Is Winter Survival, Worth Playing?
Honest Video Game Reviews received a free copy of this title for review purposes, however our opinions are our own.
While Winter Survival is a decent game and improves the winter survival formula in a few important ways, it still comes up short compared to The Long Dark (2014), which is a much better game despite being almost a decade old.

The Lowdown.

Product Details
Genre: Survival
Developer: DRAGO entertainment
Publisher: DRAGO entertainment
Price: $24.99
Release Date: 6 March 2024
Supported Modes:

Sanity System.

Winter Survival’s main feature is its main problem: the sanity system, intended to set Winter Survival apart from other survival games such as The Long Dark, is overused and frankly overturned.

Even relatively small discomforts such as soggy socks and being slightly thirsty often result in permanent debuffs due to the sanity meter reaching critical thresholds.

The human body and mind are incredibly resilient, and people have endured real tests of mental and physical endurance without permanent mental injury, yet in Winter Survival, it’s possible to go insane from running too fast, eating too little, being slightly thirsty, spraining your ankle, or missing one night’s sleep.

While I understand what the developers were hoping to achieve, the sanity system should only trigger after extreme duress, such as multiple days without sleep, badly infected injuries, and weeks without food or water. Even then, such bouts of “insanity” should not be “permanent,” as is the case with the protagonist of Winter Survival. In real life, people have suffered worse and, with sufficient care, recovered without any longstanding injuries.

Forcing players to essentially collect a new debuff at the end of every day while doing very little to have incurred sanity loss feels gimmicky and honestly robs me of any desire to play further, something which never happened with The Long Dark, a game I have enjoyed since its initial early access release in 2014.

Is Winter Survival Worth Playing 2

Combat Mechanics.

Most people are familiar with the phrase “reinventing the wheel.” Still, for those who are not, it means wasting time, effort, or money recreating something that already exists and often making a less functional or worse version of it.

And that is exactly what has happened with the Winter Survival combat system. It is frankly a mess that just feels bad. It removes all urgency and player agency from combat. It replaces it with a bizarre system reminiscent of a bad quick-time event, where perfect timing is more important than combat ability.

While it is serviceable, Winter Survival would be a much better game with a more standardised combat system, and while I doubt the developers will remove or replace the system with a better one, Winter Survival would be a much better game if they did.

Is Winter Survival Worth Playing 7

Over Confidant Developers.

Unfortunately, Winter Survival’s developers (DRAGO Entertainment) are overconfident in their abilities and direction for the game.

When your newest release only sells a few hundred copies, and many players have been vocal about disliking how combat and the sanity mechanics work, it is not the time to double down on saying, “You were right.”

That is the time to reevaluate your core design philosophy and see if you can save your failing game before you run out of money to support it through its early access journey. Unfortunately, the developers currently appear unwilling to act on feedback, instead opting to double down on their vision for the Winter Survival, even as it’s apparent that few people find it appealing, enjoyable, or frankly even very good.

Is Winter Survival Worth Playing 9


Winter Survival’s narrative is rather bizarre, in the very best of ways, with important flashbacks being told via a mix of first-person controls and curiously wooden manikins (who are somehow more lifelike than the butter-faced character models) make Winter Survival feel creepy and honestly rather interesting, and this, when combined with hellish hallucinations and more than a few unanswered questions about the events of the games opening minutes, makes exploring the frozen wilderness and uncovering the fate of your friends one of the better survival game narratives in recent memory.

While there is far too much profanity for a game of this type (which usually targets a lower age rating), and much of the dialogue is rather amateurish, the narrative is one of the main reasons, alongside Winter Surival’s attractive visuals and excellent sound design, why anyone would want to play Winter Survival when so many better and frankly more polished survival games exist and honestly is the only reason why I can still partially recommend what is otherwise a profoundly unremarkable title that brings very little of substance to an already overcrowded genre, that is filled with excellent titles, by established developers, with large fanbases and proven track records.

Is Winter Survival Worth Playing 13

Survival Mechanics.

While I have come down pretty heavily on Winter Survival, it’s not all bad. Some elements of the game, such as its stealth system, are well thought out. However, I feel that constantly having to hide from everything because the combat system is so bad is not the best use of my time.

Hiding from wolves aside, Winter Survival includes some rarely-been mechanics, such as requiring players to bathe to keep clean and find batteries to power electronic devices such as radios and flashlights, and while this has been done before in other games, I will always credit developers who acknowledge that no electronic device will run forever, and the danger of running out of battery, just when I need a flashlight or device, does encourage tactical play, and makes finding a spare battery or two, a great dopamine rush, on par with finding a can of baked beans or an unopened bottle of vodka, (perfect for drowning sorrows or making sterile bandages!).

Is Winter Survival Worth Playing 8

Winter Survival FAQ

Winter Survival is a survival video game developed and published by DRAGO entertainment, it was released on 6 March 2024 and retails for $24.99.

Platform Availability.

Winter Survival is available exclusively on PC.

What Peripherals Are Supported?

The following peripherals are officially supported:

  • PC - Mouse and Keyboard.

Is There Any Mature Content?

Winter Survival is unrated and contains the following:

  • Bad Language
  • Drug Use
  • Gore
  • Violence

Final Verdict.

Winter Survival is a decent game, and I doubt any fan of the narrative survival genre will hate it, however, after playing the very best that the genre has to offer (The Long Dark) and many other excellent winter survival games, I cannot help but feel that Winter Survival is an attempt to reinvent the wheel that has resulted in a less impressive and ultimately less enjoyable title.

Is Winter Survival Worth Playing In 2024?

Honest Video Game Reviews has given "Winter Survival" a rating of 6/10, which means, while it is mediocre/average, and has its fair share of issues, the average gamer would not regret playing it.

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