The world is full of dangerous and inhospitable places. You can visit boiling deserts, cold icy tundras, or climb to the highest peak on Earth. No matter which place you visit you must be prepared, otherwise, death is guaranteed. What springs to mind when I say the words Amazonian jungle? Beautiful fauna, stunning rare animals, or isolated tribes? Whatever image pops up first, you must remember the Amazon is a deadly place to live, especially when you have no supplies and no way of contacting the outside world. Green Hell transports you to this stunning but dangerous landscape and asks you to survive its many pitfalls.
Developed and published by Creepy Jar, this is a brutally challenging survival game that will make you explode with rage. The semi-linear storyline compliments the open world that you explore. The hot and humid jungle closes in on you as you venture further into its murky depths and you will lose your way and become disorientated in this never-ending green prison.
Green Hell takes no prisoners.
Survival games are supposed to test you to the limits. They make you think about many elements of your character’s wellbeing and the surrounding environment. However, when you throw in a storyline that must be followed to progress, you have an awful lot to think about to ensure you survive. Green Hell asks you to juggle many factors while you explore your new home. You must hunt for resources, kill animals, search for clues, find food and water, and build a shelter. Some basics are explained in your handy notebook, but much of the advanced technology requires trial and error.
This wouldn’t be so bad if the game wasn’t unfairly harsh, but Green Hell takes no prisoners! Everything in the jungle wants to kill you, scratch you, cut you, or maim you. Wild animals will attack if you try to kill them, ants bite you causing rashes and infections, leeches suck your blood, and the water is full of parasites. Your head will spin as you try to find the most basic of items to get from one day to the next. Yet, the horrific gameplay is oddly addictive and you’ll keep returning for more punishment. The more experienced you are, the easier it becomes, but it never gets to a point where it’s a walk in the park and this makes it so moreish.
A story of deceit, love and loss.
You take the role of Doctor Jake Higgins, an anthropologist who discovered a lost tribe called the Yabahuaca. He travels with his wife Mia who is a world-class interpreter and it is her job to form bonds with the tribes people. Their second visit to the Amazon doesn’t go as planned, as Mia wakes Jake using the radio. She is screaming for his help and Jake runs to where the tribe lives. He is chased away, where he barely escapes with his life! He awakens on the jungle floor with Mia, asking for him on the radio, and then he passes out again. Upon waking Jake is alone in the Amazon with no food, supplies or contact with the outside world. He must find out what has happened to Mia and survive his arduous time alone in this hostile environment.
From this point, you are free to play the game as you wish. You can build a wonderfully absurd shelter to live out your days or run around like a loon, just waiting to get killed. If you play the game as intended you’ll find clues that piece together the events that form the spine of this story. As the pieces of the jigsaw fall into place you realise why you were chased by the Yabahuaca. Tackling the story mode is a worthwhile and fulfilling experience, though it is not for the faint of heart. Finding all the clues is no easy task and you will have to plan correctly and take your time if you wish to survive.
It’s all in your mind.
We all despise the idea of becoming unwell, dirty or injured, but in Green Hell, it affects you more than this! If you do not manage your stats correctly, your sanity will be impacted. The jungle is a dangerous place at the best of times, but to allow your mind to play tricks on you is not wise. You must eat, sleep, and look after yourself, if you don’t you are very unlikely to survive.
Maintaining your stats is as simple as looking at your new fancy watch. Fortunately, Mia gifted you a top of the range timepiece that monitors your vital statistics and doubles as a compass. It’s almost like she knew you’d become stranded in a deadly jungle.
Green Hell offers more than the single-player mode.
Many survival games are aimed at solo players, who will spend their time formulating plans while creating shelters to increase their chances for as long as possible. Green Hell has taken a different route and allows up to four players to work together to survive this brutal experience. You can share the load, or master skills to progress your mini tribe. The online play adds a sense of community and makes resource gathering feel less of a grind, but it reduces the fear factor as you laugh and joke your way through the action.
If the brutality of the story wasn’t enough for you, Creepy Jar made it a bit tougher by offering a challenge mode. This condensed version of the main story asks you to; fight the tribes, create certain items, gather resources, or survive for as long as possible. It maintains the core concept of the game, but there is no chance to take a breather. The full-on style is all or nothing which led to some frustrating moments that weren’t as rewarding as the story experience.
To ensure that the gameplay remains balanced to your skill level, the developers created several difficulty settings. These alter whether the game hates you a little or an awful lot! With four levels to choose from, you will find the right setting to match your desired style. You also have the option for a “creative” mode that allows you to focus solely on surviving and building a shelter rather than searching for the clues and progressing the story.
So much death, but what a beautiful place to die in.
Death surrounds you in this beautiful looking game. The expansive jungle is incredible to look at, with its stunning mixture of fauna and wildlife to take in. The rich colours create real depth and the world has to be admired from the bug-ridden ground to the tops of the trees. The use of light and shade is wonderful, and the textures of the landscape are great to look at and add a realistic layer. With a high level of detail, and a massive open world to explore, you will not be bored by what you see, no matter how many hours you put into it.
The soundtrack and ambient sounds are wonderful to listen to. The gameplay is mostly accompanied by the noise of crunching leaves, birds singing, and animals hissing and crying. You will be kept on edge throughout and nighttime will fill you with dread. Playing this with headphones is a must as you will become lost in the engrossing audio. The acting in the cutscenes and the conversations between Jake and Mia are fantastic to listen to, and it’s performed to a high standard.
The controls are fiddly.
Green Hell was first released as a PC title in 2019. This port to console shows some elements work better with Mouse and Keyboard as the controls can be fiddly. The cursor is slow to move across the screen, and crafting items can be time-consuming. Other tasks such as inspecting your body and using your watch to check stats worked particularly well with a controller. Overall it has been ported successfully and the controls are smooth and responsive. The small niggles you’ll encounter are quickly overcome the more you play it.
The survival genre is renowned for its addictive titles. Green Hell is no exception as you’ll lose hours of your life trying to survive your jungle experience. The addition of extra game modes and multiplayer action only increased the replay value. A challenging achievement list requires a lot of patience and dedication to gain the 100% status.
Green Hell is horrible, brutal, but one hell of a survival game.
Playing Green Hell will push you to your limits. It isn’t so much a game, but a baptism of fire. Veterans of the genre will struggle because of its tough learning curve and harsh nature. I loved it even though it made me want to scream and survival fans will equally adore it. I recommend you buy a copy here! Hostile environments are bad enough, but being lost without supplies is a recipe for disaster. Can you live off the land and piece together the story, or will the jungle finish you?