It is not a surprise to anyone that there has been a huge wave of survival games coming out during the past few years and, even though most people are saturated with the genre, I like to follow any of these games that look remotely interesting. It is with that mindset that I’ve followed The Wild Eight following its successful Kickstarter campaign, and that I’ve been eager to give it a try, which I’m glad that the time has finally come.
STATUS: EARLY ACCESS
DEVELOPER: Fantastic, Eight Points
PUBLISHER: HypeTrain Digital
RELEASE DATE: TBA
TYPE: SINGLE-PLAYER & MULTIPLAYER
While The Wild Eight might seem just another survival game at first glance, if you boot it up with no expectations at all, you’ll probably find quite a bit more than what other games in the genre offer. Speaking of which, this is an extremely difficult game, at least if you’re playing on the Classic difficulty mode and not on the Easy one. The Classic mode is essentially the way the developers envisioned the game to be played and while it doesn’t have permadeath, your character progress resets every time you die, but still, you can still pick up the items you had on you if you visit the place where you died.
Currently you can choose one out of eight different survivors, each with its own little background story and bonuses, which, in the end, offers some replayability and different degrees of challenge. That said, the game starts near a crash site, right after your plane goes down on your way from Portland, Oregon to Anchorage in Alaska, hence the name The Wild Eight, which represents the eight survivors available to the player.
As an actual survival game, The Wild Eight doesn’t really bring anything new to the genre but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as long as it does what it does in a proper way. That said, you’ll spend most of your time managing your hunger by either hunting, foraging or searching buildings and camps, while, at the same time, keeping yourself warm in order not to freeze to death. Chopping down trees for wood and mining rocks for ore and stone is necessary in order to be able to craft armor, weapons, traps and other things vital to your survival. In the same sense, the game also has a building element which, curiously enough, lets you pack your buildings and deploy them elsewhere whenever you want to move. Things like the workshop and the shelter are key to craft better gear and, in the case of the shelter, upgrade your skills to increase your overall effectiveness. Your skills are divided into different branches, offense, defense, gathering, mobility and hunting, and each one of these branches develops independently from the others. The more you perform the correspondent tasks to each of the above mentioned categories the more skill points you’ll earn. It’s also possible to upgrade your shelter, which will allow you to store an extra item there and will also allow you to gain access to the next tier of skills.
Where The Wild Eight distinguishes itself from most other games in the genre is on the focus it gives to the actual world where the game takes place. While the actual map itself is rather generic, being pretty much covered in snow with some remnants of civilization here and there, there are some unique sites which you’ll find out either on your own or through the game’s quest system. Yes, a survival game with actual quests that not only provide some background and actual storyline for the players to follow, but they also lead you to better items. Personally the lack of any actual story is, for most of the time, the reason why I stop playing certain survival games, so I must say that I’m curious to see how The Wild Eight will turn out to be, especially given its mixture of a plot focused on survival and paranormal mystery.
As I already mentioned, the game is rather difficult when played solo. For example, it’s impossible to beat or outrun the most basic enemy, the wolf, without good gear or throwable rocks which can stun enemies. With that in mind, it’s worth noting that the combat is very basic, all you have to do is click on an enemy and your character will keep attacking until it dies or you drop dead.
Even though the game is still in an early access state, it has been receiving updates almost on a weekly basis and the game already features 10 different languages which you can play the game on, which shows the developer’s commitment to bring their game to as many people as possible, thus surpassing language barriers. Besides that, the game offers both singleplayer and multiplayer modes, and joining as server couldn’t be any easier, you just have to select one of the servers from the browser list or host your own. Other than that, the game offers keybinding options, separate audio sliders for music and sound effects but it does suffer from a rather lacking video options menu, not that the game is very demanding.
In terms of actual looks the game looks very clean and sharp, with some rather simplistic yet stylized visuals that remind me of a mixture of The Flame in the Flood and The Long Dark which are very pleasing to the eye. While things in the game are easy to distinguish from each other, I had trouble maneuvering the camera since the game only allows you to orientate it in four different directions and, despite being able to zoom in and out, sometimes you can’t properly see items under pieces of fabric in certain specific areas. That said, the game does have some rather uninspired sound effects but they end up being decent enough to provide the necessary audio feedback required to play the game. On the other hand, the soundtrack is, simply put, quite incredible. The different tracks perfectly convey an uneasy and spooky feeling, as if evoking some sort of paranormal phenomenon, while getting you just in the right mood.
Overall, I’ve been enjoying my time with The Wild Eight and I think that, while this is a fun single player survival game, this is a game best played in multiplayer. With that said, while this seems to be on a good path to success I can understand that, with the current pricing and the amount of games that, at first glance, seem very similar to this one, people might frown upon this title. In the end, if you’re looking for a fun solo or co-op survival experience I think you’ll have a good time with this one but, if you’re in doubt, I recommend waiting for further updates or the eventual release. As for me, I’m psyched!
(click on the image to see the rating explanation)