LifeisXbox’s AWAY: The Survival Series review | I’m a big sucker for a game that is all about animals, and AWAY: The Survival Series is all about adorable creatures called sugar gliders. In this story-based adventure game, you are the star of your very own nature documentary. When his home is destroyed, a young sugar glider (also called a joey) sets out on an adventure to save his family. Being a tiny animal, you glide among the trees, hunt for food, and face dangerous predators. Developed and published by small independent studio Breaking Walls, we get a brand new game made by a team of industry veterans.
Initially, the majority of reviews for AWAY: The Survival Series were quite negative. However, the developers have tackled those problems and should have fixed most major bugs by now. Let’s see if they managed to turn a negative experience into a positive one.
ℹ️ | Maui played AWAY: The Survival Series for 6 hours on PC. This game is also available on PlayStation 4/5, and will soon be available on Xbox One.
What we liked!
- National Geographic vibe | Anyone who has ever watched wild-life documentaries like the ones we see on National Geographic, will immediately recognise the distinct voice-over that’s being used. When you start playing AWAY: The Survival Series, you will, for a second, think that none other than the real David Attenborough is voice acting in this game. However, this is not the case. A look-a-like voice was used to narrative the young sugar glider’s story, and I really loved listening to the entire story thanks to the use of this voice! I felt like I was in the middle of a nature documentary when listening, learning, and exploring. Truly the highlight of AWAY: The Surival Series.
- Story mode | One of two modes in this game, is the story mode, which you can either play in in an easy (Explorer) or medium (Adventurer) mode. In this story, you follow (and play as) a young sugar glider who has lost his mother and sister to a flying predator. In order to reunite and save his family, he has to travel through a vast world filled with incredible dangers. You learn about the adaption of the sugar gliders, but also about the demise of mankind. Beside the main story, there are also side quests off the beaten path. I quite enjoyed the story mode, even though I did not like everything it had to offer, as you’ll read further down. Still, the idea behind AWAY: The Survival Series was right up my alley for sure and I did enjoy following the young sugar glider’s journey.
- Exploration mode | If you have finished the story mode, there is a second mode you can play. This mode is, as you can probably tell by the title, focused on exploring rather than following a story. Keep in mind that this mode is still in beta for some reason (I think this is also weird considering the price tag). Here, you can play as many other creatures besides the sugar glider and see the world from their perspective. It’s your goal to unlock all the rare animals by finding and possessing them. I guess it’s fun for a short while to discover the beautiful island like this, but controlling the various animals was just a drag mostly and just as was the case in the story mode, various bugs were present here too. So I doubt anyone will spend a lot of time here. Maybe once this mode is out of beta, it’ll be better, but for now, it’s not really worth investing a lot of time in.
- Graphics and sound | Some parts of the world in AWAY: The Survival Series are quite beautiful to behold. I enjoyed traveling around the world and seeing all the different types of environments. Ranging from gliding through woods and caves to crawling on pipes and in-between weird-looking rats. However, often when you looked up close at something, it looked way less impressive. Take the sugar glider itself, for example. It looks kind of cute at first, but in some scenes, it just looked too basic for a game that costs 30 Euros. I think some more optimization would be nice. Luckily, the sound was better in most ways. The sound effects weren’t always on spot, but as mentioned before, the voice acting was splendid! So was the soundtrack, by the way, which was composed by MIke Raznick, an award-winning composer and audio director we often hear on nature documentaries such as Planet Earth II and Life.
What we disliked
- Controls and camera | Let’s get started with what’s wrong with AWAY: The Survival Series. And I’m afraid the three bullet points here are major letdowns. First, and foremost, the controls and camera were not optimal. Like, at all. Controling that little sugar glider was often a pain in the ass, especially when gliding or climbing in trees. Luckily, you can aim if an object is close enough so your sugar glider jumps correctly, but still, even this felt a little off at times. And then there’s the camera work. Here’s a tip: don’t crawl into small spaces because the camera will go absolutely nuts and you’re probably going to get dizzy and scream at your screen. I often cursed when playing this game, and that’s not what you want during a relaxing documentary.
- Combat | Combat is fairly simple as it has you aiming and then attacking. It’s always explained when you have to use something a little different, so that’s good. But that’s about the only good thing about the combat. It’s honestly plain boring and looks very fake. When I first saw my sugar glider attacking an enemy, I felt like he was cuddling it or I don’t know what he was doing, but it didn’t look like he was performing an attack. It just looked so unrealistic, I’m not sure whoever made that animation ever saw an animal attack another animal. If you’re aiming at a nature documentary kind of game, please, make combat look at least a bit realistic. Honesty, I could say this for most animations in this game as they didn’t look desirable at all most of the time.
- Bugs | A game that has you pay 30 Euros but is still riddled with bugs? That’s just the worst possible thing. I hoped all bugs would’ve been fixed by now, but unfortunately, that was not the case. I still encountered countless bugs, I’m afraid. A snake attacking one way and suddenly appearing on the other side, a bug in an instruction when fighting the black mamba spider, spiders disappearin out of nowhere, animals acting weird and bugging, the path that’s shown when using your special instinct vision showing you the wrong way so you’re left confused for like ten minutes,… Or what about my sugar glider disappearing into the environment so I can barely see him? just to name a few. I’m so very disappointed to report that many, many bugs are still present in AWAY: The Survival Series.
How long to beat the story | 4 to 5 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | About 8 to 10 hours
Similar with | Nothing I can think of.
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Head of PC team. PC, Switch, and Xbox game reviewer. Also a marketeer, concert and animal lover, and photographer in training 🙂