“I don’t know with what weapons World War 3 will be fought with, but I know that World War 4 will be fought with sticks and stones.” – Albert Einstein
Developer: Amanito Computing
Released: 2nd March 2023
Platforms: Windows, Linux
Available on: Steam
- Superb post-apocalyptic atmosphere. The world feels devoid of life, mysterious and bleak at all times, with a strong sense of ‘finality’ to it: no going back to what it once was.
- Excellent soundtrack choice that complements and enhances the setting supremely well. Sound effects and environmental noises are realistic and fit well.
- Old-school, satisfying combat that heavily punishes rushing, while rewarding accuracy, smart positioning and knowing when to pick or avoid a fight. Very low TTK for everyone.
- Rewarding exploration: plenty of hidden items, NPCs, Easter eggs and events are scattered around the various open-world locations – that also change as time passes.
- Dynamic weather and random events (like enemy groups roaming around) that change how areas play out, adding interesting variables.
- Jumping and climbing controls feel extremely clunky and inaccurate. They will be the reason for several deaths.
- Very low enemy variety with repetitive behavior and weapons. You’ll be fighting only humans with three different guns, and that will be it.
Bugs & Issues
- In certain cases, the flashlight can’t be turned off anymore.
- Minor issues with English translation sentence structure/wording.
- 32GB RAM
Content & Replay Value
It took me around 4 hours to complete Apocalyptic Vibes, taking time to explore all areas accurately when possible. The experience is mostly linear, and I don’t see a reason to replay once finished.
Is It Worth Buying?
Yes, but the base price of 19,50€, even if it’s an excellent title, is rather steep for its duration. Unless you’re a big fan of post-apocalyptic settings and old-school shooters, I’d recommend waiting for at least a small sale.
A well-crafted post-apocalyptic FPS with original, interesting takes on the formula and spot-on art direction. Guess it’s true that good things come in small packages.
Apocalyptic Vibes – In-Depth Analysis
Setting & Writing
The current generation may ask themselves how they went from space-faring civilization, following the premature end of WW1 and miraculous breakthroughs, to desperate denizens of a post-atomic wasteland. Humanity’s intrinsic knack for self-destruction, of course! That’s Apocalyptic Vibes’ opening premise, introducing a bleak, grey-scaled wasteland populated by nomadic tribes, bandits and vagrants that, even after all the destruction, still have the will to fight for whatever miserable scraps are left. As an elite courier, dubbed ‘Rook’, you’ll be tasked to recover and bring an item to an undisclosed location in the far north, with all the risks involved – then come back alive, because Rooks -always- come back, after all.
Even if the English translation isn’t the best (from Russian), the few dialogues and lore dumps present in the adventure are of good quality and shed some light on the current state of the world, although the bulk of information is delivered visually or indirectly, allowing players to make their own conclusions. Many points about the lore remain obscure and were likely hand-waved (such as: if humanity is so advanced, why are they still using WW2-era guns?) but that doesn’t necessarily detract from the game’s purpose, as the setting remains solid and immersive anyway.
Exploration & Secrets
The world is divided in various areas, most of which can be freely explored and returned to at your leisure – provided you remember the way, since there’s no map and phenomena such as fog, storms, rain and toxic gas clouds can make visibility extremely poor. You have a mission, but no time limit to complete it – exploring may bring unexpected surprises or encounters, but keep in mind resources are limited, and the wasteland is unforgiving to those who linger too long.
Each location will have plentiful hidden loot to uncover like bullets, consumables for health and stamina, unique equipment, guns, documents, or key items to open previously-inaccessible areas. Some are fairly simple to find, others extremely obscure. Not only bandits but also neutral traders or other NPCs can be found, offering to barter one item for another since cash lost its value and function. You may also choose to rest at a fire barrel in a sheltered location to let time pass for more favorable weather, or listen to the forecast on the radio to know when it’s best to travel again – very nice touch.
Fights mostly play out with guns – if you have enough ammo that is – and as it should be, only a few shots are all it takes for both you and any enemy to meet the reaper. The weapon selection features a handful of well-distinct murder tools, each featuring an alt-fire mode (for instance the revolver can click the hammer back to make the next shot faster) and requiring different ammo types. A headshot is always an instant kill, while bodyshots take a bit more, unless you get a shotgun at close range that is.
A range of consumables such as medkits and food can be used to replenish health and stamina, the latter being consumed by running or traversing difficult terrain, and degrades its maximum cap progressively as you get tired, only a good rest can get that back. It has to be noted that enemies don’t seem much affected by the visibility-impairing effects such as fog or the blinding aurora borealis, but you do, even if there are items to minimize these and get the upper hand. It would have been nice to have something other than humans to fight in such a mysterious wasteland, but it is what it is.
Progression; Difficulty Modes & Death Mechanics
You’ll only get minimal loot from enemies, as the bulk of new weapons, tools like goggles or flashlights, and consumables will be gained from trading and exploring. Progression is mainly in the form of acquired accessories to better resist the wasteland (like the gas mask) and better weapons, otherwise, there’s no other character progression to speak of.
Death works in a peculiar way: each time you die, regardless of reloading a previous save or not, you’ll lose a small amount of max health permanently – unless you use the mysterious item you’re tasked to carry, enabling you to get back the max health cap, but also that may have a price if used too much. The two difficulty modes, Normal and Hardcore, change only one thing: saving. On normal, you can save anywhere, anytime, while on Hardcore you may do that only at bonfires, and only if you have a match to light them up – for the rest everything is the same on both settings.
Dialogues & Optional Content
You’ll have conversations with several NPCs, some friendly while others much less so. They may give you information on the world, your mission or the current state of the region, other than offering you barter deals or services you may require, like transportation. You can’t talk to everyone, but only to a select few, as not everyone wants to speak with a complete stranger. You’ll encounter vagrants, merchants and innkeepers, each reasonably weathered and jaded by the current state of the world. Some interesting encounters may happen if you take extra time to visit previous locations on different days.