Dysmantle First Impressions
Survival games… There was a time where I would blindly buy and play each and every one of these that hit the market. Initially, it was fantastic, but as mechanics were regurgitated and recipes repeated, it quickly became stale. I mean, I still stare at new survival game releases like a deer caught in the headlights of a truck, but these days I manage to pull away before the collision. In other words, as far as survival games are concerned, I am more of a sceptic these days. Dysmantle caught my eye a while ago as I was browsing Steam, and I decided to give it a go and see if survival games have something new to offer yet.
Take note, Dysmantle is still in Early Access and therefore this is only a preview and our first impressions of the game. It should still be in Early Access for a while so many things can change for better or worse as development continues.
Put the fun back in surviving the post-apocalypse
While Dysmantle won’t revolutionise the survival genre, it makes massive leaps in putting the fun back in surviving the post-apocalypse. I cannot put enough emphasis on how much I hate crafting tools that last for 10 minutes and then breaks. For 5 minutes I have to pause having fun, return to my base, use materials that are not rare or difficult to find, and build another tool that will soon be broken. Dysmantle puts a stop to this madness and once you craft a tool or weapon it’s yours to keep. You need additional resources to upgrade these tools and weapons, and in this way it feels like you are making progress instead of grinding to build the same thing over and over.
Better weapons and tools are required to farm for better resources, and overall this loop works really well. Upgrading my trusty crowbar is a much better reason to farm for materials than farming materials to build the same shoddy crowbar ad infinitum.
Death and dying
Dysmantle takes a very forgiving stance when it comes to death and dying in the game. There is no real penalty for dying, and you can simply recover your corpse and continue with what you were busy doing. You will respawn at the most recent fire (base) you visited. I found this quite refreshing as this allowed me to focus on the interesting aspects of the game, such as exploration instead of worrying about death the entire time.
The survival genre makes a good argument for some risk versus reward situations, and while I did not see much of this in the current version of Dysmantle, it will be interesting to see how the devs approach this during the rest of development.
I really liked the map and the different areas you can explore. Scavenging through the ruins of houses and campsites for the materials I need for upgrades was exciting and rewarding. When I found stuff I could break that gave me what I needed, I had a nice little dopamine spike. For the 12 hours or so that it took me to reach the limit of progression in the current version of Early Access, the exploration and scavenging remained a satisfying activity.
For some unlocks on the skill tree you need to hit level 99, which means you can play a lot of the game if you want to. It is unclear if these nodes are locked behind level 99 because they are not developed yet or if you can really go that far. One can only hope, I guess.
It just feels good
The developers put a lot of effort into the user experience in the game. Most activities simply feel good. Storage is effortless and simplified. Where many survival games spiral into an abyss of complexity regarding storing and using resources, Dysmantle keeps the process simple, and it works perfectly. This allows you to spend more time exploring and fighting, both of which are satisfying, although combat is a bit easy. Breaking things is fun and collecting resources is streamlined enough that it doesn’t become a drag.
Is Dysmantle worth playing in Early Access?
I touched on some aspects I enjoyed during my time with Dysmantle in its Early Access form and based on these experiences, I would recommend the game in its current state. You can expect a solid 10 hours of fun, leaving you wanting more rather than uninstalling the game. You can stretch the playtime if you want to explore every corner of the available map. The game in its current form is too easy, but still engaged me throughout my playthrough. For $20 you can’t go wrong here, and if the current version is anything to go by, the future of the game looks very promising indeed.
Thanks to 10tons Ltd for providing a key so we could write this Dysmantle first impressions post.