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Worthplaying | PC Review – ‘Ashwalkers’

Finding a survival game that I love, or even completing, is harder than it should be. Quite often these are unrealistic first-person shooters or sorry linear ventures that aren’t difficult or interesting. Ash walkers by an independent games company Unnamed XIII is different, and its storytelling-based survival simulation was so enjoyable that I found myself immersed in my computer for hours. For an avowed toe in gaming, this is no small feat.

It’s no wonder, really, when you consider who the smart people are behind Ash walkers are. Developed by some of the original brains of Dontnod, who created another great game, Life is strange, the gaming experience provided by Ash walkers is far from the monotony that is found in some way in survival sims. It’s also weird that survival games are often full of doldrums and menial tasks that don’t entertain or engage their players, while surviving an apocalypse is probably the opposite of boring and tedious – but I’m sorry. move away from the subject.

This storytelling-driven post-apocalyptic journey is an extremely well-executed ‘choose your own adventure’ tale and point-and-click survival simulator all in one tidy package. Ash walkers contains a few elements of some of the best survival games in my playbook, such as the stats tracker and inventory management system found in the well-received winter survival game, Mistrust. Just as it is in Mistrust, you need to effectively monitor and manage each team member’s heat, hunger, and energy levels, and you need to keep them relatively cheered up throughout their journey to be successful in your game. They need strength to gather materials to fuel their journey, and it’s your job to make sure they’re using those materials appropriately. As far as I know, your party members can die, although I’ve never let any of them go so low in any area that it posed a significant threat, but it’s worth noting, especially considering how important having a full group is when you are heading towards your goal. All four are valuable members of the team.

On that note, Squad Three’s goal is a heavy burden to bear, and its success depends a lot on its success. The team’s mission is to travel to the legendary Dome of the Domes, a haven of peace said to be the only hope for long-term prosperity for 250,000 survivors of the cataclysm. The Dome, however, may not even exist, but that’s why the team’s success is so vital, and since a cataclysmic catastrophe wiped out most of the planet, even the lives of these survivors depend on the Third Squad to find a new, more permanent home.

Squad Three consists of Kali, Nadir, Petra, and Sinh, who all have their particular strengths and weaknesses to complete the party. Doning gas masks to help them breathe in the unclean air, they walk (slowly) along the ashy terrain, gathering resources, picking up scraps of information, and escaping mortal peril along the way.

The land is a work of art; the game as a whole is a work of art, and that means something, given that almost the entire game is colored with a relatively bland gray palette. In today’s black-obsessed gaming environment, black and white contrasts are the go-to choices for color schemes, if games like Limbo are something to go through. Other games rely on splashes of bright, bold color to help them stand out from the crowd. Surprisingly, the subdued gray of Ash walkers is eye-catching compared to those other games, and the ash gray on the screen fits the story well. The world, in this dreary apocalypse, is literally covered in ash and soot, so the lonely hue that paints it is perfect.

Even the cut scenes are mostly different shades of gray and white, and the scene transitions are done with the visual effect of paper burning in – you guessed it – ash. It’s not easy to tie art to the theme of the game, but Ash walkers shoot it well.

The only variant of the Ash Palette is visible when a player is injured, in which case splashes of red demonstrate a player’s injured state. I found this to be an alarming and glaring indicator that disturbed my obsessive need to appease my tired team, so it was an effective use of the only other color in the game. I felt satisfied to stop and go. camping to heal and cheer on the team as often as possible to keep the angry red from creeping onto my screen. In addition to the sad but effective art, the music blended well with the title, adding to the dystopian feel of the surroundings and the team’s dire mission.

The team is pushed with a simple point-and-click mechanism; However, you have no control over the camera angle which changes regularly. Sometimes, as your team slowly meanders across a field or road, the camera suddenly moves to a descending position and returns to its previous angle once the team has passed an invisible checkpoint. Many players have found this to be a flaw in the design of the game, and while I, too, have found it confusing and frustrating, I don’t think it is a mistake on the part of the game. development team. The team travel through an ash-covered wasteland while wearing gas masks, so it seems likely that their vision is sometimes impeded. Plus, the moments when the camera is doing something awesome seem to be indicators that the group is about to stumble upon a predator or a predatory situation, so in many ways it’s a creative way to punctuate the story.

Another way works of art and visibility come into play is fading daylight. I found myself cursing the darkness that surrounded my team at one point and realized, stupidly, that it was dark because it was dark and my team wouldn’t be able to see any better than me. The best thing to do was to camp at night.

When the squad is camping, you can ask them to guard, rest, talk (this helps to encourage themselves), or explore materials. The camp also offers you the opportunity to manage their hunger, heat and need for medication. Ideally, each side leaves your team’s status bars nearly full before venturing out again.

This is not always possible, depending on how you play. Ash walkers offers plenty of possible endings – 34, to be exact – and the way you play not only affects the health and well-being of your party, but it also impacts where you end up at the end of the game. the part. If you play aggressively you may be wasting a lot of medicine to heal your entire party, but if you play too diplomatically you may end up wasting resources trading with people who could hurt you anyway. Your decisions lead the way, and having multiple options at each interval made it impossible for me to tear myself away from the game.

Resources were surprisingly easy to notice in the interface: animating, swaying tendrils of light beneath each patch of a particular resource. It is important to keep an eye on the inventory, which is usually something that I find tedious, but in Ash walkers, it seemed necessary. Managing inventory goes hand in hand with managing team members, and it’s a balancing act that isn’t too difficult to manage. Use resources when needed (often), and if you have an abundance of them, like I did at some point, you can stop collecting that resource until you need them again. The game is fairly forgiving when it comes to the frequency of resource placement; exploring intelligently while camping can also garner favorable resources.

It’s important to keep your party full and happy even when you can camp frequently, but it’s even more vital when you are in an area where you cannot camp. These stretches can take a considerable amount of time, especially when your group is walking at a snail’s pace, so it’s best to manage them sufficiently as often as possible.

Sometimes the group’s progress stops and the choice is given to overcome a particular obstacle. Dilemmas are named simply but appropriately – one was titled “The Dog”, for example – and are followed by a brief description of the dilemma or obstacle in your path. You are then presented with choices, but sometimes the choices are crossed out for lack of resources. These are the choices that open the way for your crew, so choose carefully! The choices also give you insight into the special skills and natural advantages of your team members, much like in Dungeons and Dragons when a player with higher Charisma makes a better impression on a nomad than a player with a worth. lower. It’s the same idea but a simpler execution.

Beyond the sometimes complicated or even morally difficult decision you must make, Ash walkers is not a difficult or action-packed game. Rather, it’s an animated story that unfolds as you travel to your destination, and there’s no real threat to your team’s safety as long as you pay attention to it. As a storytelling game, it’s certainly entertaining enough for the genre.

There are a few bugs or minimal design flaws that aren’t breakthroughs; sometimes a new block of text appears on top of an old block, making both more difficult to read due to the transparency of the frame. Other times, when walking in a team, a member’s dialog box partially disappears, but this text was mostly used to add color to the game.

There are some features that make a player’s life easier, like the ability to click text to make it appear faster (a feature that should be present in any text-based game), and although it doesn’t There is no quick save option, there is no real need to reload the game at any time, as your choices are expected to affect the outcome.

is in no case Ash walkers an action-packed survival adventure sim, but the story and significance of the journey was compelling enough to have me on the edge of my seat throughout my game. I cared about Squad Three and wanted them to be successful, and for a storytelling game like this, isn’t that all you can ask for? If post-apocalyptic survival games are your jam, Ash walkers worth its very reasonable price of $ 12 and offers a different version of the genre you know and love.

Rating: 8.0 / 10

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Mildred Lasky

The author Mildred Lasky