Is Surviving the Aftermath, Worth Playing?
Surviving the Aftermath began as a promising title; however, two years of overdevelopment have reduced an excellent title to a barely passable one.

The Lowdown.

Product Details
Genre: Strategy
Developer: Iceflake Studios
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 19 October 2019
Supported Modes:


Surviving the Aftermath is not difficult to learn. While there is room to better your strategies and management technic, the learning curve is approachable for new players and casuals alike.

Unfortunately, the overreliance on RNG ensures that Surviving the Aftermath is, at times, punishingly difficult regardless of the difficulty setting, making it one of the most artificially difficult games I have ever played. I am a fan of Frostpunk, so that is saying something!

Unpopular DLC Releases.

As of January 2024, Surviving the Aftermath has three DLCs available, all suffering from low review scores and low sales. The most recent DLC, Rebirth, released in March 2023, has just 15 reviews on Steam, with roughly 40% of them being negative.

I feel it’s time for Iceflake Studios to move on to something else before their reputation is tarnished beyond repair.


No Campaign.

Surviving the Aftermath does not have a narrative campaign; however, players can customize the world, such as choosing the level of destruction, resources available and leader ideology.

That is not to say there is no story content; there are several quest chains that lead players to explore locations on the world map; however, many of these are best described as simplistic and normally only involve moving a specialist to a tile and choosing from a few options, such as using brute strength as fighter or stealth as a scout specialist.

While not overly engaging, these small questlines help make the mid-game more enjoyable, as once you have scouted and scavenged everything for miles around, exploring the world map feels more like a chore than anything resembling fun.


NPC Factions.

Surviving the Aftermath has multiple NPC factions, such as bandits, cultists, and other survivor communities; however, players only have access to the unnamed survivor faction, which grants players the ability to name the community and set its motto and heraldry.

I feel being able to play as one of the other factions (bandits, cultists, etc.), each with a unique building aesthetic and passive abilities, would make Surviving the Aftermath far more immersive and, by extension, replayable.


Frequent Updates.

Iceflake Studios has been diligent with Surviving the Aftermath updates, releasing twelve content updates, four enhancement patches, and six additional major updates in response to community feedback. 

While I feel the developers have made several major mistakes along the way, and Surviving the Aftermath is less enjoyable now than it was in 2019-2020, I cannot deny their dedication or determination to make Surviving the Aftermath a worthy successor to Surviving on Mars.

Image credit Surviving the Aftermath - Published by Paradox Interactive and developed by Iceflake Studios.


City builders rarely have good graphics, and Surviving the Aftermath is no exception; while I am particularly fond of the artwork used for events and quests, overall visuals are muddy and generally unappealing. 

As development has progressed, the visuals have taken a back seat, with many of the early beta models and visuals replaced with less visually impressive ones.

While this may have been done to give Surviving the Aftermath a unique look, I feel the original textures and models were better.


Map Design.

This is the one area where Surviving the Aftermath has constantly gotten worse as the game has developed; while RNG and procedural generation are great tools to ensure replayability, without reasonable restrictions, they can render playthroughs impossible to complete.

This is something even a developer alluded to; when a player asked why all his metal reserves had run out before he was able to research metal excavators, the well-meaning developer informed the player to explore the procedurally generated map to find a randomly assigned colony, to check if they had any sheet metal while warning that RNG also decided the trade goods any single colony had to offer.

Let’s break this down.

  • RNG decides if you have enough resources around your camp to progress.
  • RNG decides how often you are attacked/struck by disasters.
  • RNG decides what the world map looks like.
  • RNG decides how many points of interest exist on the map.
  • RNG decides what resources are available at those points of interest.
  • RNG decides how many other settlements are present.
  • RNG decides what those settlements have to offer.

This is not good game design, especially when you factor in how slow resource gathering is, even when using upgraded facilities.

While resource management was always a challenge, it was never this tedious. Starting locations always had enough materials to ensure players who carefully managed resources had enough “low-hanging fruit” available until they researched better harvesting equipment; unfortunately, that is no longer the case.

In a recent playthrough, I restarted my settlement over a dozen times to test the limits of RNG, and only three of those attempts gave me enough resources to progress.



  • Three starting locations did not have enough food to sustain the colony until other sources of nourishment could be secured.
  • Four starting locations had no water access, meaning I could not fish or gather water from a freshwater source.
  • Two starting locations had mostly barren ground (red), meaning I could not plant crops or drill wells.

While the developers have made an effort to control the most wayward RNG elements and reduced the number of different materials required for important early game structures such as lookout towers and gates, there is still work to be done, with new players still spawning into regions without access to water and in some cases enough accessible materials to progress to higher-tech levels and gain access to harder to reach resources such as underground deposits of scrap metal and plastics.

I am well versed in strategy games and city builders with over 25 years of experience; I cannot imagine how casual players or those new to the genre would cope with these appalling starting conditions, even when playing on easy.

Surviving the Aftermath FAQ

Surviving the Aftermath is a strategy video game developed by Iceflake Studios and published by Paradox Interactive, it was released on 19 October 2019 and retails for $29.99.

Platform Availability.

Surviving the Aftermath is available on the following platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.

Are The Developers Active?

Surviving the Aftermath is no longer in active development, and the developers have moved on to other projects.

What Peripherals Are Supported?

The following peripherals are officially supported:

  • Console - Controller.
  • PC - Controller.
  • PC - Mouse and Keyboard.

Is There Any Mature Content?

Surviving the Aftermath is rated PEGI 7+ and contains no offensive content.

Final Verdict.

Surviving the Aftermath was better at launch than it is today, and while it has improved in some areas, it has grown worse in many more. As a result, I cannot recommend it to even the most diehard survival builder enthusiasts.

Is Surviving the Aftermath Worth Playing In 2024?

Honest Video Game Reviews has given "Surviving the Aftermath" a rating of 5/10, which means, while it is mediocre/average, and has its fair share of issues, the average gamer would not regret playing it.

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