How to Survive

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How to Survive review
Sergio Brinkhuis

Review

A thinking-man's zombie basher

Survival of the best equipped (cont.)


How to Survive’s skill tree has some items that can buff up your chances to stay alive, though. Some skills simply reduce the rate at which the sleep, water and food gauges decrease, others give you the ability to craft new items. It’s all a little plain but it works.

A port is a port of course


As with most ports, the usual suspects have come around to pay their disrespects. The game suffers from a particularly unintuitive interface, as well as controls that should have the devs’ cheeks burning from embarrassment. I eventually figured out how to level up and how to reach my inventory but these turned out to be drops in a sea of issues.

Walking is done with the WASD keys, which works but leaves you to attack with your mouse. The mouse cursor feels a little floaty and has you wondering at times if it is actually connected to your weapon. If it weren’t for the fact that the targetable area is in most cases much bigger than your actual target, you’d be missing more often than not. It adds a somewhat surreal feel to the overall experience and you’d expect that feel to make things worse, but as the game doesn’t take itself too seriously in the first place, it actually works out for the better. Odd, I know, but if you ever played Surgeon Simulator 2013, you know exactly what I mean. Running and steering is done using the keyboard, but try as I might, I was unable to do both these at the same time. On the first island, the game insisted on me changing my weapon continuously, and the rare times it wasn’t, it cluttered up my screen telling me about my objectives.

Survival guide author Kovac is voiced by a decent enough actor, but he is one of the few in a game where everyone else suffers from fake-hoarseness and over-acting. Again, the game doesn’t take itself too seriously and you’re there for bashing, not talking, so in the grand scheme of things it isn’t too big an issue. What is an issue, however, is the checkpoint save system. It has no place on a PC, never has, never will, and it should be considered a cardinal sin in PC game development.

Therapeutic indeed


My initially negative impression started to melt away when I reached the second island. I don’t blame myself too much for that, as the game’s presentation at that stage is kind of bland and uninviting and especially its God-awful music needed switching off immediately.

But sticking around a little longer, I started to appreciate what the game was trying to achieve; combining the therapeutic fun of slaying zombies with requiring players to apply their brain and look for ways to survive tomorrow as well as today. If you only ever live in the moment, you will end up tired, thirsty, hungry and ill-equipped and thus ineffectual.

7.2

fun score

Pros

Gameplay deepens considerably once you’re past the first island.

Cons

Unappealing at first, obvious port.