Ah, sweet Alaska. Internationally renowned for its dangerously stupid hockey mums and Werner Herzog documentaries. It’s also the setting of top-down survival game The Wild Eight [official site] which has now sauntered into early access. I’ve only played a couple of hours so far but it is enough to know that surviving in Alaska is tough. Right from the moment you wake (amid flaming plane wreckage) you need to get busy hunting or get busy dying. I have died many many times. I don’t know how those hockey mums do it.
If you’ve played Don’t Starve you’ll be familiar with the basic idea. You’re in a harsh world and you’ve got to gather wood, ore, meat, mushrooms, bones, fur and so on. Keep gathering and hunting, upgrading your little tent and workshop to build more things to help you survive for longer. But here you’ve also got up to seven other pals doing the same thing. They all have different strengths (some make better medicine, some make more reliable tools) and the idea is that teamwork pays off. You can build little boxes to share things with the group, or save your friend’s life by throwing some mushrooms in the snow and hastily typing “eat dat m8”.
I’ve played a bit. For a co-operative game about bunching together to stay alive, I have seen some acts of kindness and co-operation. But I have also been dying cold and alone quite a lot. Here’s some of the things I have learned.
Beg for food. Your pals might have been on the server long enough to have something spare. You won’t last long without it. There’s barely time to make your first axe and pick before you start to starve. This is definitely a game about watching meters.
Cook your mushrooms. COOK. YOUR. MUSHROOMS.
The plane fire never goes out. That’s good news. Normal campfires need to be fuelled constantly and will die out. In a blizzard, the fire won’t stay lit for more than a few seconds. But the fire by the crash is always burning and blizzards don’t affect it. It’s very warm.
You are what you eat (ie. yourself). When you die you drop all your gear. But you also drop a single steak of delicious human flesh. Find your old body and belongings and gather them up, then cook your previous body’s meat. It’s nutritious.
There are cliffs. You can fall off them.
I hope that’s been helpful for you all. There are some story quests and things to explore as you investigate the wilderness around the crash site. But I have no idea what they might reveal, because I never live long enough to find out. Here’s hoping you do better.