Since the early days of Minecraft, the survival genre has always tried to inject some new concept or idea into the gameplay loop. Sometimes it’s an interesting mechanic, other times it’s a different background premise. In the case of the Early Access title Mist Survival, it attempts to provide an interesting mix of both. I’ve spent a bit of time getting familiar with Dimension 32 Entertainment’s survival entry and am here to share my experience. So grab that coffee, kick back and enjoy this preview of Mist Survival.
Set smack dab in the middle of a zombie-like apocalypse, players are set with the task of surviving both the wilderness and zombies that have been brought about because of some mysterious mist. This mist has turned regular people into flesh-eating zombies. As one of the few immune, you must work tirelessly to survive and thrive. The title drops you into the middle of a vast sprawling forest area with a smattering of houses, vehicles and other buildings for you to loot and explore.
The visuals of Mist Survival are serviceable with some nice use of lighting and shadows. The mist itself, which appears at random intervals (more on that later), adds a nice atmospheric eeriness to the experience. It genuinely creates a sense of urgency and trepidation as you frantically try to seek shelter and avoid some of the games more terrifying enemies. The games audio also adds to this atmospheric experience injecting subtle sound and music shifts to help build tension during combat and exploration.
The game’s bread and butter come through exploration and crafting. For an early access title, the game offers an already robust crafting system. This is coupled with an ever-present need to explore as even basic tools like axes and hammers cannot be crafted but must be scavenged in the world. In fact, during my first playthrough, I initially missed an axe that was in the trunk of a nearby car and subsequently ended up running around not being able to craft much of anything. Although some may be turned off by the concept of not being able to make basic tools it really does feel like a much more realistic experience in a modern apocalypse setting. It was an interesting design choice that really does make the early game feel much more intense and frantic.
As mentioned crafting is a robust and complex affair and will see you scavenging long and hard to find the right components to survive for any real amount of time. The game seems to acknowledge this and offsets the challenge level by providing places in the world that can be claimed as home bases. These locations are typically better than the base lean-to you start with and in most cases are fairly easy to defend. Although I didn’t spend much of my precious resources on constructing a base, the small shed I found came equipped with natural barriers like fencing and cliff edges allowing me to quickly set up shop.
Combat in Mist Survival is a pretty standard experience early on. As with most FPS survival games, you’ll find yourself using your basic tools as weapons, hacking and slashing your way through enemies. One thing that Mist does well is that it forces you to be strategic and intentional about combat. The enemies, both zombies and animals, are tough to kill. I spent one session simply fighting a bear and despite being armed to the teeth with melee weapons he destroyed me every time.
You don’t simply manage a health bar in Mist either, as you will accumulate lacerations, breaks and infections while you explore and fight your way through the game. If left untreated many of these things will eventually kill you. Although you can revive at your home base there is always a cost associated with respawning and it comes in the form of losing items and gear.
The game also has an interesting mechanic in the form of the Mist. When the mist appears, zombies become more aggressive, come out during the day and seem to be bent on making you their next meal. As this is a random event it is easy to get caught out in the open and have to frantically attempt to get back to your base, seek shelter somewhere nearby or fight your way home. I really don’t recommend that last one! The mist offers an intense layer to the exploration experience always keeping you on edge.
Currently, I have only put a handful of hours into Mist Survival but already see the appeal for hardcore survival players. It offers some great complexity in strategy, exploration and crafting. Although the game does suffer from some AI and visual bugs, the developer seems to be hard at work updating quite regularly. Priced exceptionally well, Mist Survival is a great Single Player Survival title worth checking out.