Oregon Trail meets Fallout meets Nethack
March 19, 2012 4:25 PM   Subscribe

NEO Scavenger is a hex-based, turn-based scavenging/survival/mystery RPG. Dig through abandoned buildings! Punch a looter to death! Get eaten by a Dogman! Contract cholera! Die of cholera! Flash-based browser game, under active development; the current demo lets you explore the landscape and play with the game's mechanics at length.

The game's approach to character customization is perk-based; you can select a few from the twenty or so skills available, giving you significant edges in only some small subset of the challenges you face as you try to survive in the wilderness and the decayed urbania outside of the walled Detroit Mega City. Athletic? You can cover more ground each turn. Lockpicking? You've got a decent chance of getting at locked storage sheds that previous looters might never have gotten into. Trapping? Congratulations on your hard-won squirrel-skin attire.

Basically everything in the game is dangerous, and learning to be risk-averse is the first core skill in gameplay. With good weapons and some fighting skill, you can probably come out ahead in the fights you pick, but running away is still the safest way to avoid injury. Scavenging yields up utilitarian treasure but presents dangers both infrastructural and mammalian. And if you want to carry more than two things, you'd better find a plastic bag or, better yet, a backpack or three.

A recipe/combo system lets you combine found materials to create basic resources (some twigs, a branch and a lighter gets you a campfire) or improvise better equipment (combine a sling, some bits of wire, and a rifle with a leatherman tool to make yourself a proper shoulder sling rifle to free up your hands), though the recipe system is more fleshed out in the (frequently iterated) beta for pre-orderers.

The UI is a bit fiddly in spots and the game does very little hand-holding about getting up to speed on the basics of survival; if you want help with either, check out a short newbie guide on the game's forums.
posted by cortex (23 comments total) 54 users marked this as a favorite
I prefer to call it prospecting.
posted by The Whelk at 4:26 PM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I completely nullified two coworkers' productive output by showing them NEO Scavenger last week.
posted by krilli at 4:35 PM on March 19, 2012

(This morning's staff meeting was a briefing on how they'd found a trolley and died of cholera.)
posted by krilli at 4:36 PM on March 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

You had me at "hex-based."
posted by jedicus at 4:44 PM on March 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

via GFi?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:01 PM on March 19, 2012

NEO Scavenger is a flash-based browser game

This needed to be in there, from the web site.
posted by bongo_x at 5:06 PM on March 19, 2012

I tried this the other day and got frustrated by the interface pretty quickly, which was too bad as it seems otherwise right up my alley.
posted by adamdschneider at 5:08 PM on March 19, 2012

I tried this the other day and got frustrated by the interface pretty quickly, which was too bad as it seems otherwise right up my alley.

Yeah, like I said, fiddly. The things that made the difference for me were getting used to using the 1, 2 and 3 keys to switch between take/drop, move, and consume, respectively, and using Q to pop into the item screen and back out. There's still a bit too much clicking about to get inventory management stuff done, but it scratches my post-apoc packrat itches enough that I'm willing to forgive the lack of polish there to date.

via GFi?

Not directly, but, yes, Gamefilter thread in which I'm the main person commenting. Heh. I think I actually heard of it via RPS originally.

posted by cortex at 5:16 PM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Can't wait to try this out.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:31 PM on March 19, 2012

jedicus: "You had me at "hex-based.""

Ha, I just saw this thread on boardgamegeek: "Our love affair with the hex".
posted by symbioid at 5:55 PM on March 19, 2012

Is there a way to efficiently switch backpacks? After one wears out, It looks like you empty out the items from the old one, put on the new one, put all the items back in again.
posted by zamboni at 6:32 PM on March 19, 2012

I think I accidentally drank lighter fluid?
posted by ODiV at 7:06 PM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Night vision is the best thing ever. Also, water bottles are critical and healing seems to take so long that I haven't noticed it happen.


Just like real life!

((That I was wandering the woods with a squirrel corpse in one hand, a meat cleaver in the other, and hospital scrubs wasn't.))
posted by CrystalDave at 7:12 PM on March 19, 2012

Frustrating that I can have both hypothermia and also die from heatstroke.
posted by ninazer0 at 8:15 PM on March 19, 2012

This is too hard to not have a checkpoint/save feature...
posted by schyler523 at 8:57 PM on March 19, 2012

There is another version on the website. Beta version. It has saving and sneak feature which fleshes out the world encounters quite a bit.

To get the beta you have to pay $10 to preorder. Which I did gladly as it was a good 3 hours of entertainment on the demo. I love how he gives feature votes for $1 a piece and shows a running leaderboard to encourage people to pledge. Smart.

As a game developer working for a big studio I like to support the indie guys all I can. I probably spend more on indie games, kickstarter projects, closed beta/alpha games and indie bundles then I do on regular games. I want it to be possible for these guys to develop full time, this is where the awesome new ideas come from.
posted by darkfred at 10:23 PM on March 19, 2012

Something about the description of this puts me in mind of the very NSFW "Flexible Survival".

No link, because I suspect a lot of you would really, really regret clicking it,
posted by egypturnash at 10:31 PM on March 19, 2012

I die about as often as nethack. Which hasn't stopped me from playing (either).
posted by klangklangston at 12:14 AM on March 20, 2012

Bah. Thanks a lot cortex. This is an awfully fun and frustrating time-sink. The Road meets Choose Your Own Adventure meets Windows ME
posted by panaceanot at 6:25 AM on March 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

This is too hard to not have a checkpoint/save feature...

You have played Nethack, right ?
posted by k5.user at 8:39 AM on March 20, 2012

Haha, beat it. Finally. Some good ideas, but not a lot of deapth, and once you read the guide and learn how to scavenge (Always with full move; always run; take night vision) it is pretty easy.
posted by Canageek at 10:35 PM on March 20, 2012

This is actually really easy. Get some clothes and book it to the glow. I didn't have to worry about food, water, or combat.
posted by demiurge at 8:11 AM on March 21, 2012

It is worth noting that the demo ends, plot-wise, at the glow, where as that is where the plot of the pre-order beta properly starts. A blind-ass run for Detroit is totally accomplishable but it doesn't set you up to answer the larger question of "what now".
posted by cortex at 8:37 AM on March 21, 2012

« Older Murphy Ranch: the faded dreams of a Nazi Shangri...   |   "Streets ahead" is a goddamn phrase already, Dan... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments