Survival games seem to be a dime a dozen nowadays. To be quite honest I was feeling somewhat uninspired when first asked to review developer Creepy Jar‘s first original survival game project, Green Hell. My first thoughts were how can this be any different than Conan Exiles, Atlas, Ark: Survival Evolved, and all the other candidates I failed to mention? Well thankfully I was pleasantly surprised and if there’s one thing that’s certain the “Hell” in Green Hell isn’t because it’s “easy”. This is our PC (Steam) review of Green Hell.
Oh, A Tutorial? Seems Easy Enough
Make no mistake, Green Hell is a first-person hardcore survival game that will try your patience early on! The game starts innocently enough by giving you a few forms to play; story mode, challenges and survival. Each comes with a few difficulty levels you can start with. Green Hell is pretty good upfront telling you what options it turns on / off or scales down. Given the number of these options presented you’re exposed to the complexity of this game before you even start. I chose to play in story mode and went with “normal difficulty”, how hard could it be?
Where The Green Hell Am I?
First a little background on the setting. If you choose to play the tutorial (highly recommended) you’ll be introduced to some back story and some basic concepts. You play as Doctor Jake Higgins who is a renowned Anthropologist famous for publishing a book about his studies. He has been studying in the Amazon for several years along with his girlfriend/interpreter Mia. In the tutorial, you and Mia head back to the camp to interpret the Yabahuaca tribe. Unfortunately, Jake has made some potential enemies in the Yabahuaca tribe due in part to his book. Mia tries to study the tribe, on her own. Eventually, you lose contact with her and set out to find here. This is where the “real game” begins.
How Do You Wanna Play This Jake?
In the early going the going is rough so fair warning, prepare to die quite a bit. Green Hell is about exploration and learning things, sometimes by trial and error and sometimes by a BIG error. In story mode, you’re given some high-level goals/direction but early on it’s rough. Part of the difficulty is because you can’t save your game until you build a shelter, as denoted in your “handy dandy notebook”.
Survival means having to monitor many factors above and beyond the typical hydration and hunger. You have to monitor your macro elements (a state of well being), energy level and health. You can be poisoned by venom, food poisoning, and many other environmental factors. All of these types of factors have a negative effect on your sanity. There are some cool side effects to losing your sanity that adds realism to the game that you’ll find out on your own.
Explore, Learning, Do
You’ll spend a lot of time looking on the ground waiting for things to highlight. This typically works for stones, sticks, etc. There are some elements like plants that don’t share this convenience so you’ll have to chop down something that looks useful and see what is placed in your backpack. A lot of times just stumbling upon an item will create a new entry in your notebook.
Die, Die Again
In the process of surviving, you’re susceptible to wounds, bruises, dirty hands, and other unique things like leeches. Green Hell has an inspect command so you can check the health of all four limbs and can rotate them side to side so you can check top and bottom. The game is broken up into days as one would expect. This means you need to manage day and night and sleep cycles. Sleep on the bare ground? You might wake up with some worms on you.
The crafting component is pretty straight forward. Open up your backpack and combine things. Or right-click on items on the ground for an “expanded” menu of commands. You also get skill points for using items, crafting, just about anything in the game, if you do it often enough.
Presentation Is Strong With This One
Esthetically speaking the game is gorgeous, especially the fauna during the day and a rainstorm, lots of rainstorms, as this is the Amazon forest. Voiceovers are well done as well without sounding cheesy. This is where the tutorial does a great job of investing your interest.
Green Hell also offers gameplay in a survival mode and cool challenges mode whereby you can select a feat to try to achieve, e.g. start a fire before the rescue airplane arrives in 10 minutes.
Complaints are far and few between. The game had some occasional FPS drop/stutter but wasn’t a deal-breaker. Unfortunately, I did run into the unable to “apply bandage” bug that some have seen during the tutorial. It required me to restart the tutorial and overwrite my save game. I opted for this versus the other suggestion, skip the tutorial.
Compare to: Ark: Survival Evolved, Atlas, New World
Note: Our copy was reviewed on Steam PC with a code provided by PR.