Against The Storm

Against The Storm

Building and loving doomed cities.

Building and loving doomed cities.

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Review game Against The Storm, Building and loving doomed cities.

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A city builder’s fundamental belief is that they are building something that will endure. Every house, street, and decoration has been thoughtfully arranged to create pleasant neighborhoods and shopping centers where people will, in theory, live and prosper forever. I wasn’t sure how to react, therefore, when Against the Storm implied that every one of my handcrafted habitats would be destroyed by a powerful storm as a part of an inevitable, apocalyptic cycle. But when the clouds part, what’s left behind in the puddles is one of the most creative, captivating, and charming strategy games I’ve played in a long time.

What’s that? A renegade urban planner talks about maximizing a world on the verge of disaster.

Aim to pay $25 or $30.

Date of release: December 8, 2023

Creator: “Eremite Games”

Hooded Horse Publisher

Examined on “Windows 10, RTX 3080, 32GB RAM, Ryzen 7 3700X

The official website’s link is

The once-idyllistic fantasy countryside in the world of Against the Storm has been devastated by a horrifying magical disaster of some sort, leaving everything outside the magically shielded capital, The Smoldering City, completely destroyed by hurricane-force gales every year. It is your duty as the viceroy of the Queen to search for fruitful settlements that will lead you near a series of enigmatic seals, during the fleeting windows that the land is passable. You will extend the storm cycle indefinitely and get closer to comprehending what transpired by finishing these seals.

In Opposition to the Storm

Every new settlement site has a unique set of potential positive and negative modifiers. These could include anything from a spectral presence that murders homeless villagers at random to a spooky kind of tree that provides you with meat in addition to wood. It’s all right, I promise. You send your brave humans, beavers, lizards, and other anthropomorphized animals out into the woods to cut through the undergrowth and find new glades while gathering materials to build houses, workshops, and decorations, all the while keeping the central hearth fire lit.

The hazards between the branches evoke the original Brothers Grimm stories, despite the bright, fairy tale wonderland created by the strong silhouettes and low polygon count of its models, buildings, and trees. While the game isn’t entirely depressing, juggling all of the competing demands can be extremely difficult. Two meters that gauge the Queen’s grace and impatience are at the center of it all. Once you fill the grace meter, you have effectively won the map. From here, you can reach farther into the darkness and begin another. If she reaches her breaking point, the expedition will fail and be recalled, and the time spent there will not contribute to finding a seal.

Successfully finishing missions that are semi-randomized and pleasing to your villagers earns you grace, while the level of impatience continues to increase with time. All people require food and housing. However, as you go up Maslowe’s hierarchy, each race in Against the Storm also has more specialized desires. This gives each race a delightful little personality in addition to creating an interesting balancing act. For example, beavers are refined young men who enjoy tea parties and fine wine from a particular vintage. They’re challenging to please as well. But lizards love nothing more than to eat beef jerky and pretend to fight. You typically have to choose which species in your settlement to give preference to because it’s rare to be able to please every one of them. However, over time, any given group that receives greater indulgence will become more difficult to please.


Meeting these requirements turns into a fun resource puzzle, especially since you also get semi-randomized blueprints for industrial buildings and workshops. Everyone enjoys pie and biscuits, but you’re completely out of luck in the baked goods department if you don’t have a mill to make flour this run. You can find roaming traders selling certain items in limited quantities, but you can never settle into a comfortable routine because you never know which buildings or resources will be available. I love that Against the Storm constantly tests my ability to adapt.

Deeper cuts into the forest are necessary to find food, maintain a fire, and accomplish goals, but they also make the forest more hostile. Everyone gets a little frightened by this looming sense of wilderness menace, which also increases subtly the longer you stay in one place, making it more difficult to keep everyone happy and safe. There’s extra tension about how quickly you want to expand, since even cutting your way into a new glade slightly increases hostility. Although it would seem that all of these nuanced factors would become too much to handle, in practice they work well together and force you to make thoughtful, engaging decisions on a regular basis.

In Opposition to the Storm

I always get something for my time, even if I can’t get back on my feet. With the help of resources earned from every expedition—winning or losing—you can climb the tall, long-term progression tree in The Smoldering City and unlock benefits ranging from minor percentage gains to new blueprints that can drastically alter how you set up an economy. This tiny bit of incremental progress has been a great incentive to keep going, even when I have a down period, because it assures me that my next expedition will always be slightly better prepared than my previous one. Additionally, I adore that at higher levels, you can eventually add specific blueprints to your permanent starting kit. This is a good compromise that fixes the progression problem that often plagues roguelikes that just add more cards to the deck of things you can draw.

I’ve already spent numerous hours playing Against the Storm and have successfully reforged the first of six seals, the Bronze Seal. With only about 25% of Smoldering City’s upgrades unlocked, I hardly feel like I’m getting started. I still have higher difficulties with something akin to a fire department mechanic, tougher seals that are better characterized as multi-stage boss fights, and rainpunk mechanics that allow you to harness the storm to industrialize your production ahead of me. Every time I get to put on my boots and head outside again, I’m ecstatic. Not only is this an excellent city builder, It truly is something exceptional.

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