Set in a familiar world, Mr. Prepper is mainly a craft game. Under the thumbs of an invasive and oppressive government agency, you build your own underground bunker and place everything you need to survive an imminent nuclear war there.
Early in the game, there is no clear statement as to whether the main character is a credible narrator. But the subtle tensions in the atmosphere, by themselves, convince you that all your actions, no matter how escalated, feel necessary.
First, perform a logical task. You collect vegetables, cook, eat, and collect trees from the forest to make furniture. You build a bunker to develop your crafting skills away from the prying eyes of the authorities.
When you meet new people, you do errands for them, learn new skills and develop relationships by dealing with them. This also opens up new areas where you can find new raw materials and barter to use.
I love connecting with others as a core element of this game. Building trust with other people who have been marginalized by the government creates a way for you to prosper as a community rather than struggle on your own. This brings a refreshing change to the greasy lone wolf metaphor that is common in many survival games, creating a sense of community importance.
Mr. Prepper requires patience and a lot of crushing. This structure means that it is not suitable for everyone. The action elements of the game are a bit clunky, but at least rare.
But as the bunker grows and is filled with increasingly interesting and complex technologies, it’s very rewarding to see the results of the labor rewarded. To avoid suffering from hunger and fatigue, the whole game is incredibly addictive when you put yourself in a steady routine of crafting, trading, and simply taking care of yourself.
Throughout your construction, you are being watched by government officials who make regular phone calls to your home. You have to put them in and stay home to effectively hide all evidence of suspicious activity before they arrive. This isn’t too difficult, as it’s easy to hide everything under the trapdoor under the rug, but it adds tension to the game.
It’s very easy to be drawn into Mr. Prepper, take on his anxieties and delusions, and want to keep him safe when a global threat is imminent. The world is fun to explore, natural resources make sense, and the connections you make are fascinating. The game pays a lot of attention, especially when balancing with the amount of shatter built into it. But if you lean on that structure, it becomes provocative in the depiction of survival.