The Escapists is a darling indie game, offering players tons of hours of crafting and experimenting with the game’s various mechanics. The sequel improved on almost every mechanic that the original had, making it a must-play for fans of crafting games. Team17 is now moving away from prison cells and brings players to their own deserted island. The Survivalists takes the humor and mechanics that made The Escapists games so special and twists the formula a bit.
The departure from prisons leads to a much more unique experience. Rather than just trying to escape from the deserted island, players will be more focused on thriving. Players will need to manage health, hunger, and other challenges as they build shelter, tools, and weapons. Players will encounter various enemies, but they will also run into monkeys ready to do their bidding. There is a lot to find and discover in The Survivalists, making it a dream for players who like to experiment.
As players collect supplies and craft tools, new crafting blueprints will become available to them. Creating one thing will almost always lead to something new becoming available to the player. The next item available is always hidden, so there is always a sense of surprise and discovery. Of course, this can also be frustrating if players are looking for a specific item. Those who want a clear objective might be frustrated sometimes while playing Survivalists because of how vague, yet open all of its mechanics are.
Eventually, players will have access to monkeys willing to make life on the island easier. Collecting resources can feel like a chore pretty quickly in Survivalists, so the monkeys can be tasked to work for the player. The monkey squad makes Survivalists a much better experience from a quality of life perspective, but that’s about it. The reality is that all of these mechanics should be entertaining. Instead, they feel like a chore, and getting automation is satisfying, but for the wrong reasons. It’s not a bad experience, but it feels like most of The Survivalists mechanics just aren’t fun enough.
Still, outside of the monotonous tasks, The Survivalists is still a great time. As mentioned before the sense of discovery is special. Whether it’s finding an exciting item to craft or just exploring all that the island has to offer, The Survivalists always has something new to do. PLayers willing to look around will be rewarded greatly. Of course, they can also be punished by some brutal enemies that are out to end the player’s time on the island.
Combat is simple enough. Players will slash and dodge around the island. It’s a game of timing and skill, and mostly feels rewarding. Those who especially enjoy fighting will find tons of enjoyment in the game’s various dungeons. Players who aren’t great at combat can get a small army of monkeys to fight for them.
The Survivalists shines as a multiplayer game. Players can work together to build a thriving society on their island. It’s a fun, social experience that really elevates the game. Unfortunately, there is no local coop, so players will need to find friends online to enjoy the best that The Survivalists has to offer.
The Survivalists isn’t really a difficult experience. There are plenty of resources, enemies aren’t unfair, and players can save often. Rather than being a difficult game, The Survivalists is just a frustrating one. It feels like it should be so much more than it is. The Escapists is a hard game to follow up on, and unfortunately, this game just doesn’t reach the heights that its predecessors do.
Despite the little frustrating moments, The Survivalists still has the charm and aesthetics that make the series special. The 2D graphics look fantastic, with bright colors filling the screen. Building a small kingdom is satisfying, and looks great if the player is creative and likes to plan things out. The art style and perspective does prevent the player from seeing some things, though. Large structures will often hide items and pathways, forcing players to guess what’s behind them. It’s another frustrating aspect that holds The Survivalists back from being everything that it should be.
Despite its shortcomings, The Survivalists is still a good time. Those who are wanting a difficult and compelling survival game will be disappointed though. If players can find a few friends and are willing to get over the little things, this is another fun experience by Team17.
If players can find a few friends and are willing to get over the little things, this is another fun experience by Team17.