Title: Wild West Survival
Developer: Altair Games LLC
Publisher: Altair Games LLC
Genre: Indie RPG
Available On: Steam
Official Site: https://altairgamesllc.wixsite.com/wildwestsurvival
Release Date: July 31, 2020 (Early Access)
Conquer the Western Frontier
It isn’t easy being a cowboy during the old west. But in Wild West Survival, exploration and the strive for growth and expansion can make the mundane and tedious tasks a bit more enjoyable.
In this initial impression for Wild West Survival (WWS), I was originally supplied a code from the developers after they saw my news piece on the game. I soon went back to conducting some research for the title; but after I found little information on the indie studio of Altair Games, I figured I’d just dive into the western survival game.
Upon installation, I was greeted to a quiet campsite with a cowboy and his horse. Allowing the menu music to play through, the swift character customization quickly brought me to a screen with four biomes. You can choose between Rose Creek, Deadwood, Frozen Lake, or Volcano Spring, each coming with distinguishing features.
Once you made a choice, the game boots up the map within a second, bringing the player to grand open land. The inception of playing a new game of WWS always starts with a Beginner’s Quest. It’s a short list that will help you get familiar with the general mechanics. In my previous post, I referred to WWS as a “Western Minecraft“, and the Early Access gameplay surely made me abide by that.
My first two hours in WWS were mostly spent on harvesting plants, chopping down trees, walking, and figuring out where everyone was. It took me a bit to find a nearby town, but it was essentially pointless since I didn’t have any funds. This is where I encountered some unfortunate drops in the framerate. Eventually I walked out of town and proceeded with my impromptu exploration, but my eyes were still in mild pain from the town’s poor graphical performance.
Then, for some moronic reason, I tried to raid a campsite with just an axe, and they gunned me down, reviving at the default spawn site with lesser levels of survival stats. The thirst and hunger levels are continuously ever-changing, so those are imperative to your character’s health. The stamina meter, however, can recharge if you simply don’t run. Upon reviving, however, my gear was still with me, which is a big plus from the agony of returning to a previous location.
After the starting hours of WWS, I began to get the hang of it. The Minecraft elements were very recognizable: chop trees to get wood, loot plants for cropping, and craft until your fingers bleed. With the help of the Tutorial section in the pause menu, I was able to bypass some agitation when I became lost at something in the game. One of the biggest helps was how to obtain currency – by selling wooden logs to the vendors in order to get better equipment. Picking up stones, planting seeds, and working with my workbench will propel to construct advanced items. It all stirred into a pot of routines, seeing the growth with each minimal task that you complete along the way.
Into the Wild West
By the third hour, I had built a small house with an abundance of plants sitting in the front. Tomatoes, corn, potatoes – rows of them stood on the grass, adjacent to the water well I stole from town. No one said anything and the game basically allowed me to do it, which was weird to say the least. Still, an unlimited supply of water isn’t a bad thing, especially since the thirst meter is pretty brutal compared to hunger. It seems like I have to drink water every five to ten minutes, and perhaps it’s because the weather is so hot that it drains your character’s level of thirst. Luckily, you can purchase canteens and water cups with a town vendor to help with your survival, after you’re done wondering why almost every vendor looks the same.
At a normal town, the vendors expectedly trade in all areas of necessity for those who lived in the old west. There’s a lumberjack, a couple of hotels to stay at, a gunsmith, and so on. The latter is where I bought my first revolver, aiding me on my first successful raid with a trio of armed NPCs at a campsite. The combat does need a decent polishing since the hits don’t always land with a gun or an axe, but killing enemies wasn’t too problematic. Once the violence concluded, I stared off into the distant land, catching a breath. This is where I first utilized the game’s Photo Mode to take a few decent screenshots (with one providing this post’s Featured picture).
There’s also a little Creative Mode in WWS that allows you to mess around with the mechanics. A small group of vendors providing different resources are available to the player, providing a testing ground for newcomers or lost players.
Bugs Under the Sun
As WWS is further developed during its Early Access run, there are bound to be a few hiccups along the way. Some need work, while some just need a trimming or two.
As the action would intensify – gunshots and NPCs moving back and forth and such – the framerate would drop. It got to the point where I couldn’t tell where my shots were landing. And swinging my axe around wasn’t of any help. I just clicked and moved until a result was produced, and that’s not always the most exhilarating thing to do.
I had to switch off the game at that point. The drops in framerate pained me, prompting me to update my drives. Afterwards, I went back into WWS and played around with the graphic settings. Through constant trial and error, I finally figured out that it was the V-Sync option that’ll make the game a bit smoother, but still far from perfect. It gets very jumpy, and it’s never absolutely consistent. I tested out several games to make certain that it wasn’t my machine, and I still got the same results.
Moreover, the animations for the NPCs are a bit off, and they oftentimes walk slightly disjointed. Horses causally walk into small houses, some houses are missing parts, and the world’s structure doesn’t feel halfway complete.
Final Thoughts on Wild West Survival
However, there’s a special aesthetic to the exploration of WWS. I’m assuming the endgame is to build as many settlements as you can, and I’m far from constructing my first one. I believe it’s all about prospering and personal growth, with the more resources and funds you possess along the way. Special characters can also be purchased to come work for you, further increasing your roster of valuable equipment to help in your western expansion. You start off with almost nothing to your character, but eventually you build yourself up enough where you don’t need to sell logs anymore for a quick buck. I feel as if this is the drive to play WWS, to see where you can take your cowboy or cowgirl across the land.
If I were to compose a wishlist of the things I want in WWS, it would comprise of having more save files, fixed combat system, better vendors and trading, and more unique character models.
Verdict: At this point in the game’s Alpha phase 1.1.3, there’s obviously still much work to be done. So far I think the concept is fairly simple and the gameplay might be boring for some players, but the awesome music, bright and lively art style, and western setting might intrigue the most advanced players for RPGs. There’s not a whole lot to do, but with the given supplies you can manufacture and trade in and out of town, there comes roads of possibilities for an open-world game where multiple biomes can be visited. As more content becomes available, fresh interest will invade this indie title, such as multiplayer support, platform evolvement, and optimization. WWS is a nice casual survival game that I’m looking forward to as it continues its evolution through Early Access.