Fighting climate change is a global emergency. As the planet gets warmer, sea levels will rise, and food yields will dramatically decrease. To raise awareness about this issue, veteran developer William Volk has released The Climate Trail, a free downloadable game exploring the long-term consequences of climate change.
The Climate Trail got its inspiration from The Full Life by Paolo Bacigalupi, a short story about a girl living in post-climate disaster Miami. In his developer blog, Volk says,” I want to create an emotional impact, weave in science information, and make a game that makes a difference.”
The Climate Trail begins in a post-apocalyptic shanty town in Atlanta. A climate scientist explains greenhouse emissions, how the world burned to climate change, how billions perished to disease unleashed by melting permafrost, and how refugees survive in the post-apocalypse. She warns that the wet-bulb temperature in Atlanta is rising. Soon, the outside temperature will be fatal to a healthy person standing in the shade. There’s only one option, you must load up your bikes and flee to Canada.
At the beginning of your quest, you spend seeds on water and food. After setting rations, you hit the road on a preordained trail and roll encounters with fire tornadoes and heatwaves. For each, you must decide whether to wait or push through the obstacle. Reaching a city allows you to forage for supplies, change rations, or rest.
The Climate Trail, its developer blogs, and the science behind the dialogue are available for free via TheClimateTrail.com
Quick TakeThe Climate Trail follows a long line of social awareness games but lacks the fun factor of similar titles. The exposition is heavy, to the point of the scientist explaining the meaning behind her name. The gameplay is extremely thin and not as interesting as 3rd World Farmer or even Spent. Further, The Climate Trail has a plague of technical problems. It has no full-screen option, text coloring doesn't match, and even the developer-uploaded screenshots have noticeable resolution problems and text-placement errors. The Climate Trail feels unfinished, even as a single developer game.
What do you think about The Climate Trail? Will it be effective at raising awareness about climate change and climate disaster?