I’ve been a fan of survival games for a long time. There’s something satisfying about exploring, building and crafting whilst just trying to get by. I was quite excited to hear about Green Hell. A new survival game being released in which you have to survive in the Amazon Rainforest. Green Hell is released as an early access game on 29th August 2018.
When you buy into an early access game, you’re paying for an unfinished product. Mechanics are constantly changing, content is missing and more than anything, they contain bugs. We’ve encountered a very minuscule amount of those.
Right now, the game is lacking when it comes to a story. At the start, you are given a tutorial which is a brief introduction to the story that is to come in the future. You first arrive in the Amazon Rainforest with your partner Mia, who you mostly communicate to via Walkie-Talkie.
After a brief tutorial into the games mechanics, you wake up one morning to find that she has set off to meet one of the Amazon tribes. Until disaster strikes that is. That’s where the story abruptly ends. From there, you’re thrown into the survival mode with the small amount of knowledge gained from the tutorial.
The voice acting during the tutorial is actually quite impressive, and doesn’t feel forced at all. I really did want to continue and find out how the story concludes. Right now, there is no end goal for the survival mode and you might just find yourself constantly waiting for future updates.
Crafting is what you’d expect from most survival games. Combining items inside your backpack to make more items. A stick and a stone makes an axe for example. Although one thing I do appreciate is the different tiers of some resources. In most games, you chop down a tree and receive logs. Where as chopping trees in Green Hell provides you logs, long sticks, regular sticks and short sticks. Each used in their own unique recipes.
The inventory system is pretty interesting too. Instead of just laying everything out in a grid like interface, you have a functional backpack which certainly helps with realism. Ropes dangle from the front, sticks sit at the top, food items are contained together inside. Whilst they can be combined on the right to create tools and medicines.
One of my only gripes with crafting in Green Hell is not knowing actual recipes. It takes a lot of trial and error. For example, I was suffering with a worm in my arm, and the notebook suggests using a bone needle to get it out. I found a bone, collected some sticks but no combination whatsoever seemed to make the actual needle. I was missing a material somewhere. This is where game wikis will be very handy.
Whilst trying to make a bone needle to remove this parasite inside of me, I was attacked by a tribe member, whilst also having leeches sucking on my blood. This is all on easy mode by the way. Sadly my character died and I was forced to go back to a previous save. One thing that Green Hell is definitely lacking is a peaceful mode. A mode where you are free to explore without having to worry about hunger, thirst, disease and enemies.
Your character carries a notebook which you can constantly refer to. Inside are crafting recipes, medicines and structural items such as shelters and beds. Although the book is only updated when you have the resources in your backpack. Hence why I never had a recipe for the bone needle.
It’s well designed and a very useful resource in-game. It covers most of the health issues you may be facing and provides multiple solutions. Whether it be making bandages or eating various fruits. I find it quite difficult to grasp the idea that some things in the book can be crafted and some things can’t. I’ll find myself randomly clicking pictures to see if it does anything.
The building system can feel a little lacklustre, with only pre-built structures able to be created. In games such as Ark or The Forest, it’s possible to build your own base using foundations and wall. With you also having the ability to put your own furniture inside or make multi story houses. This isn’t something that is currently available in Green Hell, so don’t expect to build huge forts with solid defences. In most cases, you’re going to be sleeping under the stars and feeling pretty exposed.
Something to be admired is the game world. It’s hard to comprehend the current size of the map, as I’m constantly discovering new areas, some which are absolutely stunning to look at. I recently found a new area for my base, which is at the foot of a waterfall which can only be accessed by carefully walking across a fallen tree that sits over a huge drop. I feel safe there from the tribes and have a constant supply of water and fish (45’W, 32S if you’re after coordinates).
The forests are dense and feel alive. Walking around, you’ll see rats and other wildlife scurrying around. As you try to hunt them for their meat, an arrow will fly past your head. You’ll turn around and spot a tribe member covered in war paint firing at you from the distance. You can choose to charge at them or flee.
With this fantastic game world comes some strain on resources. Not everyone is going to have an enjoyable experience with the current optimisations. I have been playing on Medium settings to avoid frame drops and have a more smooth experience. This could just be a problem on my end though, and I’m sure we’ll see more improvements down the line.
There are a few things that I found slightly obnoxious. Walking round the forest becomes difficult when you are constantly looking out for snakes. There isn’t much warning, you could just walk over a bush and next thing you know, you have a bite mark. You’ll need to quickly find a cure or face death. There where a few sound bugs which may as well have given me a jump scare. With the volume set to 0 in the game options, the sound of animals still came through for some reason at what may as well have been full volume.
Right now, you’re locked into the games control scheme. There isn’t much choice in the settings menu at all for any options really. If you want to use a controller, you’re out of luck and if you want to change any controls, again you can’t.
Green Hell provides enough content to keep you going until more updates are added. It’s definitely a game I’m going to come back to in the future as it progresses through early access, especially if they add multiplayer support. The need to constantly cure yourself and inspect yourself may become a bit of an annoyance over time, depending on the player.