Away: The Survival Series has a doom-laden premise set towards the end of the 21st Century, at a time when mankind is long gone, and just the animals and anything else non-human are left… so maybe we all left for another planet, a la Interstellar?
It took a little while before the story, as it is, revealed itself, since initially, you’re a sugar glider, basically playing follow my leader behind your mother, who’s carrying your sister. After a time, you get separated from them, the goal being to find and reunite with them. The forest is vast, but it took a bit of time before I realised that when you get lost, you need to press R3, and the game roughly indicates the position to travel (I say roughly, because sometimes the game gets you confused, and when I was on a log in a swamp and needed to keep going forward, the game was indicating to travel back up into the high mountains behind me. Erm…
That said, when I wasn’t sure initially, it was quite easy to drift off in another, very well-detailed direction which looks built to take me down a one-way path, but it’s only by accident that I’ve later realised I should’ve been going elsewhere, and I only know that’s the correct way because the David Attenborough-style voiceover narration continues at that point, whereas he’s silent if I’m going the ‘wrong way’.
In terms of movement, jumping takes a bit of getting used to, but the key is to hold L2 when it tells you, and just press X to jump. Don’t try steering while you fly, otherwise you’ll go off-course and can end up in the water which… for some reason, it’s so easy to die in, since if you happen to land in it, it’s almost impossible to jump out of it! If land is very close, you might be saved, otherwise may as well just ‘die’ and regenerate with 50% health again, as opposed to continue nearly dead.
This made me wonder: These sugar gliders have adapted to intricate jumping manouveurs but not water?
As a game, Away: The Survival Series is more engaging than I expected, as it’s a very pleasant experience for a few hours, both visually and aurally. It’s not meant to be a particular difficult challenge because it has lots of checkpoints, so you’re not replaying endless areas. That said, in one scene when I’d walked a long way, and then ducked into a fast-travel nest to try a side quest to eat blue mushrooms, I failed and then when I exited out of there, I was stuck back at the beginning of this long path! GRRR!
I think that was the aforementioned misleading path I went down, although it’s interesting that they’ve built such a large location into the game just for the exploration side of things.
On a downside, the controls can be clunky leading to a quick death, but stick with it as underneath, there is a very ambitious game out there – and it mostly pays off – although it does lead to quite a few graphical glitches, including a few times when I’ve even got stuck in the scenery when trying to escape the giant spider.
Still, this a type of game you’re unlikely to have played before, and I like that as you play the game for a fair while, light turns to dusk – partly because night time is coming, but also, I feel, that the game is telling you to get on with it! 😉
Finally, without giving spoilers, Away: The Survival Series is the first ever game where I’ve died during the closing credits! The reason being that in the location where you end up, as the credits roll, you can still jump about etc, but your health is ticking down the entire time, so I started to starve while they continued! And then I ended up in the sea! I regenerated, but you’d left just running around in that particular location, so you just end the game at that point. That’s a bit odd.
Then again, there is an additional exploration mode where you can start off as a spore, flying about… although that’s as far as I got with that part.
Finally, if you watch part one of my walkthrough, this was my experience during the first ten minutes when the game had some very bizarre glitches:
- The opening level is crazy. They’ve spent a lot of money creating a particular atmosphere for the game, and making it look superb. However, as you move your marsupial along the same path as the one in front, he ‘glides’ along the tree on which you’re moving. The creature in front has legs that move normally, but yours don’t – they just… glide.
Plus, while you move with the left joystick, the right-hand one doesn’t turn the camera as you’d expect, so the creature in front disappears off to the left, and you completely lose track of him.
I had to do a rough guess where he’d gone, sort-of ended up in the sea, and dithered around competely blind. I couldn’t even see my guy onscreen. I think I drowned.
I reset back to the last ‘checkpoint’, and was now following a spore flying through the air.
Is this game completely broken? I had the disc and it didn’t bring up any additional updates, but compared to my guy, I saw another piece of gameplay online and their guy actually had walking legs!
It’s like my game has only based itself off what’s on the disc, yet when I check for updates online, I’m told this is the latest one.
However, after that, my guy actually seemed to have working legs AND a working camera following him. I could still fall off the end of the map, and not be able to return, though.
Thanks to our friends at Breaking Walls and Game Seer Ventures for the review code for this game.
- Developer: Breaking Walls
- Publisher: Breaking Walls, Game Seer Ventures
- Players: single-player, Co-op
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.