Part survival, part mystery adventure, The Wild Eight from developer HypeTrain Digital is a fresh take on an arguably over-saturated market. Unique visuals, interesting storytelling mechanics and an isometric camera angle set The Wild Eight apart from the pack at first glance. However, the question isn’t whether or not the Wild Eight is unique but whether it’s uniqueness is enough to keep players coming back to its frozen tundra. So grab that coffee, kick back and enjoy our review of The Wild Eight.
Putting the Wild In Wilderness
The Wild Eight takes place in the frozen wilderness of Alaska. You awake to find that the plane you were on has crashed and there is no signs of human life around. Armed with nothing but your tenacity and will to survive you set out on a mission of survival. The Wild Eight begins much the same as any other survival game. You, wilderness and survival.
However one of the best features of HypeTrain’s new release is how quickly things get spun on their head. After only an hour or so the world around you begins to passively share a story of death, destruction, and mystery. Soon after, what began as a survival experience becomes much more.
This is where The Wild Eight really shines. It’s ability to take players on a journey using nothing but the world-building and atmosphere really sets it apart from many other games in the genre. Abandoned vehicles, snow-covered shelters, underground bunkers, all these things work together to draw the player into the world. The more you journey into the world of The Wild Eight, the deeper and more mysterious the world becomes. It has been a delightful experience and one that has kept me interested far more than is my typical time with this genre. For that, I tip my hat to HypeTrain because keeping my attention is no easy feat.
Bird’s Eye View
Interestingly, The Wild Eight is an isometric action RPG mechanically, which is different from what I have seen from the survival genre. Although it does maintain an AWSD control scheme, the game allows for camera swiveling. This, in turn, allows the player to reorient their point of view giving fresh perspectives on the same area. For the most part, I enjoyed this experience. Navigation was easy to learn and master. However, I did note that quite frequently the camera could never get a good angle of view. This became somewhat frustrating when being attacked as at times it was impossible to click on the aggressor to retaliate.
Thankfully it’s easy to dash around and repositioning myself always resolved the issue. This isometric camera also helped develop the tension during exploration more so than I was really expecting it to do. The unique perspective offered a wider field of view but also created moments of feeling like you were catching something out of the corner of your eye. This was especially true during night sequences which, thanks to some great art direction and lighting, cast some incredible shadows. This whole design direction helped create an immersive experience for me to the point of physically tensing up when exploring dark or underground areas.
Play Your Way
The Wild Eight also has a great progression system in the form of several leveling trees to explore. These skill trees include everything from damage increases to movement improvements. HypeTrain has dome a great job of rewarding you for playing your way. As an explorer by nature, I found that I was rewarded for exploring in the form of points that I could put into inventory increase and faster stamina recharging, just to name a few. The system itself is handled exceptionally well with a simple but effective structure in place to make the whole process quick and painless. This coupled with a solid and easy to learn crafting system are just more reasons to keep playing The Wild Eight.
One final note on crafting has to do with gather materials. Although the gathering is as simple as building a tool and harvesting the material, because of the aforementioned isometric camera, there were times where actually picking up the items became an unintended chore. Weird angles made even selecting materials difficult and more than once I was left frustrated trying to pick up wood logs I had just chopped down. Thankfully this was not a consistent problem but it is something worth noting for players jumping into the game for the first time.