As Far As The Eye (AFATE) is a procedurally generated strategy and survival game based on a hexed map in which you build, gather resources and achieve set objectives before moving onto the next area and eventaully to the center of the map and final objective ‘The Eye’.
There is a campaign mode which is essentially a rather lengthy tutorial that introduces a lot of new ideas and names that establish themselves in this game. This tutorial mode is definitely needed as initially wrapping your head around all these news names and aspects can be rather daunting even for someone with experience in similar games. Thankfully by the time I had made it out of the other end of the campaign I felt I had the basics nailed down and was ready to move on, exactly what you need from a tutorial I suppose.
In AFATE you play as a tribe of pupils (the player characters) who are on a pilgramage to The Eye. You have to cross various segments of map with different resource objectives before the turn timer runs out and you are washed away by the incoming tidal wave. For example you may need to harvest wood to build rafts and cross a river to the next map segment, or wool to make clothes that can withstand harsh environments.
The missions in the main game and tutorial act almost as randomly generated puzzles in which you need to use your pupils in the most efficient way to achieve the map goal and move on to the next map segment. There are a lot of random elements that affect each map from Vagaries (random weather conditions) to encounters with passing travellers, sacred shrines that bestow you with positive or negative status effects and more. Gameplay is turn-based but some of the mechanics wouldn’t feel out of place in an RTS. You collect resources to build and upgrade and use the buildings to improve efficiency and create improved goods.
Another main mechanic of AFATE is the pupil skill tree. These skill trees are handled on a per pupil basis and can be used to specialise each character with specific professions. The more you use the same character with the same action, the more efficient they will become, meaning keeping track of your pupils and what they do best is of high importance if you want to beat the tidal wave in each map.
AFATE is a great looking game that runs and smooth as silk and I find myself enjoying the gameplay for the most part. Unfortunately the severity of the random elements I spoke of previously disrupt the game to the point of being game breakingly overpowered, either in a positive or negative way. Of course the positives feel good but make that specefic map far too easy. The negetives can essentially end your run.
Pupils can be poisoned and suffer a quick death, resources can become unharvestable for many turns and buildings destroyed by single turn random weather conditions. These kinds of elements can easily halt your gameplay as working with even one pupil down often means being unable to complete and objective fast enough. I even once had a randomly generated map in which I was tasked in collecting a resource that I had no means of obtaining.
The general ideas and gameplay behing AFATE are good and with a little tweaking of the behind the scenes dice rolls, it could be great.
The Verdict – On Target
Platforms Available – PC
Platform Reviewed – PC
Please see this post for more on our scoring policy. Steam review code supplied by PR.