My first few turns with Neo Scavenger are like the opening of 28 Days Later. I’m literally stumbling around an abandoned city, wearing a hospital gown, carrying a plastic shopping bag that contains some drinks and pills I found. But then I found a crowbar. And then I encountered a bandit. And then it was less like 28 Days Later and more like Mad Max as directed by Lars von Trier. The turn-based combat is basically a lot of inelegant fumbling around. But after several turns, I think I’ve got the upper hand. The bandit is vulnerable, bleeding, coughing up blood, in shock, and he has a crippled left arm. I’m none of those things, so it seems to me I’m winning. Also, he’s barefoot and I’m wearing one left shoe that I found in a storage shed. So I’ve got that on him.
Oh, did I mention he’s unconscious? I think I’m supposed to keep kicking him in hopes that I’ll have the option to search him and take his stuff once he’s even more defeated. He does have stuff, doesn’t he? What kind of bandit doesn’t have stuff? I kick him a few more times, occasionally hitting him with the crowbar for good measure. This is tiring activity, as I can tell by my rested bar, which is currently telling me I’m “weary”.
Eventually, I get the following messages:
Player demolished the bandit’s lower chest with a crowbar.
Bandit has died due to acute bleeding in the lungs.
Jeeze, way to make me feel bad, game. A simple message about his hit points being reduced to zero would have been fine. Also, where’s my loot? I didn’t get any loot. Normally, being a total dick to an NPC until it dies means you get loot. Or at least xp. I got neither of those things. Neo Scavenger sure is a stingy game.
The next bandit I see has a hunting rifle. In the process of rushing him, the buckshot “shreds my lower stomach”. Come on. Is that really necessary? A message about -10hp or something would have been just fine. After another extended tussle, I get knocked out. The bandit apparently runs away, because I wake up bleeding profusely but still alive. Later that night, I find a sleeping bag in the back seat of an abandoned car. I try to sleep in my new sleeping bag, but I freeze to death instead. Neo Scavenger, a brutal indie survival game currently available on Steam featuring meticulous detail instead of fancy graphics, tells me I lived for 17 hours.