Green Hell is a survival game set in the Amazon jungle where I played as a man lost trying to figure out what was going on while searching for his lost wife and making sure I didn’t die of dehydration along the way. At the normal settings, the survival aspects of Green Hell were harsh enough to make me wonder whether I would actually finish the story. However, after some tweaking, I was able to enjoy most of the game. Though, in the end, I was left wondering whether the experience was worth it in the end.
Green Hell gave me several different ways to play, a story, straight up survival or playing out some scenarios in challenges. The basic story revolves around a husband and wife who for reasons unknown have returned to the jungle seeking answers about something. The tutorial plays out nicely in giving me basic information for playing the game and discovering how the couple is going to split up so that she can integrate herself with the locals. Things go bad and all I heard over my little walkie talkie was her screaming for help. Days later I woke up with blurring memories and a radio that no one answered to. After figuring out a setting that helped me to enjoy my time in Green Hell, I was able to dig deeper into this story and see where it would lead.
I enjoyed the voice acting and how the story developed, it was more real world based and less of a horror out of left field story like in the game The Forest (which involves cannibalistic tribes and mutants on a “deserted” island where you have to struggle to survive to find a lost loved one as well). There was a moment when I had to take a trip down memory lane thanks to the help of some local drugs which was trippy, but otherwise as I progressed deeper into the jungle the story progressed with me. I was left feeling that while it was a good story, some little things could’ve been done to make it better or more enjoyable. Too many times I was left asking myself would I enjoy the story if it was a separate part of the game and I didn’t constantly have to worry about dying.
At its core, Green Hell can be an extreme survival game that deals with multiple aspects such as body warmth, disease, food poisoning, eating certain types of food and avoiding the wrong end of a spear. In regards to eating, I had to make sure to not only eat certain things like nuts for fats or meat for protein, but I had to make sure I wasn’t eating something that was bad for me or I might end up throwing up my meal which could further dehydrate me. After a midnight run in the jungle from the local tribe who for a reason unknown to my character was hunting him, I had lost everything except my backpack and notebook. That left me up to my own devices to not only worry about food, but cuts which could literally kill me if not tended to because of infection or making sure I washed my hands so I didn’t get a rash amongst other numerous things that could sicken and or kill me. If there was one thing Green Hell didn’t lack, it was in ways for me to die. Weather that was from dehydration or a simple scratch that had become infected which lead to a festering wound and a fever that lead to a silent death while I slept.
Tailoring The Experience
I had decided to try Green Hell at normal difficulty setting to get a taste for what the devs consider normal for their game and was left dying again and again. I’ve played my fair sure of survival games, but at times it felt like Green Hells survival mechanic got in the way of me enjoying the other things the game had to offer simply because I was spending so much time trying to not die. I will give credit in that there are a great deal of options for difficulty settings ranging from those set up by the developers to the ability to customize my own play through adjusting how much I wanted my Nutrient need to decay over time or if at all and deciding what groups I wanted hostile to me and such. Once I messed with this a bit to find my personal sweet spot, I was able to actually enjoy my time in Green Hell and discover more of what the gamed had to offer besides Nutrient Hell.
Green Hell is set in the jungles of the Amazon and once I had time to look around, I discovered just how beautiful it was. The environment design sometimes left me speechless as I stared out over the jungle to see the moon reflecting over a pond of water as birds flew above. The overall design did make me feel like I was smack dab in the middle of a jungle untouched by man and completely out of my element..
Additionally, the sound design in Green Hell added to this immensely, really selling the environment and experience Hearing that shake of a snake’s tail as I walked through the high leaves had me instinctually backing up to avoid the danger I could hear but not see. The wild chirps and animal noises as I sat working on my mud hut that further immersed me was very well done.
Most survival games I’ve played have some kind of crafting element and Green Hell did not disappoint. It felt familiar to me and then it clicked in that it was fairly similar to how The Forest does their crafting (both games use a notebook like interface to give you more details about what you can craft as well as a system that has you placing a ghost image of more advanced items on the ground and adding materials to it one by one). Crafting is very important in Green Hell. It not only provides you the tools to survive with (axe, spear), but throughout it you can make structures from basic bamboo walls to mud walls once you have materials and time to make them. Remember how you need to drink but there is only dirty water around? Boiling water makes it safe and it's how you cook the various meat you might get. I felt the crafting in Green Hell gave you lots of options to play with providing you actually had time to use them, which I didn’t until I adjusted how Nutrient Hell worked.
Once I dug deeper into crafting , I was really impressed with the UI and how it was displayed in your inventory. I eventually had a good deal of things available to craft, upgrading from a simple stone knife made from rocks to eventually a knife made with an actual forged iron blade. The progress in crafting helped to keep me interested and trying different things to see what I could make, like a drying rack for food or mud brick fireplace which I didn’t have to worry about the rain destroying versus a normal campfire. I had a backpack with a weight limit, but it had tons of loops and places I could hook things into. So I could carry small sticks on it, put some stones and food inside and have items I crafted held in the side loops. The inventory system took a little bit to get used to, but after a while messing around in it and the notebook which included some basic recipes and notes, I was able to use things fairly well.
Green Hell doesn’t feature any hot bars or a way to quickly switch items. I had to open up my bag and use the context menu to switch things up. This lead to things taking longer and with me having to take more time to consider my actions and be more mindful or being prepared for whatever was ahead of me.. While I had some basic things known like a small campfire or ta basic palm leaf structure, the rest I had to discover as I found them which thankfully the notebook would update with a recipe or two as you made things or found certain key ingredients.
Overall, I thought Green Hell was a good game, but is definitely not for everyone. The survival mechanics can be tough and frustrating just on normal mode. One of the best things the developers did was include so many options for me to play the game how I wanted to. If it wasn’t for that, I’m not sure if I would’ve enjoyed myself. The crafting has depth and an interesting UI which helps bring it to life. I spent hours just crafting building up a home in a safe spot instead of actually going deeper into the jungle because I was enjoying my time crafting things that much. . It’s a beautiful game in not only looks with the dense jungle backdrop, but also the various types of creatures you see running around in the bush or the fish swimming in pools of water. IU was impressed with the quality of the sound design that further immersed me and had me walking slowly at times so I could hear danger before I could actually see it at times. The story in Green Hell was good, but had me wondering at times if maybe it was just there as an afterthought to the hardcore survival elements.
A game key was provided by PR for review purposes.
- Beautiful art and sound design
- Clever inventory and crafting UI
- Excellent crafting system
- Several customization options to help tweak Green Hell to your preferences
- Nutrient System is too unforgiving on normal settings
- Story when behind crushing survival elements doesn't payoff fully