Genre: Action, Adventure, Indie, RPG, Simulation,Strategy
Developer: Bob the Game Development Bot
Publisher: Ginormocorp Holdings Ltd
Release Date: Jan 30, 2015
Platform: PC / Windows 7
Overall rating: 5/10
Level/Puzzle Design: 7/10
Replay Value: 6/10
First of all I want to say… this game was just not for me, and so to people who know my likes well and have similar tastes, I would not recommend it. However, I can appreciate that although it may not be for me, it is actually a fairly good game and people who don’t have the same miffs with it that I do might really enjoy it (and actually have).
That said, let’s get on with the review.
Joe Wheeler, a self-centered businessman, leaves the safety of his bunker in search for food just about a year after the zombie apocalypse. The game is actually pretty run-of-the-mill post apocalyptic survival game, you have to scavenge, avoid looters, kill/escape zombies, build your own place in the world and overall just survive.
The graphics are pretty good, not 3D masterpieces but I rather like the look of them; the game runs perfectly on older computers and the sounds and music are pretty alright as well.
The game has lots of potential, and for being a one-man job, it’s really an amazing accomplishment on the developer’s part.
The world seems to be quite large, the quests, although rather typical, are alright; the quest givers do remember your actions and any misstep will have consequences. You can go to war with factions, recruit people to your side, etc. You can use diplomacy, buy, sell, trade…
The characters do seem to have some form of distinct personalities, and they are flawed in them. I really loved the touch of one of them having diabetes, it brought realism to the story. That there is a limited supply of insulin you must find/trade for also made it more realistic. But it also has the downside of making you feel truly rushed…
You can split your party and give everyone commands. You can build things and plant crops.
It has a fatigue system so you can’t just run forever, and I rather like that they added a needed sleep schedule to the hunger/thirst part of surviving.
People can actually leave your party/settlement/faction when they don’t like you anymore.
You can save at any time during the game, something that always wins my heart.
The default controls are super uncomfortable to me. Having to click F1 for the inventory is a stretch, using the middle button (mouse wheel button) to skip text is super uncomfortable. Entering a building is done through clicking with the mouse, but so is talking, and the menu for talking pops up as soon as someone is next to you, so sometimes the characters would stand right next to me when I was trying to enter a building which ended up in me talking to them when I didn’t want to.
Overall it was a pain to do half the things I had to do.
The characters who didn’t have a high shooting skill couldn’t shoot straight worth a damn. I get it this was probably going for realism, even Joe outright admits that he’s a bad shot. But there’s a bad shot, and there’s I-can’t-hit-a-target-even-when-it’s-on-me. The zombies were just way too fast and the aiming did not work quite as well when you had to be moving around all the time to avoid them jumping you from far too far. I found 0 melee weapons on the time I played (I honestly don’t know if there’s any), which admittedly wasn’t much. It was disturbing. I’d expect you’d find a baseball bat to smash a zombie’s head with before you’d find a gun…Then again I suppose since it’s a year later most people would be carrying guns… all the same, a backup melee weapon would have been nice to find.
The game’s inventory is handled by a weight system, which is alright. However, it feels like you can’t really accomplish anything because everything you find to carry weighs too much and you end up having to make some very tough choices. This could be fine if you like a hard challenge, I’d rather get a bit more time to enjoy the game while surviving…
Resource hunting is mind numbingly boring. Just getting the things to start building a fence took forever. Even with a backpack, because of the weight issue, the character can only bring one or two pieces of wood at a time. While realistic, this was also terribly frustrating – It takes longer to bring a piece of wood back to the shelter than it takes my characters to start getting hungry and sleepy and thirsty.
The need for food/sleep/water/insulin seems too pressing. Again, good if you’re playing say, hard mode, but it doesn’t let you (or at least, wasn’t letting me) enjoy the game. I wasn’t even done figuring out a quest, and already they were starving. (Ok, not starving-starving, but already quite hungry).
The AI seemed clunky when you left your guys alone. I left one doing the supply runs for wood so I could start building up something, he was attacked and bitten because I wasn’t there to press space when he got jumped. Had to restart because I was unable to get the needed antigen and I was fairly sure I couldn’t lose my only builder so far.
All in all, while I loved the general premise and style of Survivalist, I couldn’t bring myself to fully enjoy the game as I felt rushed to get through it, and annoyed with the controls; yet I can see lots of potential in it. I was pretty split on recommending this game or not. In the end I’m going with a tentative “no” because tome the cons are a bit more annoying than the pros. Still, I can admit it’s not a bad game.
So, if you like a challenge in your survival games, then I would definitely recommend Survivalist to you. For the price it can be a great game. If you were expecting something a little more relaxed, I wouldn’t recommend it.
There is word that there might be a multiplayer mode added, and I’m looking forward to see if it makes it any easier on the players by teaming up.