurs for the night. Equipment stations can be built, such as a metalshop. This can be used to make crowbars, lockpicks, shovels and similar tools to make scavenging easier. Others like this can be built, such as a trap for small animals for more food or a rainwater filter for clean water. All of these require different resources to build and use all of which are found while out scavenging. You may also have visitors during the day, other survivors looking to trade or for help and on occasion a new survivor will show up asking for shelter and join your party if you allow them.
The night is for scavenging as it’s too dangerous to leave the house during the day. There are around twenty possible locations to scavenge, all of which can be occupied by other survivors or military forces. Each location can have different supplies, some are apartment complexes or shopping centres where food is plentiful. Others might have no food but plenty of parts. This is a game all about balance.
Players can take a careful appproach and avoid any dangerous locations, but the longer you survive the less supplies are available. To survive you must take risks, trade where you can, steal where you cannot and on the necessary occasion; kill. This War of Mine is currently on sale on Steam for €18.99 and is definitely worth a purchase.