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Mist Survival

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Action/Adventure


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PC Preview - 'Mist Survival'

by Cody Medellin on Sept. 11, 2019 @ 1:00 a.m. PDT

Mist Survival is a single-player, survival stealth sandbox game in which players experience an apocalypse simulation in the form of a virus pandemic. Players must survive difficulties, such as finding shelter and food, as well as threats from the environment and climate: bandits, dense mist, infected zombies, and wild animals.

Mist Survival actually released about a year ago on Steam Early Access. As the work of mostly one person on a genre that is generally large and quite daunting in nature, the title seems too ambitious. Couple that with the fact that this is a genre that had a big surge in popularity a few years ago and is tapering off now, and you have a recipe for something you see often in Early Access: games with lots of promise that stop getting updates and are quietly turned into abandonware. That isn't the case here, however, as updates have been coming in at a steady clip, showing everyone that the genre is nowhere close to getting forgotten.

The narrative is simple, even if it is reminiscent of horror classics like Stephen King's "The Fog." Three years ago, a mist started to blanket the Earth, and while most people died from it, others turned into zombies. There were a few who were immune to the effects of the mist, but they now live in a world where zombies run amok. You're one of those survivors, and you're now homeless due to a zombie attack that devastated your old camp. Your job is to start anew and hope that things turn out better this time.

From here, you'll partake in some of the expected elements of the genre. That means going around the environment scouring for ingredients and hoping you have the necessary tools to create something useful. Some of those things are basic materials for something bigger, while others are simple weapons, like wooden spears and shields. Those things become useful as you encounter zombies that occupy buildings with valuable weapons and resources. Aside from the zombies, you'll always have to contend with your own status meters, so eating food, drinking clean water, and sleeping in your own home base is a must if you want to survive for more than a day.

If you're a genre veteran, this is standard stuff, except that you need actual tools to gather or create some elements instead of merely punching things into existence. Luckily, the game makes things a little easier on you. Shelter is easily found, and you even begin with a lean-to to call home. Your meters aren't as aggressive, so you can go on decent runs or go without eating for longer than expected. Even death gives you the option of continuing with your run, albeit with fewer resources on hand or at your base. This is far from easy, but Mist Survival respects your time more than other titles would.

There are a few things that stand out. The first is the presence of bandit camps that house formidable enemies that can instantly kill you if they spot you. Unlike the zombies, they can be taken down without weapons, and raiding them is beneficial since they have some valuable crafted items or good ingredients. Bandit camps also have some NPCs to rescue; that comes in handy since they can be assigned to do some crafting for you. Then there's the titular mist, which rolls in slowly but is probably the most threatening thing of all since it expands the roaming range of the zombies and makes them more powerful foes.

The presence of bandit camps, NPC helpers, and fog is already enough to make this otherwise-standard survival game feel a little different from its contemporaries. Looking at what the game is promising in its Steam page, it feels like the title is shooting for the moon, feature-wise. Base crafting, clothing changes, farming, NPC caretaking, and trap crafting are mentioned, and while some of that stuff reads as standard features in other titles, it can be rather daunting to have all of this be generated by just one person. Unless the team gets beefed up or development suddenly accelerates, expect Mist Survival to be in Early Access for quite some time.

Even in this state, the presentation is nice. Set mostly in the woods, the title features an abundance of foliage, and it looks great thanks to the shadowing and other lighting effects in place. The texture job on most of the objects is fine, with some displaying more detail than necessary, such as the ax displaying the manufacturer and the type of wood used for the handle. The characters you meet up with look good, but the monsters look normal, albeit with longer necks. The sound fares a little better but mostly because there's no music here. Sound effects fill out the landscape, with the constant bird chirps and your own footsteps providing the game with its soundtrack.

Plenty of time is still needed before Mist Survival reaches its final state, but based on what we saw here, the title shows some promise. If you can ignore the lack of optimization, the game looks quite nice, and the sound is just as good thanks to its dependence on atmospheric sound effects. The run-of-the-mill things, like your personal care meters and time of day settings, aren't overly aggressive so you don't need to babysit them. Everything else is standard, but the mist spices up things, even if it isn't a common occurrence. Hopefully we can take another look at the game in a few months to get a better idea of how development is progressing.

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