I know this is out of alphabetical order, but I only completed Ashwalkers last night, so I didn’t want to write anything about it until I had managed to run through it to the end at least once.
This game I actually CHOSE to buy and download – it was on special on GoG at the time, and I loved the art style and choice-driven nature of the game. It is NOT my usual type of game either, but I have a soft spot for post-apocalyptic or dystopian stories and games, and the trailer and blurb about this game intrigued me.
Ashwalkers is a narrative-driven survival game set in a post-apocalyptic world. The world has been ravaged by a series of natural disasters, and the few remaining humans are forced to live in small, isolated communities. You play as a group of four survivors who are sent out from one of these communities in search of a new home.
The game starts with you choosing your characters for the mission, each with their own unique skills and abilities. Your Captain is quite important, as they hold the team together. You will then need to choose your supplies and prepare for your journey. The amount of supplies you are issued and can carry is limited. The world of Ashwalkers is incredibly harsh and unforgiving, and you will need to carefully manage your squad’s needs and your resources to survive.
Each character has their own unique skills and abilities, so choose the characters that best fit your playstyle. Gather as many supplies as possible before you set out on your journey. You will need food, water, and other supplies to survive. The world of Ashwalkers is full of dangerous creatures and dangerous people, so be prepared to fight for your survival, but also explore other responses to scenarios. Violence is not always the answer. There are always multiple choices. Explore the world. There are many hidden secrets and resources to be found. Take your time. Build camps OFTEN. I failed to do this, thinking it was not necessary, and I think that was a big reason for my final squad count.
Be patient. Ashwalkers is not your run-of-the-mill “choose your own adventure” game. Don’t give up!. Each playthrough provides so many learning experiences until you “succeed” and even that success may be different for each player.
The game is played from a top-down perspective, sort of… sometimes the camera shifts, and in certain areas it will be at an oblique angle. You will need to use the mouse to control your characters and the keyboard to interact with the environment. It’s not immediately intuitive, but since there are so few options for interaction, it’s really not difficult to pick it up. You will need to explore the world, gather resources, and build shelters to survive, and keep chugging along in the direction of your initial mission goal. You will also need to fight off dangerous creatures and bandits, or find ways to be diplomatic – and all your choices depend on the people in your squad.
This is a challenging game, but it is also rewarding and quickly gives you a “just one more chapter” kind of feeling, where you finish something (successfully or not) and want to keep going. The game is well-made and the graphics are gorgeous. The art shows a desolate world with strange inhabitants and places, and leftovers from lost cities and people. My only issue was that you cannot control the camera – and this means missing resources, getting “lost” behind walls/cliffs/etc, and missing paths. I suppose this all adds to your choices/decisions/path, and that adds to the possibilities.
The journey is long and dangerous, and your choices may even make it longer and even more dangerous! The landscape is barren, cold, empty, and definitely not on your side, and the squad must contend with extreme weather conditions, dangerous creatures, and difficult moral choices. Along the way, they will learn more about themselves and each other, and they will have to decide what it means to be human in a world that has been stripped of its humanity. Some of the decisions were relatively easy to make… others left me thinking seriously before clicking on my choice. This game will challenge you both mentally and emotionally. The choices you make, from where you shelter to what resources you decide on and who you feed and who rests and who is walking point for the quad, will impact everything that happens after each decision. There are multiple endings, and changing your squad selection truly makes a difference. Everything in this game is carefully thought out by the devs – there are no “just because” moments.
One of the biggest challenges in Ashwalkers is managing the characters’ resources. You need to keep track of the characters’ hunger, thirst, and warmth levels, and they must also make sure that they have enough food and water to survive. If the characters’ resources run low, they will start to suffer from negative effects, such as fatigue, illness, and even death.
Another challenge in Ashwalkers is navigating the dangerous world. The wasteland is filled with hazards, such as toxic gas, dangerous animals, and hostile humans.
Finally, it’s a game that is all about making difficult choices. You will be faced with a number of moral dilemmas throughout the game, and your choices will have a significant impact on the story and the characters’ fates. You must carefully consider the options and make the choices that you believe are best for the group. Or do what I did sometimes and just say “FOR SCIENCE!” and pick something randomly when you didn’t want to make a hard choice!
This game is definitely not for everyone – I was quite surprised that I enjoyed it. Players who are looking for a relaxing and easy game should look elsewhere. However, if you are looking for a challenging and thought-provoking experience will find a lot to love in Ashwalkers.