A new survival game from Team17 has made its way to PS4 and other major platforms this week with the release of The Survivalists, a single player or co op (up to 4 people) game set around surviving and escaping a group of mysterious islands you find yourself upon after being washed ashore what mysteries await? and how will you get home? survive and find out.
As mentioned above the whole story of The Survivalists is to survive and find out how to get home using the islands bountiful resources to build a home, craft weapons and eat. For the most part there is very little to the story for the first few hours, chances are you will be gathering materials for a bed or a campfire. Unless you find some of the games lore chances are you won’t see any dialog to tell you what’s happening, and that is due to the fact that you’re alone and seemingly landed on the islands unplanned. The lack of a clear cut way to escape ensuress the whole point is to find it yourself, sure there may be some small clues or hints here and there, but this story is your own and depends mostly on your own decisions.
Visually The Survivalists looks rather nice in my opinion, and while it clearly doesn’t use the most cutting edge visuals, I personally enjoyed my time with it. Its clear and the details are enough to recognize what I’m seeing at anytime, there are no frame rate drops and no issues with hitboxes. Overall the designs used in the game are hard to fault, unless you really only care about photo realistic titles, so I wouldn’t let the visuals dissuade you from this title.
The Survivalists soundtrack is much like the rest of the title, it does its job when it’s needed and it does it well. Unfortunately it’s just a little limited. While the sound effects are well timed and clear, the overall BGM seems to be lacking in variety. As harsh as that may sound, I personally don’t fault the music and sound effects as they do their job when they need to. Would more variety be nice? Yes, always. Is it something that’s going to be the difference between enjoying the game or not? No, no its not.
Game play is where the most enjoyment from the title stems as you wake on the shore of an island with nothing but a few basic resources on your damaged ship, and begin to craft items to make surviving a little easier. You’ll be unlocking new and improved items as you progress and gather rarer resources, or hunt and gather food ,all while surviving the dangers of the land and sea. All of this is a lot easier than I was expecting. Resources are plentiful and the cost of items is low, there was very little grind in both early and late game, more so thanks to one of the games key features – MONKEYS!! You can gather these little helpers with ease and its highly useful to do so as, quite simply, they’re overpowered and readily available. These little friends can craft items, they can cook, they can fight and they improve the more they do, to the point where they can easily out damage you very quickly. As your monkey army grows you will find things go a lot faster and foes are vanquished before you even have a chance to get a shot off yourself. To be honest by the time I made it to a labyrinth (a key area to explore in order to escape the islands) I was steamrolling every foe in sight and my little furry friends were still gaining levels in combat!
The only issue I have with the monkeys is the give item button is the same as the pick up button. This isn’t too bad when you have one or two of the little chaps, but once you have 4 or more I found myself giving away my sword or bow as I attempted to pick up berries. It quickly became annoying as it continued to happen, despite this I continued to employ my little friends as they really do save time and do things better than is possible for our character
I mentioned previously labyrinths. These and vaults act as dungeons in the game and are key locations to explore to gather treasure and other useful items. Without going into too much detail, exploring these are one of your key goals in the game and will offer more of a challenge for newer adventurers, or people that decide against having a monkey army. Inside you will indeed find treasure, but you will also have to fend off bats, orks, skelingtons and even tackle a puzzle or two – making them possibly the most rewarding part of The Survivalists.
From the start of the game it can be a little overwhelming and combat will see you flee more than fight, however with a little planning your base and equipment should improve quickly. To make things even easier you can play with up to 3 friends! There really is strength in numbers when it comes to this title as items will gathered faster and combat will go a lot smoother, especially if you use one of your friends as a decoy.
Overall my time with The Survivalists hasn’t come to an end, yet I still very much intend to continue playing. i’d simply recommend it to each and every one of my friends as something simply just fun to play. it’s not going to be a huge time sink or challenge, but an enjoyable title to play with friends or alone.
The lack of a clear cut story keeps you guessing and imagining what is to come and how things will play out as you progress, and you don’t have to grind for hours just to build a wall or a forge. I have to say some may find it overly simple, but the removal of the grind and simple nature of the key elements in the title are what make it enjoyable – progress doesn’t feel taxing and goes at a good pace
Gather some friends and feel like Tom Hanks in Cast Away, only with added monkeys & skeletons.