After playing “The Survivalists” on the Switch, I think Team 17 created yet another great game with lots of fun to be had which you can indulge yourself for hours. From what I played, though, it didn’t feel polished enough for release and that may be due to our current situation with the pandemic.
Since the release of The Survivalists on PC, Team17 has been delivering on many appreciated fixes and changes that have yet to arrive on the Switch. I will tell you what will be changed as we go but keep in mind that this review will soon be from an outdated version of the game. Many features of the game will change with future updates.
A rather classic starting point in another survival adventure for me, you wake up at the beach with nothing but a broken raft with just enough supplies for your first few days. As a big fan of the franchise “Lost in Blue,” I had a good nostalgic feeling because of all the hours I spent playing it on my Nintendo DS a long time ago.
The survival aspect isn’t really that hard, like at all. And even if you do happen to pass out there won’t be any penalty. If you are a fan of “Don’t Starve” for example you can still enjoy this game but don’t expect a similar experience.
The usual basics to survive is gather food, wood and stone. Maybe craft something new with what you got, hunt for treasures by killing some mean orcs and steal their doubloons and at the end of the day you can sleep for the night and save your game. And then repeat it all over again. I had fun with this simple routine but with so little to do you might get bored faster than expected.
In this early version, monkeys are scattered around the world and they are there only to help you so befriend them and order them to craft or build stuff all day long. They will do basic labor for you if you teach them however I highly recommend playing without them for a while until you are used to the basics. I will talk more about the monkeys later.
The game itself feels like it was rushed sadly, if you look at some of the structures like the pole where you just put a torch on top of it with a perfect balance is hilarious. The crafting recipes also didn’t feel well designed in their recipes and in their order, you should have been able to separate them by “types” such as tools, materials etc to have some idea of what you will unlock next but only a few work like that and the rest was at random.
And why do we need rope to cut wood to a wood plank?
When I started there were only a few basic crafts available. You have to craft a “hand axe” that is just a sharpened stone to start gathering more stone and wood. There aren’t many available so soon you will run out of things to build.
There is also a second crafting tree for blueprints, structures like the forge or walls can only be found here. You always need to craft these in a specific order so the next can be unlocked and look even if it is something seemingly useless for you at the moment, craft it if you can anyways and you may unlock something very useful in the end.
Unknown land comes with both unknown friends and foes! There are plenty of creatures out there in both land and sea that want to eat you but if you want to survive you need to learn how to hunt them for both food and materials.
Aside from the orcs and animals around you there is also periodic raids in the game. A raid will occur and a group of nasty orcs come after you destroying everything until you kill them so either fight back or craft walls and traps, craft as many as possible early on to protect your chests!
Out in the world there are huge structures called Labyrinths, a big and dark dungeon with the best loot in the game that will help you build a ship and escape. The labyrinths are infested with monsters so do not come here by yourself, bring a monkey army with you!
All monkeys aboard!
After I unlocked the raft in the blueprint tree the game felt a little bit bigger, the map felt broad enough too so you have much to explore. You should travel to another islands in search of gold and silver, plus any other treasures you can find along the way. Place a few chests on your raft so you get more storage on the go.
You might also find a mysterious merchant, he has good stuff to sell but what you really need are those keys to enter the labyrinths. You can sell and trade with him but he isn’t always around and never on the same spot so plan your visit ahead of time.
I wanted to talk about them on the side, like I said at the start of this review, what I will write here will soon be changed in future updates. Even so, I must write about my experience with them regardless.
Handling the monkey is both a nightmare and a dream come true, after you get used to them that is.
Teaching them is the most frustrating thing, they won’t remember what you thought them before. You always have to tell them what to do by teaching them over and over if you need them on another task and even if they are attacked they won’t fight back. There is also an issue that after you close the game and load it back up your soldier monkeys will forgot their job, once again you have to teach them the same thing.
So at the start of your adventure like so soon as 3 or 4 days in the game you can have 5 or more monkeys to fight for you easily killing everything in your path. Or clearing an entire forest in less than a day and then gathering everything into your chest while you sleep on your bed. It’s not rewarding and doesn’t feel like you progressed at all since it’s just the monkeys doing everything so early on, without working enough for it.
Inventory management is another thing… because you just can’t have any. They will place your items all over at random inside your chests, doesn’t matter if they got closer chests from where they collected items on the ground.
Maybe if we could do this with the rocks as I did in that montage there with every chest in our base, it might improve greatly how efficient the monkeys work!
Despite every little bad thing I wrote in this review, I truly enjoyed playing “The Survivalists” and when the updates I saw being released on Steam do come over to the switch, I will love it so much more. Team17 have already fixed most of what I complained about in this review.
It is a good game but unfortunately it feels rushed and not polished enough at the moment, before you buy it on the Switch I recommend that you wait until more updates are released so you will have a much better experience with “The Survivalists” than I first had.
Thank you so much to the developers at Team17 for making this review possible.