After the final confrontation with Orion, Scarlett finds herself separated from her friends and becomes the leader of a small group of survivors. Meanwhile, Bran has a strange new character who starts far away from Dallas. As alien spacecraft roam the skies, and new frightening creatures attack in the night, everyone must work together to defend themselves from this new threat.
Outside of the game, Scarlett and Bran are now going to the same college and live only minutes away from each other. They have been happy all summer, but their separation in the game is beginning to cause conflict between them in the real world.
The first expansion for Apocalypse 2020 - Look to the Skies introduces new survival mechanics, a base-building system, along with tons of new weapons, vehicles, enemies, and NPCs.
This is a LitRPG / Gamelit novel that blends storytelling with game mechanics. The events in this story immediately follow the first book, Apocalypse 2020: A Wasteland LitRPG, so reading that book is necessary to understand what is happening here.
My Opinion: 327 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full disclosure, I received advanced copy for review. I purchased it when it became available.
I know it’s hard to tell from the cover, but this is the sequel to the Apocalypse 2020 the Mad Max /Fallout inspired LitRPG story. It starts off almost immediately after the end of book 1.
There is a little bit of recap telling you what happens but fewer callbacks to individual characters and their relationships. This is definitely one of those series where you should probably read book 1 first. Even if you have, it might take a little while to remember who everyone is. Also remember that IRL the story takes place in the 1997. So lots of 90s references like X-Files or final fantasy 7 just being released.
The story takes place in a game world that just had their first expansion adding aliens, new player race selections, new player classes, survival game mechanics, base building mechanics, and of course tons of new quests to save the world.
I like the idea that each book is a new expansion to the game which causes an upheaval in the storyline. It’s a great justification to change things that may not be working in the story or just to add cool stuff to it. Heck there’s even a ‘game manual’ for the expansion at the end of the story that gives a ton of details about all the changes and additions.
In this novel, the two biggest game mechanic changes are the survival mechanics and the base building. Now characters have to satisfy needs like thirst, hunger, and discomfort and if they don’t, they start losing the health. So a good bit of the story ends up feeling more post apocalyptic now with characters having to scavenge or figure out ways to produce the stuff they need. Which of course leads to base building, which also takes up a good portion of the early story. It’s nice but I feel like more could have been done with it. Still it’s a nice tie in to the survival mechanics.
Storywise, the real life part is pretty simple but cute. It’s mostly relationship stuff between Bran and Scarlett. In game, the alien stuff is pretty neat. I don’t want to spoil anything but there are definite references to alien movies of the time.
My only tiny complaint, is that the story is told from multiple perspectives. Which isn’t my favorite narrative structure. It does allow for stories to be told from characters in different places and it’s a great way to see different perspectives of the same events. But, at the same time any big revelations need to be repeated for all the characters which can get repetitive.
Overall, I had a good time reading the story. There were enough changes to the story and game mechanics to make the novel feel fresh but familiar. The IRL storyline is cute, if simple. In game there some pretty good story surprises.
Score: 7 out of 10