An almost cheerful, or as the game description says bittersweet, apocalypse wrapped into a light RPG with crafting, farming, fishing, slaying monsters, collecting tons of things, pretty much destroying everything you come across and generally being a bigger threat to the world and environment than the monsters.
Dysmantle is a really slick, polished and competent Early Access game with an abundance of content even at this early stage. Main menu text says it’s in alpha stage and the amount of content and stuff to do is huge. It’s always a breath of fresh air to see a well made game that shows you what the complete product might actually feel and look like instead of throwing crumbs your way for months on end.
The developers really seem to know where they want to take the game and what that path will be.
Visuals are bright, colorful and remind me of Torchlight. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they give those laid back, pleasant apocalypse feels. “Yeah, everything went down the toilet, but I’m good. I’ll just go whack that toaster, pull out all the electronics and then go plant me some corn.”
There are no dark, creepy corners, black shadows and streaks of light through dirty windows, but the world still looks abandoned, desolate and taken over by nature. Monsters are creepy, menacing and some of them sound downright chilling and the ambience feels lonely despite cutesy visuals.
Oh, one thing. The game uses emojis in some instances. That part looks overly trashy. Good thing you can turn them off, but I wouldn’t raise an eyebrow if they somehow magically poofed out of the game.
Story is typical planet got vaporized by something lonely survivor material, but it takes a backseat to all the stuff you can do in-game. There are radios you can find that have a great, slightly cheeky and sarcastic, voice with helpful messages and warnings.
You start the game emerging from an underground shelter after who knows how many years of isolation into a world completely abandoned and populated by things that want to eat your face off. More importantly, populated by sooooo many things for you to smash, destroy and pulverize into pieces, collect what remains and then use those remains to craft or upgrade one of the bajillion things available to you.
In the process of smashing with glee, collecting and building stuff, you’ll get to whack some enemies and some wildlife. Hey, you need their skins and meat for survival, don’t judge. There’s enough enemy variety and each part of the map gets something new. Combat is a simple swing dodge mechanic, but it’s very smooth and responsive and you do need to be careful to not get overwhelmed because enemies do hit hard.
It is sort of a light survival game, but there are no needs, you only have a health bar. You can replenish your health with bandages or food you can cook and the first time you eat a new recipe your health is permanently increased.
There’s no penalty for dying. You just re-spawn at the last campfire and can go pick up your fresh corpse with all the stuff you had on you when you died. Everything you do increases your experience and when you get a level you can pick a new skill.
There’s also light RPG mechanics, stats for items, tools you craft (crowbar, machete…), your own stats, trinkets, inventory, outfits and small quests. The game even keeps track of absolutely everything. Points of interest, creatures, kills, medals, recipes, amount of materials you have, everything is diligently tracked and you can always look it up.
In-game map is excellent, very detailed and easy to read and orient yourself. The game uses campfires that you can find and use as resting points where you can store all collected materials and do a lot of different things, depending on what you have unlocked. A fast travel system exists where you can travel between radio towers you find. There’s even a souls-like mechanic. Whenever you rest, it also respawns all the enemies. That can be stopped, but later in the game.
It can be argued there’s a lot of grind involved in the mechanics, but there’s so many things you can do and craft and the game always gives you something new to work towards. It feels like a very smooth loop of grind/reward making the progression a fun thing.
I haven’t encountered any bugs or glitches in my playtime. For review purposes, played on an i7, RTX2070, 32GB of RAM and an SSD.
As mentioned, it’s still in alpha Early Access and only about 1/3 of the game is accessible, but the game is very polished and so much fun even at this stage that I’m looking forward to what 10tons Ltd can accomplish when the game is completed.
If you’re looking for a joyful, apocalyptic, light survival/rpg/crafting game with a good amount of content, a fair price and developers that aren’t overextending their ambitions, but seem to have the intended goal firmly in sight, look no further. Grab your crowbar and start smashing.