NEO Scavenger - The homeless, kleptomaniac, meth-addict simulator disguised as a survival game.

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It's HK-47

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If you don't like menu-driven games I'll save you the time and just suggest leaving right now. NEO Scavenger definitely isn't the game for everyone, as its play-style isn't particularly comparable to any other game that I can think of save for some obscure Newgrounds game that literally only you even remember playing, but if you're open to exploration, if menus don't bug you, or you have an interest in becoming a haunted meth-addict who dismantles entire cults by pitching rocks at them until you've murdered thousands of innocent people, stolen their garments and snuck into their temple to give their cult leader an existential crisis, clothed yourself in meme shirts and werewolf skins, and subsisted entirely on pond water and human flesh until you meet your inevitable demise at the hands of oncoming traffic because you clicked the wrong button, you might find that NEO Scavenger is the game for you.

It's definitely not a new game by any stretch; it released in 2014 to fairly mild fanfare and lots of bewildered expressions, and even though SsethTzeentach put out a video that boosted interest in the game last year, most people were likely driven off by the inability to even understand what the fuck the game was trying to sell you, as the Steam page doesn't make it tremendously clear and pictures don't really help shed any light on the gameplay, either. If anything, pictures just make this game seem more confusing.

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This is a game about choices, unfairness, cannibalism, and beating the shit out of motherfuckers who wake you up in the middle of the night to try and steal the 3 ketchup packets you forgot to pick up off the ground. This is a game about picking a seemingly-innocuous dialog option and watching helplessly as your super-geared hobo runs headlong into traffic and gets mangled by a car. This is a game about pushing shopping carts loaded with trash bags full of ammunition through an open field, only for your cart to break and dump its contents all over the place, leaving you to frantically try and reassemble it, give up and scream profanity, and then inevitably wind up having to beat up more motherfuckers because apparently homeless people can smell loot from 10 miles away.

Essentially it would be a very accurate Detroit simulator, save for the fact that there doesn't appear to be a single black person anywhere in the game, firmly cementing this in the realm of high fantasy or some sort of post-apocalyptic, cyber-dystopia set in the early 1900s. This is helped all-the-more by the fact that the game takes place in Detroit, sometime in the far-flung future, or the past, or maybe next week, but to be honest I sort of gleaned over that lore because I didn't give a shit.

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As with any good hobo simulator, you start off by picking your strengths and weaknesses, and since NEO Scavenger is not fair and not balanced, if you pick anything other than Strong, Tough, and Melee, it's because you enjoy having your ass kicked. Every skill and trait has a time and a place--some of them significantly more useful than others--but if you just want to be a rage-powered lunatic who beats everything to death with a crowbar, you really can't go wrong with those three, especially if you're playing the game for the first time. Ranged and Hiding are also acceptable, because holy mother of shit is the sling an overpowered weapon.

Once you're done picking the only three traits worth giving a shit about, you wake up in a cryogenic storage facility, beat the living shit out of a werewolf, steal the security tape because the video of you kicking the shit out of it is badass, and if you took Trapping for whatever reason, then you wear its skin like a cape. This is not hyperbole or over exaggeration, that home video is going to let you skip some profoundly annoying bullshit later in the game, and having a werewolf skin cape is not only fashionable, but it ensures that you only have a 50% chance of dying over the next dozen turns instead of a 90% chance.

What happens from here is largely up to the player, but if you're brand new to the game my advice is to head into the woods, immediately find a big fucking stick, and use it to thrash any homeless people who come anywhere near you while you're trying to scrounge up emoji backpacks, mismatched Crocs, and half-rusted pans to boil pond water. Much more often than not, you'll get absolutely dicked by the RNG within the first week, fail to find a single thing worth caring about, and wind up getting your Ethiopian hoarder stash taken away from your mangled body because you don't understand that combat's really something best avoided whenever possible, because boiling ripped shirts to make sterilized bandages is a pain in the ass.

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By now, you may have also noticed that you've been walking around with your very own Sonichu medallion. This is not the source of all of your powers, this is the source of not getting the meth-loving shit beaten out of you by the Ghost of Detroit's Auto Industry. There's some relatively interesting lore to be found if you manage to take it down, but the odds are that you're not going to be that strong or that lucky for quite awhile, so it's really best to just keep zapping to the extreme and worry about making your way to the lower-East side of the map, without going too low, or you're going to wind up in mini Vietnam and have a wonderful time dealing with the year-long repercussions for rolling around in Agent Orange 2.

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Detroit Megacity is where you're going to spend an awful lot of your time ferrying loot, stocking up on whatever supplies a homeless kleptomaniac could ever want, and if you're particularly successful, it's where you'll eventually be able to purchase cybernetic upgrades to become the next T-1000. The T stands for "trash." There are dozens like 6 other locations to explore and countless, crumbling apartments and mobile homes to loot for a chance at that prestigious black mold inhalation, but Detroit Megacity is invariably one of the most-important places to make a bee-line for at the beginning of the game. Well, that or ZomZom's a little bit to the North, but every time I go to ZomZom's I accidentally pick the wrong dialog option and get run over by a monster truck or some shit so I never go there.

It's not a particularly lengthy game (Providing you can survive longer than a week) and I doubt that most people could squeeze hundreds of hours out of it, but it's got a surprising amount of depth for such a janky shitmess and there really isn't much else out there that's quite like it. It's a bit like "Baby's First CDDA" except without the monsterous modding scene or the sensation that some nerd's trying to trick you into programming an OS by disguising it as a survival game. Either way, NEO Scavenger actually has a free demo on Steam, and it's even free-er if you want to "try" it, but otherwise it's an absolutely unfair piece of shit so head on over to Detroit, shank someone and snort all of the thyroid medication in their pockets, use broken glass to cut all of your jeans into jorts, and when you're done with that give NEO Scavenger's demo a try.

You'll hate every second of it, I promise.

Read everything.
After awhile you'll have enough familiarity with the statuses and random events to not have to worry about it so much, but at the beginning of the game it's very important to read every tooltip, every dialog choice, and especially every status effect. If you come across a hobo who is also using Strong/Melee/Tough, you're not going to want to handle this guy in melee range unless you know what you're doing, or unless you plan to do a significant amount of parrying while you wait for a vulnerable status or a 'create obstacle' prompt.​

Always have a fire source.
This is less important or even completely unimportant if you've taken Trapper as they can build fires purely through foraged material, but a lighter only takes one inventory slot, a fire is the primary means for cooking food, sterilizing bandages and purifying pond water, so at the very beginning of the game one of your highest priorities is to find a lighter and a tin can, pressure cooker, or metal pot. You can get by with a makeshift tinfoil pot, but I really wouldn't recommend it.​

Don't shirk the sling.
It may be a dumpy or pointless weapon in just about any other game ever made, but David swears by it and a sling is one of the easiest things to craft in this game and rocks are literally all over the place. I've had entire playthroughs before where I've literally not bothered to pick up things like shotguns and hunting rifles purely because the sling was so much easier to maintain and keep stocked on ammo. A character with Ranged and Hide skill can almost always absolutely destroy an enemy before they get anywhere near them just by pitching rocks with their sling.​

Watch your durability.
Every single piece of gear and equipment in NEO Scavenger is going to lose durability over time and there's really nothing that you can do about it for most of the gear in the game. Backpacks are going to fall apart, weapons are going to break, shoes are going to tatter, and if you've managed to load down a "vehicle" full of loot, enjoy watching it collapse at the least-opportune moment, spilling an entire inventory of bullshit all over an open field while you were on your way back to town to pawn off your hobo hoard.​
Mercifully, not all gear is created equally. Sharpened sticks may only be good for a handful of back-alley encounters and those half-eaten Crocs you found in a trailer park might only last to the front door, but the better the gear, the longer it's going to last you. That pair of Tweaker Timbs is going to be good for stomping on enough skulls to leave you bored with the idea, and a crowbar is probably to outlast you, given that the average meth-head seems to live somewhere between 15-30 days.​

There is no permanent storage.
This isn't one of those survival-crafters where you find some armpit of a hole somewhere and just keep stocking up food and ammo until you could sate Hamberlynn and lay a ground war with China, NEO Scavenger is all about what you can carry with you and what you have to leave behind. With a decent grasp of how concealment works and a lot of luck, you can reasonably store items in campsites, but it's never a 100% guarantee that a wandering hobo isn't going to stumble across it and make off with your collection of saltine packets. It's not a bad idea to leave small 'pit stop' sites dotted around the map, but it's better to assume the gear's probably going to go missing the moment you put it into "storage" than it is to rely on it being there when you need it.​
Also keep in mind that enemies will use whatever they loot. I wouldn't recommend making a stockpile of military gear, rage-inducing meth-gas, and shotgun ammo, and I definitely wouldn't recommend interrupting the person looting your stockpile and huffing all of your paint with the intent of punching him in the face, because he's going to punch you back a lot harder with a virtually limitless supply of buckshot.​

Bum Fights for Fun and Profit.
Fighting isn't always the best idea in NEO Scavenger, in fact it's usually a pretty shitty idea. It damages your gear, it eats into your medical supplies, it could set you up with a whole host of infections or interesting diseases, or more likely than not you'll just wind up mangled beyond all recognition and be staring at the New Game screen. Unless you can guarantee that you'll get the jump on someone, it's better to just fuck off and live to huff spraypaint another day. Even better, though, is tricking everyone into beating the crap out of each other so you can swoop in at the 59th minute of the 11th hour, pitch a single rock at whoever survived, and load your grid down with so much loot that even your crackhead chariot can't hold even half of it.​
Enemies tend to follow tracks, but aren't particularly clever about it. Stay hidden, double-back across your own tracks and cover the ones you don't want them to find, and without too much hassle you can pit one group of addicts against another group of paint-huffers and then just sit back and watch the (one or two remaining) teeth fly. If you've taken Ranged to make use of the extra 10 'tiles' of range on the sling, have fun pelting idiots with rocks and running away while they succumb to the long-range retardation you're donating to their surprised faces.​

Modding made easy.
Seriously, there's only two worth caring about and so far as I know, they're not even compatible with each other. You can go with either Extended NeoScav or Mighty (mini) Mod of Doom. They both expand the base content of the game to add new gear, encounters, and dialog, but they're not capable of stacking with each other so just pick whichever one you think suits you the best. Personally, I just prefer Extended NeoScav because I think the sprite work and overall feel of the mod blends in much better to the base experience than M(m)MD, to the point where it can be genuinely difficult to tell which parts are actually modded and which parts are just part of the base game.​
Strangely enough, the clown mask is not actually a mod.​
 

ShitlordroltihS

Fuckhead
kiwifarms.net
Seems like id enjoy this game more if it was a mobile game. It feels like the kind of game id play while taking a massive shit.
 

Deepthoughts

kiwifarms.net
Its a fun game, but can be down right infuriating at times. Luck plays a big part. But knowing wtf you're doing helps so much.
 

Toxinophile

"Too dumb to live, too scared to die"
kiwifarms.net
Oh god dude I used to play this game all the time back when I was obsessed with zombie survival games. The unique gameplay of being a dirty homeless man bummin' out in the wild is what really sells the game. For a survival game back then and even nowadays it's quite unique in design. I personally appreciate the turn based gameplay and the more methodical approach to survival and combat. Too many survival games get caught up into being another DayZ clone, Looter Shooter, or Minecraft-ripoff with extra hunger bars.
Seems like id enjoy this game more if it was a mobile game. It feels like the kind of game id play while taking a massive shit.
Good news and bad news, there is a mobile port of the game + demo on android. Bad news is that it's a straight 1:1 port of the game and unless you got tiny fingers you're gonna fight with the GUI a lot.
 
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murdered meat bag

kiwifarms.net
i bought this during beta, played for a few months and then forgot about it. is ther emore than the trash city up north? it's a isometric hexagonal rpg with a lot of dice rolls. i remember fighting bad guys is impossible.
 

It's HK-47

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i bought this during beta, played for a few months and then forgot about it. is ther emore than the trash city up north? it's a isometric hexagonal rpg with a lot of dice rolls. i remember fighting bad guys is impossible.
I don't know anything about the beta, and I'd imagine that it's expanded a decent bit since then, but NEO Scavenger doesn't exactly have a massive world to explore. There's a few locations dotted around, but for the most part it's Detroit Megacity and then a couple of dots that are basically just story missions.

As for the combat, you were probably just going at it all wrong. You almost never want to rush in and just mash attack, you really need to pay attention to what the enemy is, what they're using, what status effects and perks they have, and from there it's more about creating/waiting for an opening than it is repeatedly mashing on the attack button and hoping for the best.

For example, if the combat screen's popped up and you have Strong/Tough/Melee, the enemy's seen you, and they're within 2-6 tiles, most times it's best to just keep making small retreats and advances to see if you can get a Create Obstacle prompt, or to use Parry and Dodge until you've given the NPC a "vulnerable" state. Once an NPC is vulnerable, you're pretty much guaranteed a free hit, and if your first hit smacks them hard enough, you just knock them down or even unconscious, and every hit after that is basically a 100% chance.

It has kind of an awkward learning curve, but once you get your head around how the combat system works, most fights won't take more than a minute or so, and ideally won't result in taking a single hit, even if you're very melee intensive. NEO's more about being very selective of who you fight, when you fight them, and how you fight them than anything else, though. Combat's really something that's just best to avoid whenever possible.
 

ThickBroly

kiwifarms.net
wish he would've expanded upon the world of neo scavenger more instead of whatever unfinished mess Ostranauts is. Never played else anything quite like it since. I've only experienced small features; like similar combat in A Legionary's Life, or similar worldscapes (without graphics) in shitty little hellmuds that i could only stand for about 5 seconds.
 

ShitlordroltihS

Fuckhead
kiwifarms.net
Oh god dude I used to play this game all the time back when I was obsessed with zombie survival games. The unique gameplay of being a dirty homeless man bummin' out in the wild is what really sells the game. For a survival game back then and even nowadays it's quite unique in design. I personally appreciate the turn based gameplay and the more methodical approach to survival and combat. Too many survival games get caught up into being another DayZ clone, Looter Shooter, or Minecraft-ripoff with extra hunger bars.

Good news and bad news, there is a mobile port of the game + demo on android. Bad news is that it's a straight 1:1 port of the game and unless you got tiny fingers you're gonna fight with the GUI a lot.
Sounds like a good challenge
 

It's HK-47

Meatbag's Bounty of Bodies
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True & Honest Fan
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It looks like it could be fun but I can't seem to get into it. Keep dying of hypothermia and not making any progress.
Yeah, you need to basically hit the ground running as soon as you get out of the cryo-facility, and start raiding every single apartment and cabin you can find for clothing. Generally the best bet is to zip up to the North a bit and look for Zom-Zom's, since it's surrounded by a few structures. Like I said, though, how the game opens determines how successful your run is going to be, and the RNG can be brutally unfair most of the time. I'd say a solid 50% of the time I'll have runs die out in the opening few days because it just refused to give me any clothing.
 

It's HK-47

Meatbag's Bounty of Bodies
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True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Yeah having that issue. Thought maybe I could craft the wolf man at the beginning into rags but apparently I don't have enough turns to craft it or something. I'll give that go north a try.
In order to craft that cloak you need to also have Trapping, so at the very start of the game, in order to kill the werewolf and be able to make a cloak out of it, you'd need Strong, Melee, and Trapping. Off the top of my head I can't remember how many points that costs, but if you just drag the corpse, any sharp object like a multitool or a shard of glass, and then the Trapping skill into the crafting window, you'll make a cloak out of his skin and have a much easier time not freezing to death in the first 10 seconds of the game.
 

Toxinophile

"Too dumb to live, too scared to die"
kiwifarms.net
Started a quick run for old time's sake. I efficiently scavenge and murder my way up north with my bow in one hand and sling in the other. Meticulously managing my inventory and supplies. Camp in the woods and rest up for the next day. seemed like everything was going smoothly for day 1.

Day 2 I wake up, do some chores, then get fucking ambushed by a cannibal with a pointy stick. get stabbed in the chest and die from acute bleeding in the lungs.

Ah. it feels just like 2015 all over again.

Also
Don't shirk the sling.
It may be a dumpy or pointless weapon in just about any other game ever made, but David swears by it and a sling is one of the easiest things to craft in this game and rocks are literally all over the place. I've had entire playthroughs before where I've literally not bothered to pick up things like shotguns and hunting rifles purely because the sling was so much easier to maintain and keep stocked on ammo. A character with Ranged and Hide skill can almost always absolutely destroy an enemy before they get anywhere near them just by pitching rocks with their sling.

I'd like to add that while the sling is amazing for your lone feral dog or looter, Guns and bows are still necessary to 100% take down tougher foes, especially on the fairly consistent chance they decide to gang up on you. Bad Muthas and the like are really good at closing the striking distance between them and your precious, sensitive tuckus. That problem is not helped by the fact that you can only focus on one enemy at a time, so your probability of getting flanked and shanked in a prolonged fight is guaranteed . Guns and bows have double the range of slings and such so you undoubtedly need them if you want/have to fight a pack of cannibals/cultists/dogmen at a safe distance. You need every advantage you can get while in combat as even with guns its very easy to get caught into a fight, make the wrong move, and get stun locked into an early demise.

Ultimately your primary objective in combat is to not get hit, as injury can spiral into a fatal infection, even minor pain can leave you in a weakened state and vulnerable to another attack you aren't prepared for.
 

RadicalCentrist

kiwifarms.net
There's a guaranteed event in the first few days where you find a sleeping bag in an old car that's meant to lessen the "No clothes, freeze to death" early game jank. Most of my early deaths are thirst/combat related.
 

kidney

Ethnically Rhodesian
kiwifarms.net
This brings back a lot of memories. I remember beating this game a few years ago. Probably one of the best games I've played.

If you pick the melee (I think ranged aswell?) skill at the start of the game you can craft an item called a broad spear, which is one of the best weapons in the game as soon as you spawn. Just get 2 shards, rags and a large tree branch. It's ridiculously overpowered.
 

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