The Survivalists Review

"A Monkey Crew"


October 22, 2020 at 4:40pm
By Jason Stettner

This is a spin-off entry within The Escapists series. It takes the original concept and provides a nice little twist on the formula. Instead of attempting to escape a prison, you’re trying to scavenge and then craft in order to find a way to get off an island.

You’ll be assisted by either using an army of monkeys you find to train, or by having others online join in. In that regard, you can have two to four players within online matches. That option includes matchmaking to a degree, or you can just invite friends in.

There is a minor story component to this one, and some slight bits of humor if you do begin to plan your big escape plan here. It’s also a rather interesting experience as it focuses mostly on open ended discovery to get things done and you’re not really getting any support. This may make it slightly harder to get into initially for some.

Whatever the case, as you create or well craft you’ll be given more options for creating further items. It’s not necessarily the best implementation of a crafting system, but it gets the job done and offers a fair bit of things to work towards. Once you’re rolling you can begin exploring, from dangerous caves to some of the open local sea. There are various enemies, creatures and things to discover as you try to make your way out.


This very much is similar in terms of gameplay to The Escapists if you’ve played that prior. It’s a refinement on that, while streamlining various mechanics. You’re able to interact with the environment, use a couple different crafting menus and then produce items to build up a bit of a base. The same goes for creating say a raft to go sailing.

These creations typically revolve around the idea of using a special tool as well. It can be quite a bit to take in, and it’s weird that you need this tool for most tasks. Past that, you’re able to train and use monkeys to help with getting tasks done. I felt this could have been handled better. It’s rather hard to get them under control as they go wild, and even teaching them sometimes feels awkward in general. I feel there’s a better way to handle those types of systems.

The visuals of the game are actually quite gorgeous for their unique style. Lots of little animation points and it really does shine as the day cycles to night. They nailed that part, especially the various creatures you battle or the wilder locations to travel to once you really start exploring this environment. You can also play this with others online which is great, though no local coop action. Oh, and be sure to manage stamina against hunger too as while minor these are elements present within the game.
The Survivalists Review Xbox Wallpaper Screenshot

The Conclusion

The Survivalists is a great change-up to the core formula of this series, and it’s got some fun moments to it as you try to escape. It’s definitely similar to the other games, but different enough to feel entirely fresh. I did feel that some mechanics could have been handled better, but from a survival stand point it hits the mark by doing something new.

I liked having the monkeys available, at the same time I feel they could improve the mechanics on using them. Some elements of this feel a tad less accessible than usual, but it is fun to explore and learn what you’re supposed to be doing.

It’s definitely got a neat concept behind it, and online multiplayer coop can be fun. The scope of this one is interesting, since you might be able to finish it decently fast depending on your knowledge of what’s going on. It definitely lays the foundation for perhaps a fun spin-off series for the main one that gets additional entries.

Read our Curious Expedition Review
View our The Escapists Hub

The Survivalists Review on Xbox One X
Review Code Provided by PressEngine

Rating Overall: 7.5

Gamerheadquarters Reviewer Jason Stettner