PLATFORM: PC, PS4, SWITCH (REVIEWED), XBOX ONE | RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
A good survival simulator should start you off with nothing, make you feel like choices aren't linear and make it difficult (but possible) to become a total badass. With a monkey army, that's exactly what the latest game from Team 17 achieves.
You begin on an island with squat, and as the title suggests, your initial aim is just to survive. Like similar title, Don't Starve, you'll start getting hungry straight away, so your initial goal is just to gather some food. Soon after, you'll be crafting tools, a bed, a raft and some weapons. The game begins to stand out from similar titles when you come across your first monkey. Once you've met the requirement, such as giving them some food, they'll join you and can be trained to do mundane tasks such as crafting and mining, and you can even weaponise them and have them fight alongside you. Throughout the island there are fun little challenge dungeons scattered around which you'll generally use your monkeys to help you complete.
You spend a lot of time sorting your inventory out. Crafting some items involves using more items than you can possibly hold, so you're constantly having to drop items and pick them up again later. This is obviously part of the gameplay, but a slightly bigger inventory would be helpful. The visual style is pretty basic (as the team's previous games - The Escapists series - were) and, due to the static camera and no zoom, it can be difficult to navigate some areas of the island.
The Survivalists is a much better game than the previous two entries in the series, and is greatly enriched with online co-op and a sometimes-amazing soundtrack. Easily one of the best games in the genre, and alone or with friend it's well worthy of your time.