Games

Green Hell – Early Access Review

Green Hell is a survival game set in the Amazon rainforest with various elements that make it unique and fun.  The game is single player only (with a co-op mode being implemented in the future) but feels just fine when you’re alone battling the elements.  What you can craft generally does not require a ton of materials so gathering them by yourself will not take too long depending on where you set up camp.  Some things can be annoying such as the stone ring for your campfire which requires ten big stones and you can only carry one of them at a time, but this is a minor nuisance.

The game starts off with a tutorial that takes place during the first few days of the story mode.  The main character and his significant other go to a camp that was set up for them in the Amazon rainforest to study a tribe for some seemingly important reason that is not revealed at this stage.  What’s there storywise is great, but there isn’t enough of the story revealed that makes me want to find out more but not too much as to give away the entire plot before release.  Subnautica is another single player survival game that I played at various points in its development but it kept adding more and more of the story as the game went on in early access so after release I kind of felt like, “Ehh I do not care about the end that much I basically get the gist of it.”  So hopefully the tutorial just gets refined a bit more without adding more to the story.

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After you finish the short tutorial you are thrust into a random spot in the rainforest with a few recipes in your notebook and a nifty little watch to help you not get lost and keep track of your macro elements.  That watch is a nice little piece of equipment because it keeps track of the time and day, has a compass mode which also gives coordinates, and the macro elements of hydration, protein, fat, and carbohydrates.  Other than that, the main H.U.D. just displays health, stamina, energy (maximum stamina) and sanity.  There is no marking for your camp so keeping track of how to get back or the coordinates is a must for survival.

The start of survival can be very difficult.  When I first played the game I could not survive my first night.  I would make a basic camp in a clearing then when trying to start a fire to cook some meat I found from a dead bird I got mauled by a jaguar.  Then after respawning, I found a lovely spot by a small pond and some birds and after sleeping part way through the night I wake up to find worms on my arms.  The game then creates an entry into the notebook saying that these moments of despair decrease sanity and you need bone needles or fish bones to remove them at a loss of a bit of sanity.  Well, I could not find any bones, and night can be near pitch black at points so I went back to sleep.  Waking in the morning there were even MORE worms and I was frantically looking for maggot ridden carcasses to harvest a bone from.  All the time my sanity was plummeting to the point of no return.

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Now, when your character goes insane the game becomes much harder but more interesting.  As you would expect your character starts hearing voices, “You will never make it out of here, yadda yadda yadda, laughter” and even see some illusions of tribesman.  Well, the illusions will hurt you just as bad as the actual tribesman will and the archers you kill will even give you free arrows.  Though I imagine that last part is unintended.  When you hit an illusion they disappear in a spurt of blood.  Despite the fact that going in insane is more interesting, I found out that being insane is basically a death penalty.

That is a frustrating part of the game.  It is brutally difficult at first.  Luckily you can craft stuff without them being written in your notebook, except for structures like camps and fires.  So once you learn how to make an ax or bow, do so immediately at the start.  If you do not know what herbs help with fever or poison, or how to get clean water, those things will be a death sentence as well.  I found myself just restarting the game if I got bit in the night by a snake or developed a fever.  The game also loves to make it rain when I am trying to cook meat so after making a good spear and getting a kill for the first time, I still nearly ran out of protein.  Luckily there were some nuts nearby to help me get through.

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Overall, the game is a lot of fun.  It can be frustrating at first unless you pull up a guide of sorts (I started using https://gameplay.tips/guides/2858-green-hell.html on my second playthrough and it helped a fair bit).  After you get the hang of things, it becomes much more rewarding and fun.  The map is big and has plenty of areas to explore and loot to find.  Although there are a few bugs and some odd stuff like the occasional z-fighting (when two objects intercept and you see them kinda phasing from one object to the other) the game is still very early on in its development so that can be forgiven.  The story so far is interesting without giving away too much, and the gameplay is solid.  I would recommend purchasing this in Early Access if you want to support the devs and like seeing games change as they grow.  If you are on the fence then just wait for either a bit later on or release and you will not miss much if at all. – TS

Green Hell is now available in Early Access on Steam

Early Access code provided by Terminals.io

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