A Tale of Survival is an ambitious survival and resource management game where you take control of a wild man in a pixelated wilderness full of trees to chop, animals to hunt and skin, weapons and bases to craft, and tasty natural foods to forage for.
It’s a mish-mash of Don’t Starve, Mine Craft and a few other popular games in the survival exploration genre.
When I first received this game 2 weeks ago, I was pretty excited by the screen shots as it’s exactly the kind of game I’ve been looking to play. It’s the kind of game that needs to be thoroughly experienced before it can be reviewed correctly, so that’s exactly what I did. And what disappointingly underwhelming and frustrating experience I had.
The game is completely busted by a cluster fuck of annoying bugs and bad interface choices which together make it a pretty lack luster experience to get into, especially for a paid game.
I dislike doing rage reviews, it’s really not my thing. I try to be fair, this is ‘Indie’ Game Buzz after all , we aren’t dealing with AAA content, so we must allow for some flexibility when critiquing such games as they don’t have the big budgets. Even so, I can’t overlook the core issues that plague this game. It’s feels like there was no real testing before release. It’s just not a finished product.
I kept coming back to this game with the hope that it will all miraculously be fixed, or perhaps ‘I was playing it wrong’. Alas, time and time again I hit the same resistance points.
Performance is one such point of resistance. Now I have seen some very pretty indie games that do a lot more and run smooth as silk on mobile. This game however seems to struggle with frame rate on even latest iOS devices. Really don’t know why, in the days of GPU accelerated content there is no reason to have such choppy 2D game experiences. I’m suspecting it’s to do with some dodgy game framework running behind the scenes, that and a likely combination of bad optimization / lazy coding.
Some of the bugs and issues I came across:
- Weapons not changing when selected.
- Weapons randomly changing to another weapon when you attempt to swing them.
- Interface feels clunky and unresponsive, especially when playing on phones.
- No way to clear items out of your tool bar. Once you drag an item into a slot, it remains there until it’s exhausted or until you replace it with something else.
- When attacking enemies you need to be almost perfectly aligned or your Attacks don’t register, however the enemies can kill you just fine.
- The game needs some sort of coordinate system as it’s way to easy to get lost and lose any structures you built, which really demotivates you from building anything.
- I built a wooden fence perimeter around a plot of land I though I could call home. Any time I left the area and came back there was a missing slot in my fence and a bat inside. Did the bat eat the fence? I thought the fence is supposed to keep animals out?
This happened time and time again with no real explanation or logic. The most frustrating part of this was that when this happens it seems you cannot repair the fence. So you might as well abandon it and consider the time you spent wasted. The lesson learnt here is, don’t build fences (which essentially leads to ‘don’t play this game’).
By far the biggest game breaking issues was the lack of a particular resource, coal to be specific.
This game has a myriad of impressive weapons, armors and equipment you can craft. You are teased with gold armor chest plates, green ademite battle helms… But you see, coal is the key material required to smelt the high end materials. Gold is abundant, so why the hell is crappy worthless coal so rare!? Actually rare is the wrong word, coal down right does not exist in this game. So basically there is no real progression system as 80% of the items cannot be crafted without coal. Pisses me the fuck off, you know why? Because I actually WANT to play this game properly. I love the concept and general execution. This game dangles the carrot in front of your face and doesn’t deliver on it’s promise.
It’s a damn shame because this game could be great. It could be a hit.
But in it’s current state, it’s not a game I could recommend.
The game has had a dozen updates, and still the problems persist.
Sigh.. I really hope they manage to slowly fix this game, because it has real potential.
I wish the developer luck.