|Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead|
|Developer||Kevin Granade et. al.|
|Theme||Post-Apocalypse, Zombie, Sci-fi|
|Influences||Cataclysm, Fallout, Left 4 Dead, Half-Life, Deus Ex, DoomRL, Crawl, Dune, Mad Max, Dawn of the Dead, I Am Legend, Tremors, The Day of the Triffids, RIFTS|
|Released||19 September 2010 (orig.), 2 January 2013 (DDA)|
|Updated||0.C "Cooper" on March 09, 2015|
|Licensing||creative commons attribution-sharealike|
|Platforms||Windows, Linux, Mac OS X|
|Interface||ASCII, Tiles, Keyboard|
|Game Length||Open ended|
|Official site of Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead|
Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead is a Post Apocalyptic Sandbox Roguelike, focusing on survival in a world destroyed by zombies and otherworldly horrors. It is undergoing rapid development, and is apt to change massively between releases, new releases are made roughly monthly, up-to-the minute experimental builds are available, and the source is freely available at The Github Repo.
Binaries for every release and the latest experimental builds are available at the project home page.
The stable releases usually contain less features than the experimental builds, but the experimental builds can have more bugs. Most people suggest you try and play the experimental versions.
Gameplay is presented in the standard top-down turn based format. You begin the game in a curiously empty Evacuation Shelter, with nothing but a pocket knife, the clothes on your back and a book of matches to begin with. The city is totally overrun and any foray further than the outskirts is frank suicide for the unprepared. Smart survivors will begin their journey by smashing some of the benches in the shelter and using the resultant nails and wood to create a nailboard, a poor man's weapon surely, but better than your bare hands. Your next thought should be to secure some food, you can risk a quick run into the outskirts of a city to raid refrigerators for food, or take your chances in the wild; running down a deer and clubbing it to death to provide your dinner or dying at the hands of a zombear, maddened with the virus that is destroying the world. With improved survival skill, one can craft a knife spear using the long string and heavy stick from a broken window and a spike made from scrap metal. The knife spear is a truly deadly weapon in skilled hands and can even be used to roast bits of flesh over open fire, should you survive that long.
You may now be noticing your player can carry very little. Cataclysm gives items three dimensions, requiring you to not only have the weight capacity to pick them up, but also the volume. Your jeans alone cannot hold very much, but exploring can reward you with backpacks, cargo pants and trenchcoats which can hold plenty. There are also rumours of powered suits which have attachments allowing them to carry huge quantities of items.
Cataclysm focuses heavily on crafting (The crafting menu is accessed via the & key), with many basic necessities such as clothing and clean water being craftable from items you find laying around or salvage from other goods. Useless clothing can be cut up for rags by (a)pplying a knife, and keen hunters will soon find themselves with a great many pelts and patches of leather with which they can create warm clothing. And this is very important, as being too cold can prevent you from sleeping, leave you frostbitten, or in extreme cases, cause you to die. If you cannot find enough clothes to warm yourself, you will need to light a fire. Be very wary though, fire safety has been pushed to the rear in recent years, and buildings can go up in flames at the slightest provocation, digging a pit outside your door and dumping wood into it serves well, fire cannot spread out of pits.
Once basic survival is assured, you may wish to make yourself more comfortable, perhaps you wish to construct a wall around your evac shelter, or add a bed to a corner, or simply barricade the windows against threats. All of this can be done via the construction menu, accessible via the * key. You may also wish to seek out a vehicle, with the ability to be truly mobile, you may find zombies are nothing more than a mere annoyance, vehicles can be further improved by mechanically minded characters, adding spikes and turrets, plating them against damage, or even installing water tanks and a small kitchen.
By the time you have done all of this, you may think you've done everything there is to offer, but really you have only scratched the surface. Legend speaks of strange temples with dangerous artifacts, science labs buried deep under the earth with their obscene experimentation, caves where thousands of scurrying feet can be heard. So load up, hop in your deathmobile, and go show the world what it should be scared of!
There are numerous scenarios and professions to try; with different traits, stats and skills resulting in countless combinations. Try them out to find the best one for yourself.
- Detailed character creation, with a plethora of traits to choose from.
- Defense mode, a coffeebreak mode with fast-paced combat.
- Bionics; Similar to the magic system in many games.
- Mutations, both positive and negative.
- Unbounded, fully randomized world map that is persistent between characters.
- Item crafting!
- New recipes may be acquired by honing your knowledge through practice or learning from books
- Realistic fire, smoke, and other dynamic map effects.
- A day/night cycle with the need to sleep. Use caffeine to stay awake longer if you must but be aware this is not healthy.
- Over 300 item types, including a multitude of real-world guns, drugs, and tools.
- Many drugs are addictive, and will require continuous use to avoid withdrawal effects.
- Ability to board doors and windows, construct traps and fortify your home base to prevent a rude awakening by a zombie.
- Ability to construct your own wooden constructions, including walls and a roof.
- Ability to drive around in vehicles found in the post-apocalyptic landscape.
- These can be modified to your needs, or you could even build one from scratch!
- A temperature system, being too cold or too hot is quite hazardous.
- Tile support!
- WorldGen options, and versatile editing methods.
In this scene, a player battles for his life in a ruined city.
Below, a player takes his heavily customized speed machine up to absolutely ludicrous speeds. His engines did not survive.
Here, a player shows his status menu, along with all the status effects his character has managed to accumulate.