Homelessness is becoming a modern epidemic in the UK with figures increasing annually. There were 8,108 rough sleepers in London alone last year which represents a 121% increase in the last decade. As the poverty gap widens there has also been an increase in the number of charities campaigning for change.
Indie studio Delve Interactive has taken it upon themselves to raise awareness within the gaming world. Change: A Homeless Survival Experience was released in September this year and is currently available on Steam.
Change is a survival game that puts players into the shoes of a homeless person.
Like most survival games, players must scavenge for food and find shelter to stay alive. Delve hopes to boost awareness of the nation’s homeless crisis and encourage players to view those less fortunate in a more empathetic light.
A percentage of the game’s sales will also go towards funding homeless charities to make a real difference in the world.
Change: A Homeless Survival Game
The game asks the audience a simple question, what would you do if you became homeless? From there, players are transported in the shoes of a character with the end goal of turning their life around.
The core elements of the game are managing your food, health and hygiene bars and collect enough currency to get off the streets. The in-game currency can mostly only be acquired by begging passersby for spare change. Most NPC’s will likely ignore your request whilst some will reward you with a meagre amount of money.
Once the player has gathered enough money they may visit a store to purchase food to survive another day. Alternatively, players can scour garbage cans for food waste that offers less nutritional value but are free of charge.
Your hygiene effects the way NPCs interact with you, more people will ignore you if you have poor hygiene. You will also be removed from sheltered locations quicker so it’s important to stay clean. Products like deodorant can be purchased to help that or the game offers less glamorous alternatives like public toilets.
There are also jobs available in the game but they will be impossible to acquire without good hygiene. With little money available elsewhere players have to make tough choices to balance the two stats.
Home Away From Home
The end goal of the game is to make enough money to rent an apartment so that you are no longer homeless. With that goal a long way off though players need to find shelter wherever they can to keep themselves alive.
There is always the option to sleep rough but this will be detrimental to the health bar. If your health reaches zero the game ends in your untimely demise. Homeless shelters are present as the best and safest way but they can only be used for limited times.
There are various other buildings available to take refuge from the cold such as public libraries. If your hygiene is poor or you upset the patrons within by doing things like begging though, you will be ejected from the building. There’s also a similar system for riding on the underground, with the objective of gaining as much change as possible before being ejected.
Skills can be learnt such as busking and animal companions can be befriended to boost your chances of gaining spare change. It’s a surprisingly detailed and well thought out survival simulator with the aim of creating real change.
The game is available for less than £10 on Steam right now and offers a good challenge for survival game fans. The randomly generated maps, weather and ‘rogue’ events make each playthrough different. It’s also good to know that profits from the game are going towards a good cause. So you can enjoy the game and make a change.