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  • Writer's pictureAD Twindad

Review - Survival: Fountain of Youth

Developer: Odinsoft

Publisher: Twin Sails Interactive

Available on: PC (Steam, Epic Games Store)

Review console: PC

So, you want to live forever?

Imagine being transported back to the age of Ponce de Leon, navigating the tumultuous seas in search of new territories and the fabled Fountain of Youth. As you sail through treacherous weather and relentless waves, your ship meets its demise, leaving you shipwrecked on an enigmatic island. With only a few essential items salvaged in the chaos, you find yourself alone in an uncharted land. Here, your survival hinges on your cunning and resourcefulness as you scour for survivors and decipher clues left by ill-fated explorers who preceded you. This island is a lush, dangerous paradise, teeming with flora and fauna, both benign and perilous. Discovering new resources enables you to unlock “blueprints” for recipes, weapons, and tools vital for survival. Balancing hunger, thirst, energy, and health becomes crucial as you face the omnipresent threats of illness, scorching sun, and predatory animals lurking around every corner.

The Good, the Bad, and the Meh

The visuals in FOY can be breathtaking, providing immense depth to the immersive world into which you have been thrust. Picture lush forests, jagged cliffs, and expansive oceans – just a glimpse of what awaits you at the start. As you unlock new regions, each area and even each island reveals its unique personality and formidable challenges. Whether you’re in search of food, water, or weaponry, thorough preparation is essential for any journey, making the balance between preparation and time management a blend of satisfaction and tedium. The game is strictly first-person, a deliberate choice for deeper immersion, yet it may deter those who prefer the versatility of a third-person perspective to relish the scenery and capture epic screenshots. The single-player-only format might limit its appeal to some gaming demographics, and the survival mechanics can sometimes feel like a relentless grind, especially when gathering rare supplies necessitates travel between islands. A co-op mode would have added a compelling layer but given the complexities it introduces and the potential for disastrous execution, its absence is understandable.

In contrast to similar survival or crafting games that showcase intricate animations or cinematics for building or crafting, FOY employs a unique mechanic where time is the primary currency. Crafting a spear costs you 30 minutes of daylight, while roasting crabs over a campfire takes 15 minutes each, all while your firewood lasts only 45 minutes, necessitating constant vigilance. Lighting the fire with flint consumes another 10 minutes. Time management is thus critical, as every waking hour and task depletes your energy and heightens the risk of injury. There are no elaborate animations to depict these activities, which, frankly, I find refreshing. Repeatedly watching the same short animation can quickly become monotonous, so the absence of such distractions allows you to focus on survival. The survival points and crafting leveling system of your conquistador character encourage continuous harvesting and crafting. As you level up skills like fire making, sailing, or hunting, you gain incremental speed boosts or reduced tool degradation. Completing key tasks awards survival points, which can be spent on overall enhancements like poison or disease resistance, making long-term survival increasingly manageable.

However, the combat and movement systems present significant challenges. The island's threats are swift and timing is crucial to block attacks or land hits effectively. Despite this, avoiding damage from the various critters – from spiders and scorpions to snakes – often feels impossible. These encounters, though minor annoyances, happen frequently enough to induce frustration, especially when a scorpion stings you for the hundredth time while you're simply gathering sticks. The fluid yet unrealistic movement over rocky surfaces diminish immersion slightly as you appear to glide over certain terrain. Despite these flaws, the overall graphical quality remains commendable. The game's finer details may occasionally lack polish, with animals glitching through objects or erratically bouncing as they attack. Audio issues like repetitive impact sounds can also break immersion. Nonetheless, these shortcomings do not overshadow my positive impression of the game. The developers have been proactive in addressing bugs and quality-of-life improvements, leading me to believe that these issues are fixable with further updates.

What happens when real professionals go indie?

I’ve delved into many survival, crafting, and open-world games on both console and PC. Some have left me with indelible memories of constructing grand homes or forging powerful weapons, while others have been a relentless struggle for mere survival. The experienced developers at Odinsoft have struck a balance with FOY, creating an engaging playstyle and rich environment. The narrative of searching for survivors and the Fountain of Youth is ever-present but never overshadows the core gameplay of survival and crafting. The game's detailed graphics are accessible without the need for a high-end PC, making it an attractive and affordable option.

Although Odinsoft is an independent studio, its team boasts a wealth of AAA game development experience, which shines through meticulous attention to detail. Survival: Fountain of Youth benefited from an extended early access period, cultivating a dedicated fanbase, some of whom have invested hundreds of hours into the game. With around 30 hours of gameplay and 100 days survived, I have only just begun to uncover the depth of the story and challenges that await. Odinsoft’s commitment to refining the game through player feedback is evident in its polished final product.

Will you seek eternal glory or become the ultimate survivor?

Each session with FOY captivates me for hours, whether I am crafting new machines, expanding my ever-growing base camp, or planning my next adventure. The game offers flexibility to pursue the storyline of finding Ponce de Leon and the Fountain of Youth or to build an elaborate, multi-story ocean-view chateau with a private dock. This versatility appeals to a broad spectrum of gamers, including fans of crafting, open-world, survival, and base-building genres. For those seeking a true challenge, hardcore mode offers a permadeath scenario for the ultimate test of survival.

As always, I assess the replay value and overall worth of the games I review because our time to game is sometimes frustratingly limited and we want to maximize the value of our disposable income. Currently Survival: Fountain of Youth is priced at $27.99 on Steam and Epic, positioning it competitively against other established titles in the genre. Its replayability is immense, with endless challenges to accomplish as you survive to thrive and unlock the mysteries of your surroundings.


A game key was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.

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