Welcome to New Cycle, the latest post-apocalyptic PC city builder that will have you questioning humanity's future while juggling the complexities of urban management. Developed by the talented folks at Core Engage and published by Daedalic Entertainment, this game has burst onto the scene with its Early Access release on January 18, 2024. It's time to roll up your sleeves, dive into the rusted remnants of civilization, and see if you have what it takes to rebuild society in the face of impending doom.
Set in the bleak and battered world of 2073, New Cycle thrusts you into the role of a city manager tasked with guiding a fledgling society grappling with the aftermath of solar flares that wiped out all technology. Picture a Dieselpunk-inspired landscape, where decaying industrial structures and machinery stand as haunting reminders of what once was. While New Cycle doesn't reinvent the wheel in terms of gameplay mechanics, it weaves together a variety of features and city-building elements that create a captivating and sometimes overwhelming experience.
As you embark on your journey, you'll find yourself in familiar city-building territory. Starting with a small population and a humble town hall, you'll expand outward, harvesting resources and constructing production lines to fuel the growth of your economy. The overall "Cycle" of your society, which determines the level of technology you can research, is dictated by population caps and other prerequisites. Brace yourself for an extensive tech tree that offers a plethora of enhancements and efficiency upgrades across various Cycles.
Currently, New Cycle offers two main game modes: the campaign and sandbox mode. Additionally, there are two upcoming game modes called Old Ways and Sanity that are sure to add even more depth to the experience. Each game mode takes place in one of the game's three distinct biomes: Meadow, Tundra, and Steppe. These biomes offer unique challenges, environmental effects, and resource disparities, making each playthrough a fresh and exciting endeavor. And keep an eye out for the forthcoming Mountain biome, which promises to add an extra layer of complexity to your city-building adventures.
But wait, there's more! New Cycle isn't satisfied with just the core city-building mechanics. It throws a few curveballs your way that set it apart from the pack. For instance, the game features a World Map that allows you to send out surveying parties to neighboring regions, uncovering new resources and allocating workers to gather them. While you can't build in these areas, they serve as invaluable sources of raw materials to keep your city thriving. Furthermore, the residents of your city will present you with missions to improve their quality of life, adding an extra layer of depth and guidance to the game. Your decisions during these missions can result in buffs or debuffs for your city, so choose wisely!
In New Cycle, success or failure hinges on your ability to manage the intricate web of production lines and citizen needs. There are four basic citizen needs in the form of supplies, which are manufactured by your production buildings. On top of that, you must provide essential services in housing, health, entertainment, and security to satisfy the four needs of your citizens. Balancing these demands is crucial for maintaining the happiness and morale of your population. However, beware of disruptions in the supply chain, as they can lead to a downward spiral that spells doom for your city.
The depth and complexity of New Cycle can be both a blessing and a challenge. The learning curve is steep, even for seasoned city-building veterans. As your population grows and advanced technology becomes available, the game becomes increasingly intricate. For example, the introduction of conveyor belts in Cycle VI: Mechanical Expansion allows resource-gathering buildings to feed directly into production buildings, and in Cycle VII, trains enter the picture. This progression adds layers of depth and complexity to your city as you advance through each era. While it may lead to some initial frustration and less-than-optimal city layouts, fear not! The game offers flexibility, allowing you to rearrange and upgrade buildings to your heart's content.
Throughout each Cycle, the goal is clear: automation leads to increased resources, which in turn enables greater production to support your growing populace and expanding city. Neglecting to upgrade key structures or failing to meet resource demands can create bottlenecks that disrupt your food supply or leave your city powerless. Such failures can trigger a devastating chain reaction, bringing an end to civilization as you know it.
New Cycle provides helpful tooltips and videos to ease you into its intricate systems, but diving headfirst into new technologies without prior knowledge can result in catastrophic supply chain disruptions and campaign failure. It's all part of the challenge and the thrill of the game. Pace yourself, adapt your strategies, and embrace the ever-present sense of impending doom.
While New Cycle shares a post-apocalyptic setting with other city builders, it stands out by presenting a unique twist. Rather than attempting to engineer a solution to humanity's predicament, the game emphasizes the disastrous path of industrialprogress and the consequences of unchecked growth. It serves as a cautionary tale, reminding players of the importance of mindful development in the face of limited resources and environmental degradation.
Visually, New Cycle captures the desolate beauty of its world with its detailed and atmospheric graphics. The crumbling buildings, overgrown vegetation, and eerie remnants of the past create a haunting ambiance that immerses players in the game's post-apocalyptic narrative. The sound design further enhances the experience, with a melancholic soundtrack and ambient sounds that convey a sense of desolation and hopelessness.
While New Cycle is still in its Early Access phase, the developers have shown great dedication to community engagement and updates. They have been actively listening to player feedback and implementing improvements and bug fixes to enhance the gameplay experience. The roadmap for future updates promises exciting additions, including new biomes, game modes, and quality-of-life features.
In conclusion, New Cycle offers a refreshing take on the city builder genre, combining familiar mechanics with unique twists and challenges. Its post-apocalyptic setting, intricate systems, and looming sense of doom create a captivating and immersive experience for players. If you're a fan of city builders and enjoy the thrill of managing complex simulations, give New Cycle a try. Just remember, in this game, the fate of your city hangs in the balance between progress and the consequences it brings.