Seeds of Resilience won’t be a game for everyone, but is catered to the strategists and patient gamers who get a kick out of survival and turn-based games.
Seeds of Resilience is a 2D turn-based survival strategy game developed by France-based Subtle Games and published by Goblinz Studio/Maple Whispering Limited. It released on Steam on June 13, 2019 after 7 years of development by the small dev team. More recently, the game was released on Nintendo Switch on June 18, 2020, however I cannot see it in the Australian Nintendo store. The game started out with the name Stormland however had to be changed as that was already an established game. In Seeds of Resilience, you will build a village on a deserted island and prepare for merciless natural disasters. You’ll need to learn to choose the right items, understand nature’s patterns, use real medieval construction and crafting techniques in this turn-based management game.
There are two game modes: missions and survival. Missions have objectives that have increasingly more difficult challenges for the players to face. Missions are effectively tutorials where you learn the basics of survival and character management including resource gathering, building a shelter, protecting the shelter from wind, and so on. You also unlock new and unique characters as you complete the missions. Survival mode is the main focus of the game, giving you the task of building a ship to escape the island. The user interface is simple to navigate but it takes time to learn the various icons. Top left is your current selected character which shows their work hours remaining, skills and traits they’re proficient in, the item they have equipped and then resource, crafting and building icons. Top right are menu items and bottom right is a time wheel where you end the turn and also keep an eye out for natural disasters. Early on I did have to scan the menus until I found what I needed, so it wasn’t as user friendly as I would have liked, but after playing a while you learn where everything is.
The missions start off simple, for example in 5 days you must learn fishing and harvesting basics. A raft with a single occupant floats towards a small deserted island. The island only has a small amount of land tiles with some having blackberry bushes and others have bamboo trees. Clicking the berries harvests the bush which consumes the character’s work time, and this is illustrated with a green ring that depletes around the character’s face icon at the top of the screen. You then learn to build a spear and catch fish for food but are limited in how much you can catch based on the character’s work hours remaining. The next mission tasks you with finding resources to build a hut for shelter from the elements. To do this you need rope that you can only get by destroying your raft. However you find that when the wind blows hard, it destroys the hut as well as your morale. You quickly learn that you can’t just harvest everything in sight, you must instead carefully plan your moves based on the resources present, work hours available and the skills/traits of your characters.
Each of the characters has different personality traits in addition to different skills they specialise in. For example, some characters are listed as noisy so the other house occupants won’t get as much sleep when they’re together in a hut. Not getting enough sleep limits the hours they can work the next day. All tasks in the game require a set amount of time to complete. Once all characters have used up all their working hours for that day, you end the turn. Every survivor can learn and improve skills through practice, but some can learn certain skills more quickly. Skills include fishing, survival, smithing, woodworking, stonecutting and farming (which includes cooking).
Woodworking and stonecutting are useful in building structures to harvest and refine materials, such as the sawmill. To collect food such as fish, at first you’ll only have access to a fishing spear and must click on individual fish in the water. Similar to real life practices, you need to be sparing with fish collection as once they’re all caught, it takes game time for them to replenish. In this instance, your food source would then switch to farming the land. Farming is the only other steady source of food beyond harvesting wild blackberries and requires you to plant seeds and wait. Seeds can be found in random crates washed up on the beaches and will mature and put out crops, which can then be eaten or turned into more seeds. Unfortunately, farming is only viable during the warmer months, meaning you’ll need to stockpile food before winter hits.
Seasons last a number of turns and the colder months mean you’ll need to change your buildings to stronger material and more insulated to protect the survivors. Regardless of the season, a wind icon is randomly present throughout the year. This wind is so strong that it will blow down your simple hut house and also damage crops. This happens particularly early in the missions and it was frustrating knowing it was coming but you didn’t have the time or resources to avoid it. I failed that mission the first time and learnt from it, collecting resources and resting the survivors quick enough to build the shelter, withstand the wind (losing the shelter) but then had enough resources to complete the mission. There are other disasters that can occur such as earthquakes and tidal waves. As devastating as these are, winds can carry new seeds, the sea can bring crates washed up on shore and ore can be unearthed.
Seeds of Resilience teaches you to be sparing with the natural resources afforded to you. You need to balance manpower and their skills and relationships. Shelter is an important commodity that needs careful consideration, but it can all be blown away in the wind. Sometimes you need to be willing to lose things in order to reap the benefits of a longer vision. The two primary developers of the game, Antonin and Alexandre, were involved in environmental activities and survivalist trips while developing the game. You can feel the undertone of conservation coming through when you play Seeds of Resilience and at times it’s quite relaxing managing your little island. It’s less about collecting resources to fuel an army for combat, and more about just plain surviving off the land, using what limited resources you have to their best potential.
Seeds of Resilience won’t be a game for everyone, but is catered to the strategists and patient gamers who get a kick out of survival and turn-based games. The simple aesthetics and controls means it’s a game where you’re not looking for too much action gameplay, more for when you’re in a thinking and contemplative mood. It’s fun learning how to survive the various disasters and managing depleting resources as time goes on. However once you’ve played through the missions and learnt the main gameplay elements, there’s not too much replayability to be had immediately. It is a game though that you could easily return to later when you’re back in that non-action game mindset.
This review utilised a Steam key provided by the publisher. Seeds of Resilience is available now on Steam for AUD$19.95.
Written by: @ChrisJInglis