Big Crafting and RPGing in Smalland: Survive the Wilds

Smalland: Survive the Wilds
Reviewed On
PlayStation 5
Available For

Hey all, I’m back with a game that is an interesting take on the survival genre. It’s my Smalland: Survive the Wilds review.

Plot: It’s been centuries since the Smallfolk (essentially wingless pixies) have been on the surface and things have definitely changed. As one of the first pixies to emerge back to the surface, players are tasked with creating a place for the rest of the Smallfolk who will follow. Beyond that, there is not much of an overall plot. Yes, you will get quests and things like that to do along the way, but your main goal is pretty much to act as the vanguard for your people in a world where even the tiniest insect can be a big problem for these beings who are only about an inch or so tall.

Gameplay: The core gameplay for Smalland: Survive the Wilds is a lot like Minecraft, where your primary responsibility will be to build a base using whatever available materials you can find or scavenge.  The hook that sets Smalland apart from other building games is that when playing as tiny pixies, then even something like a ladybug is going to look huge. Then there are some truly dangerous things like a hornet I saw right when loading up my first game. There are also extremely dangerous creatures out there like a freaking eagle that is proportionally the size of a jetliner compared to these characters.

Now, I do need to mention that the hook for Smalland is not truly something I care for at all personally because I really hate bugs. In fact, I despise them. If I could kill every single bug within 100 yards of my home and keep it that way for the rest of my life, I’d be ridiculously happy. Seeing ladybugs that outweigh my character was not fun at all. I note this in case anyone out there has similar problems with bugs and things like that. If you do, avoid Smalland because there is no escaping them.

As for the gameplay itself, in addition to the Minecraft-like crafting and base building, there is also real-time combat. So, you swing at enemies or shoot bows at them, and your skill in landing those blows comes down to the speed of your reactions and your skill with fighting in the game. Instead of always fighting, you can also tame other creatures like grasshoppers and then use them as friendly mounts to traverse the world more quickly and things like that.

Smalland is not a true massively multiplayer game, but you can create your own private server or join a public one and play with up to 10 other people. And within those private servers, the players can control some of the rules, like preventing structures from getting worn down by time and weather or having all the bugs and other enemies be passive so that you can just concentrate on peaceful building if you want.

Also, while much of Smallworld will see you on foot walking around, which can take a long time given the size of these characters, there are also, eventually, other modes of travel to unlock. One of them involves a grappling hook which can be used to sling around the map Spiderman style. You can also eventually get armor that provides wings for your pixie, which greatly enhances your mobility. And finally, there is the aforementioned mounts that you can tame for riding around the countryside in style on the back of some bug or other creature.

Art: The art for Smalland is fairly good for not being a AAA studio release, but I just wish I could actually appreciate it without it triggering my trauma. The fact that it has an arachnophobia option was highly appreciated too since that is a common phobia among many players.

Music: It’s sort of bland but not terrible. It’s just kind of there, which I suppose with a title like this means that it does its job.

Overall: If you can stand creepy crawlies and enjoy a good survival game with a pretty unique twist, then Smalland: Survive the Wilds might be good for you to start exploring. I just wish that I could enjoy it a little more personally. It’s an interesting title, but not for those who have a problem with lots and lots of bugs or other kinds of little creatures like frogs and things like that.

For those who like: Arthropods, Minecraft, survival games, building, and open world games.

Not for those who don’t like: Arthropods. Seriously, if you have any issues with bugs, then you should do your best to avoid Smalland: Survive the Wilds and its deep forests that are filled with them.

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