First off, let me sat that despite my last post on Survival Craft I’m really enjoying the game. It offers a subtly different experience than the mobile version of Minecraft as it really is more about survival than mining. Yet for a game that is so much about survival, once you have built a decent shelter and gathered enough supplies (something that can be done in a couple of hours) there isn’t much left to worry about and outside the Creative mode you are left with nothing to do bar explore.
And there is the problem. Exploring is both hard and dangerous.
Hard because the sheer size of the world means it’s far too easy to get lost thereby potentially reducing your attempts to consolidate a stronghold from which to weather your enforced isolation pointless because you could all too easily lose the lot and have to start again. There is only so many times building a mud hut and slowly upgrading it can be fun, let me tell you. On top of that, once you do decide to explore and are lucky enough to find a mineral-rich cave system, do you know how ball-achingly maddening it is to then lose it again just because you can’t recall if it was left at the tall tree and right after the double hill out the other way around? This alone is enough to make me falter before I leave my lovely, comfortable house and head off blindly into the hills and that is not a great play experience.
Dangerous because the penalty for dying is too great. When I rage quit a couple of days ago it was because I was killed by wolves near my house and by the time I returned to the scene all my stuff, including a diamond bloody compass and a crapton of precious wood, had vanished. Why? Am I led to understand a wolf ate it all? Why did that stuff need to vanish? I’m the only person on the bloody island so I doubt it was stolen! This more than anything else puts me of exploring and again doesn’t give a great play experience.
Now don’t misunderstand me, I really, really like this game. Other than Minecraft Pocket Edition, it’s the only game I actually play on my tablet. Also you have to remember that the game hasn’t reached beta yet and is still in alpha so there is a hell of a lot of development still to go into it (not that you’d know it – I’ve seen major studio betas that aren’t as well developed & supported). Honestly I have no hesitation in recommending you download this game immediately because it’s not just another cheap MC rip-off but a riff on that excellent idea (in itself inspired by other titles).
But having said that, and given the fact the game is in alpha, here’s what I’d like to see changed or added to make my time playing even more fun…
1) A map and waypoint system. I wouldn’t want to see these given to the player from the start, but they should be crafting options. The map should come from growing and processing a certain type of plant. Waypoints should come from crafting radio transmitters that you drop in key locations. The two would interact meaning one without the other would be useless and neither would unbalance the game but together meaningful exploration would be possible.
2) Items lost at the point of death should not de-rez. Period. Aside from being more logical (wolves and bears do not eat stacks of wood, iron or stone, let alone diamonds!) it would add a much needed exciting mechanic to the game whereby the player has to struggle and fight to get their stuff back
3) There really needs to be an end game. Currently there is no purpose to the game and beyond building a house and digging a mine, no progression towards something such as escape or revenge. I’d love to see a goal, or a series of goals, that I had to work towards as this would give me more reason to explore the island and expand my operations. Maybe certain goals can only be completed in certain areas meaning players have to set up more than one base, more than one farm or mine.
In conclusion, as my old English teacher said I should never end an essay, this is a really good game but with these additions & changes I know it will have something of the huge replayability factor Minecraft has. Now go and download it, Kaalus has a FREE demo version as well add a dirt cheap full version you know :-)
UPDATE: If you are interested in my thoughts on Survivalcraft developments since I wrote this post, you may want to read this post: http://headburroantfarm.wordpress.com/2013/10/12/the-top-8-or-so-things-i-want-to-see-in-survivalcraft/