In Afterlife, the player is appointed as Demiurge (deity) of a local planet. The inhabitants of this planet have a variety of belief systems regarding heaven and hell and it is the Demiurge's responsibility to fulfill their expectations about the Afterlife. To do so, two different planes of existence must be prepared for the arrival of the souls from the planet after they have met their mortal fate.
Preparation consists of constructing heaven and hell with buildings, portals, transportation systems and other structures capable of attracting and keeping souls in one of the two planes -- that is, until those that believe in reincarnation decide to return to the planet. To accomplish this, the wise Demiurge will monitor the belief systems on the planet and will zone heaven and hell to accommodate decedents. Zoning options consist of seven color-coded zones representing Rewards in heaven and Punishments in hell. Placing Gates will allow souls to enter heaven or hell and populate zoned areas.
The Demiurge receives "Pennies From Heaven" every time a soul enters which is the currency that must be spent to zone and build on either plane. Topias , which are cities in which Angels and Demons live and work, can be built on both planes. Training Centers will train souls to become Angels and Demons and the more of them working in the Topias will mean a savings of more Pennies used for commuting costs. Many structures depend on connecting roads to deliver souls to them; Banks and Ports can be built and other "bonus" structures will be awarded for different levels of accomplishment.
So far, Afterlife may sound like a "fantasy" version of SimCity and that's a fairly accurate way of describing it. The graphics are gorgeous and very colorful and building zones will grow and progress as more souls are attracted and more Pennies are collected. Unfortunately, my difficulty with Afterlife was with respect to trying to manage two separate planes at the same time. Think about the intense amount of effort that goes into building one successful SimCity and then double it. This is the amount of effort and strain that must be put into one game of Afterlife.
Not only must the player manage two separate planes but each one must be managed differently. For example, long roads and separated building zones work better in hell, while short roads and different zones next to each other are better in heaven. Add to that the fact that each of the seven zoning colors has one meaning in heaven and another in hell and the potential for serious confusion exists.
However, that does not necessarily make Afterlife a bad game. It simply has a learning curve that is a little too steep for my tastes. If you're considering this one, be aware that it will take some time and concentration to find out exactly what works in each realm and what does not and be ready to invest that time if you expect to become a successful Demiurge.
Graphics: Resolutions of up to 1024x768 are supported, so wonderful levels of graphic precision can be achieved. The buildings are colorful and fantastic-looking.
Sound: Sound effects accompany most actions and the all-digital soundtrack is appealing and mood-setting.
Enjoyment: If you can get a handle on the frenetic pace of game play, your enjoyment factor could be quite high.
Replay Value: Planes of heaven and hell are generated randomly, so each new game will present a new challenge. Since the player can influence the technology level of the planet and the inhabitants' strength in ten different belief systems, and because four different scenarios are also included, replay value is high.
Afterlife is is a humorous strategy game similar to SimCity where the afterlife is subject to market-based economy. The player has to make it work by managing heaven and hell simultaneously.
In both hell and heaven the player constructs zones which deal with one of the seven capital sins respectively the corresponding virtues. Through the gates new souls arrive regularly which were sinful or virtues in one specific aspect. These go to the appropriate zones to receive their gifts or punishment - but only if the player constructed a street system. If there is no place left they wander through hell/heaven which is of course bad for business. After some time they get sent back to the home planet. These souls are the source of the player's income.
Of course these facilities also need personnel. These can be either hired or trained by building special training facilities. There are also additional things the player has to keep in mind, e.g. the satisfaction of each soul and the energy supply. Every buildings has to be micro-managed by adjusting their settings but there is also the possibility to use a tool which does it automatically - for a price.
Random disasters like "Birds of Paradise" (excrement rain down on the facilities) break the economic circle and challenge the player to repair the damage. Besides the free playing mode there are also five scenarios where the player has to solve certain tasks.
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