Ylands – PC (P)Review

Latest posts by Marmalade (see all)

Genre: Adventure, Casual, Early Access
Developer: Bohemia Interactive
Publisher: Bohemia Interactive
Release Date: Dec 6, 2017
Edited by KnightAvenger

When you play a survival exploration game, there are two key elements which the game should consistently sustain: survival and exploration. Bohemia Interactive’s (DayZ) Ylands nails the survival, but the same cannot be said for its exploration. In a genre where there are superior options in game choices, there isn’t much incentive to invest a lot of time in this Minecraft-inspired survivor.

Much like Minecraft, the game throws you into an empty island-like environment and leaves you to collect resources in the form of nature’s survival kit: grass, wood, flint, stone, feathers, charcoal, and hundreds of more resources you didn’t think could be in an indie title. The voxel graphics (from first impression) are an obvious result of an alpha-build in the process of development. It’s soon apparent that the art style was intentional and can be shown in the environment’s behavior. Every swing of an ax against a hill will alter the shape of the polygonal texture but won’t show signs of destruction. This choice allows players to reconstruct the island into any shape they’d like. In Creative Mode, you’re given immediate access to the “Terraformer,” a gun that can flatten surfaces in seconds. In a way, there’s a more enjoyable sense of environmental interaction than in Minecraft if we compare their surface worlds.

Lions, panthers and other cats of the human flesh-eating family are faster and more dangerous than any “Creeper” you’ve ever met. The incentive to build shelter and utilize legitimate survival instincts are met from a surprisingly dangerous open world. Immersion is key to any survival explorer, and when it comes to survival, the game holds solid ground despite its technical limitations.

The game’s limited graphical power holds the open world back from originality. The most diverse aspect of the island is its topography; if the hills weren’t present, the land would be a bland sheet of grass. This also makes the island easy to get lost in. This makes it difficult to track where you left certain items. When night time hits, your shelter becomes impossible to find unless you have a light source.

The lack of substance in the game’s tutorial makes it problematic when a player starts in the middle of nowhere, with no guide to ease you into the game’s main mechanics. The tutorial consists of 18 different panels that explain the game’s various options. Open world games shouldn’t be restrained to written tutorials; the open-progression should be the tutorial to suck the player in even further.

For an indie game, Ylands isn’t a bad attempt at an ambitious and creative survival explorer. With a stronger tutorial and presentable open world, this game could hold a lot more potential for a large community. To experience the most out of the open world, Creative Mode allows you to see what your survival adventure could end up being. With a lot more polygons than Minecraft, this game could hold a lot more gameplay with a bigger budget. It still has a chance to deliver as the next big sandbox game upon completion. The early access, at least, does its job handling conveyance toward the game’s possibly limitless potential.

Pros:

  • Constructible worlds
  • Simple aesthetics make for diverse gameplay
  • Legitimate survival
  • Creative items
  • Multiplayer

Cons:

  • Lackluster tutorial
  • Bland open world
  • Heavy technical limitations

Marmalade gives Ylands a Drastik Measure of 7.3 out of 10 (73)

Ylands is available on Steam for $15.00 (USD).