In recent years there has literally been an explosion of the survival genre, mainly due to the enormous success achieved by Minecraft, which has led many software houses to develop more and more games focused on this genre to try to replicate the masterpiece created by the Mojang boys. Among the many similar games released in this generation - who succeeded better and who did not -, this time the boys of Team17, already well known thanks to their hilarious flagship series The Escapists. With their new title "The Survivalists"Try to break through the survival games with a title that remains faithful to the stylistic features of the genre to which it belongs, but still trying to give their imprint to the game, with their classic design in pixel art and adding new interesting mechanics that manage to completely upset the gameplay. We tested the title in preview on Nintendo Switch and in this review we will give you our opinion on The Survivalists, which will be released for the public tomorrow 9 October also on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 e PC.
Shipwreck is sweet to me in this sea
Right from the start of the game, the protagonist will find himself missing on the shores of an unknown island, with only a few resources recoverable from his destroyed raft and a map. From this moment on the whole adventure will lie in the hands of the player, who after having custom your own character by choosing the sex, the color of the hair and the clothes, he will be able to decide whether to start the exploration of the unknown place immediately, risking to leave the skin and lose all the progress obtained after a clash with the natives, or perhaps opt for a more reasoned plan ed erect a small camp, to be able to better prepare by creating as many objects as possible thanks to the Creation mode or to Projects mode.
By pressing a simple button, in fact, you can access the crafting menu that allows our castaway to build a small number of basic items, such as ropes, small tools, bowls, wooden sleeves and so on. These tools, in addition to allowing survival in the first hours of the game, will also be fundamental for the Projects mode, which allows the construction of more complex structures using collectible materials in nature, such as wood or stones, combined with the aforementioned tools available in the Crafting menu. The facilities available at the beginning will be quite few - in fact, you will start with the only possibility of build a bed of leaves, which allows you to sleep and save the game - but as the adventure continues, all types of projects available will quickly begin to unlock, ranging from floors and walls in wood or stone, to small bonfires, up to work benches which in turn allow the creation of advanced tools and tools, such as picks, hatchets, shovels and so on, which are able to optimize exploration.
Also in the bonfires it will be possible cooking recipes unlockable as you acquire more valuable pieces of meat, obtainable by hunting more rare or dangerous animals, or create fruit salads or smoothies, which will allow you to recover life and stamina. The creation of the objects, contrary to what happens for example on the aforementioned Minecraft, will not be instantaneous, as once the tool or recipe to be created has been selected, the fundamental must be selected Handyman Tool and then wait for our character to build or cook, undermining the fluidity of the gameplay that will stop each time to wait for the completion of our project.
The Survivalists, like the other Team17 productions, has a very pleasant graphic style, characterized by an excellent one pixel art which is the perfect setting for the duration of our adventure on the remote island. Every object and every icon have been taken care of in all the smallest details and every tool is recognizable from the first glance. However, the title has one isometric camera that cannot be directed, and this makes exploration difficult when passing through small crevices in the forests, which very often end up having to go back because we have come across a dead end hidden by the treetops.
An archipelago to discover
Once we have prepared ourselves properly, we can set out on our adventure into the unknown, exploring far and wide the archipelago in which we ended up in spite of ourselves. In giant game map, which will be procedurally created as the player progresses in the exploration, will be present many different biomes, such as the beach, the forest, volcanic regions and swamps, in which it will be possible to find different types of collectibles and discover new types of flora and fauna, and through the menu we can also place various tokens to remind us to visit a certain area or set a point of interest. Wandering around the island you can also come across talking totems, which through a barter will be able to provide us with useful items or even chests, or in camps of indigenous people that they will not think too much about it before going on the attack to drive us out of their area.
The most interesting aspect of the island, however, are the many caverns and labyrinths scattered throughout the map, inside which there are dangerous traps, enigmas, but above all treasures. In these underground dungeons we will be faced with very complicated challenges, in which we will often clash with some very strong indigenous people who have occupied them or even monsters and supernatural creatures, such as living skeletons or goblins. Once we reach the end of the cave, however, we will be lavishly rewarded with many treasures containing doubloons and rare items, which are sure to please adventurers. These battles put a strain on even the most skilled of players, who if not provided with the appropriate materials will find themselves surrounded by enemies, so we advise you to prepare yourself properly before going down into one of these labyrinths.
Finally it will also be possible to meet one mysterious stranger, who travels between the islands collecting items here and there, with which we can buy and sell goods in exchange for doubloons. On our first contact with the merchant we will be asked to complete a mission, which often results in bringing him materials to craft, and once our duty is completed the stranger will reward us with a free item and the ability to buy items for sale. Among these, we can also find treasure maps, which will show us a slide of where the chest is hidden and once we can figure out where it is hidden we can recover its contents. The real problem with exploration though is inventory, which with only 11 slots turns out to be particularly small and unless we would like to carry a treasure chest on our shoulders together, we will often find ourselves having to leave some less useful resources to make room for rarer items.
In The Survivalists it will also be possible to play in multiplayer with three other people online, who we will be able to host on our island to be able to go all together to explore our archipelago. If, on the other hand, we intend to travel to the other islands, we can also choose five of our monkeys, which we will talk about shortly, to bring together for the adventure, as well as use a particular unlockable basket in our single adventure. player in which we will be able to place all the tools that could be useful in our online games, which will also be transported to the islands of the other players.
When you get the monkey
The most interesting aspect of The Survivalists are certainly the monkeys, present around the entire game map and which can be recruited by giving them the tool they require, and once delivered we will find ourselves with a new quadrumane friend who will accompany us on our adventure. Monkeys can imitate all movements and actions of the player thanks to the Monkey Imitation mode, accessible with the push of a button, and once we show you a particular action, the chosen animal will study our movements and imitate us. Thanks to this mode the monkeys will prove to be the most useful component of the game, as they will be able to perform many tasks for us such as crafting items, retrieving materials or fighting with enemies.
Once a monkey accomplishes its task several times it will start specialize in a certain role, increasing his specific ability. In this way, by increasing its skill in a task, the animal will be much more efficient and the task will be done faster. Our quadrumani friends can also be customized using the appropriate tab in the menu, in which we can choose the color of the hair and also give them a name. This peculiarity of The Survivalists makes it unique compared to many other games of this genre, allowing you to recover materials and create many objects in the background, dramatically increasing the possibilities of exploring the island and expanding your base. Unfortunately at first glance the commands to manage the animals are not at all intuitive, and it will take a few hours of gameplay before you learn how to make the most of this simian resource.