PC Games Homeseek Cover Image

Published on July 13th, 2023 | by Richard Banks

Homeseek PC Review @Homeseekgame

Homeseek PC Review @Homeseekgame Richard Banks

Summary: Homeseek is a punishingly bleak post-apocalyptic city builder where every action feels consequential.


Thirsty Work

Another day, another post-apocalyptic environment to endure. This time, Earth has become an arid wasteland, where water has become the most sought-after resource on the planet. But, while Homeseek has all the markings of yet another dystopian city-builder, an intoxicating setting and unique, interesting mechanics make it a thrilling standout where every action feels consequential.

It seems like every depiction of Earth’s future ends the same way; with humanity collapsing under the weight of its own actions. Homeseek continues this trend, and in true Fallout style, our thirsty survivors leave the relative safety of their bunker to face the gruelling task of rebuilding a world working against them.

Homeseek Farm

Forging a future from the past is no easy task. Your survivors are your bread and butter, and keeping a healthy amount of…healthy survivors is paramount, as sending them to do your bidding is the only way to secure your township’s future. Healthy survivors can be used to harvest resources, man buildings or go on expeditions to further your understanding of this strange new world. That said, not providing survivors with adequate housing, clean, drinkable water and a steady influx of food will soon see survivors start to leave – or worse – die. Other aspects play a part in survivor happiness. Early on, providing your people with the bare minimum is often enough to secure victory, but in later scenarios, establishing things like laws can help stop your new civilisation from falling apart.

It’s a balancing act, and at the heart of this balancing act is Homeseek’s unique resource management system. Maintaining a steady stream of drinkable water is the first major task of each of the nine single-player scenarios, but with water in short supply, it’s up to your survivors to find increasingly clever – and desperate – ways of attaining Earth’s most precious resource. Early scenarios see you extracting dangerously contaminated water from the ground, whilst later down the line, salty sea water provides an infinite supply – providing you can convert it to make it safe for consumption.


And it’s here where the true difficulty of Homeseek lies. Storage and conversion become increasingly more challenging as time goes on, with the act of turning water into a pure, clean resource a steep learning curve. Early scenarios only allow you to gather water in its contaminated form, but the more your survivors learn, the better they can use this raw resource and turn it into safe water. Late-game, you’ll be building complex systems where water is pumped from its source before it goes through several different processes before it reaches its final, pure form.

Getting water from one place to another means getting to grips with Homeseek’s connection system. Simply building, for example, a water extractor isn’t enough, as the water needs somewhere to go, so connections need to be established with water storage units. It’s, on the surface, a pretty simple system, but one that becomes incredibly confusing the further the game goes on, especially as processes become more complex. Some conversions, for example, require three or four water storage units to function properly, and the game doesn’t always do enough to explain in which direction these connections need to be established. Eventually, I always managed to work out what I was meant to be doing, but there was always more than a little trial and error involved, which isn’t ideal when your colony is on the brink of collapse. It’s still a system I enjoyed getting to grips with, as making water the central focus of Homeseek is what makes it such a compelling survival story.

Homeseek’s moody end-of-the-world storyline is further explored through in-game events. Whilst establishing your base, you’ll be faced with making decisions that can have game-changing effects on your colony. Sometimes, fellow survivors will request to join your base, while other times a rogue dust storm will play havoc with any survivors who haven’t got a place to stay. It’s the first time since fellow post-apocalyptic survival sim Frostpunk that I’ve felt like every decision makes a difference. Usually in games of this ilk, taking in survivors is a no-brainer, but where resources are so hard to come by in Homeseek, it’s often difficult to justify having more people join your base.

Making choices that negatively affect your colony can also have a greater effect on the world around you – after all, you aren’t the only survivors. The world is full of people willing to do anything to get by, and some choices leave your base open to attacks from increasingly desperate bandits. There are no fighting mechanics in Homeseek, but being forced into picking between your colony standing up for themselves or bending to bandit’s demands is one of the toughest choices you can face.


The world around you isn’t just full of dangerous bandits, though, it also offers plenty of opportunities, and sending explorers out to nearby locations of interest is perhaps my favourite part of Homeseek. Whilst the aim of each site is to further your colonist’s knowledge to help them survive, along the way some of the game’s most challenging choices are often made. Rival groups, scared survivors, environmental hazards and long lost loot are just some of the things your intrepid explorers can come across, and akin to events, in true choose your own adventure style, making these choices can often mean the difference between success and failure. Of course, there are always things you can do to help guarantee success. In the second half of the campaign, animals can be kept and used to aid exploration, and ensuring your explorers leave with plenty of supplies before they leave usually gives your team a greater chance of returning from their adventures alive.

Not that failure is always the end in Homeseek. In story mode, losing a scenario doesn’t force you to restart the whole level again, rather, it lets you continue as if you were successful, right through to the end of the chapter. You will, however, have to go back and complete each level of the first five scenarios to unlock the second part of the campaign, but being able to move on when stuck and then return to any levels you find particularly tricky is a nice touch, especially when you can spend two hours on a scenario only to be defeated by a single, silly mistake. You’ll also need to complete see each scenario to the end if you want to unlock the game’s endless and survival modes, with the latter only available after each campaign is fully completed. There’s also a multiplayer option, which allows you to go head-to-head with other survivors across each scenario. While I didn’t get a chance to sample this mode myself, the idea of proving my worth against fellow colony leaders as I try and build and maintain the biggest and best base sounds like tremendous fun and something I can’t wait to try out.

Homeseek Missions

But, while I love so many aspects of Homeseek, I do wish the game maps had a little more personality. Most buildings look identical, which, when they’re meant to be put together with whatever scrap is lying around, does feel like a missed opportunity. Cutscene animation and event art, on the other hand, look great, but your colony is otherwise pretty lifeless, with ant-sized inhabitants repeating the same animations over and over. It’s weird – in some respects, Homeseek is a beautiful representation of the end of times, in others, it’s just not that interesting to look at. If I’m being picky, I also noticed a few text-based errors along the way, but things like that are easily patched out in the future.

To be fair, many of my criticisms of Homeseek are incredibly minute – after all, it’s difficult to pick faults with a game so well realised as this. It’s certainly a challenge, and it doesn’t always do enough to fully explain every aspect of what’s going on (I’m still not sure if destroying a building gives me any scrap back, for example), but if dark, city-building sims like Frostpunk are your thing, Homeseek should be up there as your next must buy.

About the Author


Back to Top ↑