Early Access to Death
Green Hell is a first-person survival game set in the Amazon rainforest. The game claims to be a realistic survival simulator where the player has to fend for themselves in the wild and overcome multiple challenges, from fighting off enemies to finding clean water.
The player takes the role of Dr. Jake Higgins who has come on this adventure with his partner, Mia, to find and communicate with the indigenous tribe “The Yabahuaca.” Unfortunately, not all the requested supplies were provided, so you have to learn some basic survival skills in the forest. These include starting a fire and gathering supplies from your surroundings.
Mia, a translator, insists on going to visit the tribe herself, setting off early in the morning, on your birthday, not allowing you to stop her. Firstly, I’d like to go on record as saying that this is a really stupid idea- as the rest of the game will show you!
The Start of an Adventure
The story mode starts and ends with the tutorial in the early access version.
Jake and Mia arrive at the camp that has already been set up for them and discuss their plans. A few hints are given to what may happen in future. There is a reference to a previous trip where the couple first met the Yabahunca, which apparently didn’t go too well. Jake published a book containing some information about the tribe and since then they’ve been constantly disturbed by the media and researchers. (I have to side with the tribe on this one and get why they hate Jake! That’s kind of a dick move!)
But, as I said, Mia goes to talk to them anyway and while things seem to be going rather well, something suddenly goes terribly wrong. The tutorial ends with Mia desperately crying for help over the walkie-talkie (which must have some impressive range) and Jake running off to find her. This goes beyond a tutorial and does what an Early Access game should do- make me want to know what happens next!
In the tutorial, you’re given weapons, such as machetes to cut down trees for your fires. There is food in the tent already. I much preferred this way of playing Green Hell. This felt like a baby steps version of the game. You’re still in the wilderness, you still have to survive, but you’ve been given the basic tools to do so. Which really is how you should explore the wilderness, should you choose to do so in real life. So, I look forward to playing more of the game from this point once it leaves early access.
Survival For Beginners
Once you finish the tutorial, you can play the game in survival mode. At this point, you lose all the protein bars, tools and camping equipment you had during the tutorial and must start from scratch in the jungle. Luckily you still have Mia’s watch to keep track of your hunger, thirst and energy levels.
I’ve never had to survive in the jungle before, but if this game is as realistic as it claims to be, I would definitely suck at it!
If you go into the forest, you’ll find a small tent made from leaves, a bow, and some terrible food. Even this is optimistic for a game claiming to be a realistic portrayal of survival. Then again, I was playing on easy mode! Perhaps in hard mode, you fall from the top of the waterfalls and immediately have to tend to your broken limbs.
I died multiple times during survival mode. From falling off stuff to dehydration. After a while, I was desperate for another tutorial to teach me how to do stuff in survival mode. Maybe I’m stupid but I couldn’t figure out how to use the bow. I kept creeping up on capibaras to see if I could hunt them, but I never got anywhere. I assume I needed to make some arrows. There is no map and the forest looks incredibly similar, so once I left my tent I never found my way back. There are no goals for survival mode, so at times I found myself wondering what to do.
This all sounds very frustrating, and it is, but given the goals of the game, I like it! In a realistic survival scenario, I would probably suck this bad or worse, so it’s great that the game doesn’t want to baby you.
Green Hell’s Scenery
Even though I don’t want to game to pacify me, I would like a map in survival mode. Okay, so I know that in a realistic survival scenario, I wouldn’t get a map telling me where to go or how far I was from camp. But in video games with huge game worlds, I like them.
When the game leaves early access, Creepy Jar has promised that Green Hell will have a much bigger game world. I’m rather excited about this, given that the game world is already huge. Either that or I kept going around in circles thinking I was going somewhere. (Which I may have been!) This might make sense, is I feel like the scenery was getting pretty repetitive. Perhaps there will be more variety in the full game.
Even so, there was so much detail here, the waterfalls and the flowers all looking incredibly realistic. There is so much effort here to create a real jungle environment, which I have to admire. Even if the constant bird sounds were driving my dog crazy!
Entering The Hell
If you want to go on some bizarre survival mission to prove your worth as a human being, I recommend playing Green Hell first. Then not going on the mission. Green Hell knows what it wants to be, and it certainly achieves that. At this point, there is so much mystery to the story – we don’t even see Mia’s face! I honestly feel like it could go anywhere.
The open world has so much to explore and there is so much to learn. None of this can probably be translated to real-world skills. But that might be too much to ask from a video game of any kind!
The creators mention on their Steam page the toll surviving takes on the mind. Given how frustrated I got in my short time playing the game, it’s certainly achieving that. I know that’s simplifying the situation, it’s much easier to be annoyed that you can’t fix your character’s wounds or find clean water than to be dying of thirst or bleeding to death.
I don’t know if I’d dare play survival mode again, but if you want to play Green Hell anyway for the story and experience, it’s definitely worth a go!