Price: Free (with optional paid upgrades) Score: 9/10 Category: Games

g5 preppersIn G5 and National Geographic’s new iOS game Doomsday Preppers, players take on the role of a prepper, ready to build an underground bunker that’s surprisingly adorable. Players can’t directly customize their avatar besides gender, but after randomizing a few times, I got a purple-haired avatar in a demin skirt and surgical mask for contaminated air, probably close enough to what I would have made anyway.

Players then begin building their adorable underground bunker, beginning with housing for five prepper friends. Arriving preppers are then assigned work preparing for the apocalypse in different capacities. My first preppers grew algae in a hydroponic garden and produced duct tape in a workshop, making my doomsday bunker kind of, well, cute. The basic mechanics of Doomsday Preppers are resource management, as your preppers work in assigned stations to make products, prepare for doom, and earn gold, which is then spend on expanding your bunker deeper into the earth, providing more housing and more production for more preppers.

Deliveries of crates containing gold start to arrive as soon as production gets going. (For some reason, I allowed the UPS guy into my underground bunker, and he went cheerily into my homemade elevator. I’m… not entirely sure about that.) As soon as there is living space available, gas-masked new preppers arrive and join the line by the elevator in front of my farm.

levels preppers Preppers each have specialities and skills in each of the different areas, you can see these stats with their names. Any prepper can be assigned to any task, but they’ll do better where they have skills, and do best with their speciality. In the beginning, specialties don’t mean much. It doesn’t matter that Joe Stone is best at laundry because we only have a Pond and a Workshop. But later, as your bunker acquires more levels and more preppers, it’s good to assign your dentists to work in your Dentist floor. After a while, preppers with special skills arrive (Maybe they heard from the UPS guy about the adorable bunker), and would like special areas built to make the best use of their skills for your survivalists.

Game achievements appear, congratulating the player on 10 preppers, 500 gold earned, or an assortment of goods created. These also offer rewards from the Achievement list, so check the Achievement list, in the menu under the Gear icon, occasionally to make sure gold and diamonds (Doomsday Preppers’ premium currency) aren’t going unclaimed.

Doomsday Preppers is a branded game, tied to the National Geographic television show of the same name. The main menu, under the gears icon, includes Prepper Central, from which players can download season 1 episodes, or learn prepper lingo, like “Doomstead” and “Rover packs”. It can be difficult to find good gameplay in a branded game, but Doomsday Preppers is a solid builder and resource management game, with an engaging survivalist narrative that’s surprisingly cute.

Doomsday Preppers is a free download from the app store, with optional in-app purchases and upgrades.