Preview: The Survivalists - That monkey is your friend

Published: 14:30, 28 January 2020
Key art for The Survivalists
The monkey eating the banana has the right idea.

The Survivalists, set in the same shared universe of the similarly titled Escapists series, sees Team17 transporting their co-operative adventure formula to a whole new location, with a unique spin that sees you constructing forts, exploring tombs, and recruiting monkeys.

For those of you familiar with their previous efforts, The Survivalists carries through a similar visual style, that de-emphasises an entirely pixel based look in favour of an almost cel shaded appearance. The animation looks basic but as charming as ever, and on the whole, there’s a clear through line that brings a pleasing consistency to this intriguing follow up.

Freed from the confines of a prisons harsh borders, the procedurally generated island opens up things significantly, as you gather natural resources, construct shelter, and fend off the indigenous population.

Wild animals must also be dealt with, but thankfully some can be tamed and even taught to do your bidding. While the game supports local and online play for up to four players, if you’re lacking a squad of human buddies, there’s always the monkeys! 

They can chop down trees, collect resources, and generally be super helpful, so long as there’s a banana or two in it for each of them. It’s a lovely idea, and one that leans in to the tongue in cheek humour that’s always been a part of these titles.

Team17 Co-operative harvesting for resources in The Survivalists Sure you can gather your squad... but there's also monkeys!

For example, when hunting a wild boar, you’ll see that upon its death, it splits itself into several “meat” icons for you to collect. Despite the savage nature of much of your actions, The Survivalists will very much continue to wink at the audience with subtle doses of knowing wit. 

There’s obviously a deliberate pace to something like this, and it will likely have more in common with something like Stardew Valley. The goal appears to be to let players roam at their own leisure, whilst ensuring there’s still a degree of urgency delivered through outside threats. 

While crafting and exploration are prominent aspects, you can also stumble upon more bespoke temples that contain valuable supplies and weaponry, adding an additional layer of risk reward to your travels. And with all of this available to experience co-operatively, there will be a lot to see and do.

Given that this a sandbox experience, there will likely be less of an emphasis on story based content. That being said, it’s entirely possible that there will be more to reveal down the line. 

The Survivalists is gearing up to be another strong effort from Team17, and we can’t wait to see what else they have in store.

Team17 Solo play in The Survivalists. A beach and a raft. This is the life.

The Survivalists launches in 2020, for PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC.

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