ReviewsReview: Dysmantle

Review: Dysmantle

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The world is coming to an end, so what are you going to do? Will you panic, break the law, or hide in a corner waiting for the inevitable? Or will you plan, build, and survive? Dysmantle tells one man’s story of when he beat the odds only to find apocalyptic monsters blocking his path! Will this be his end, or will he fight to live another day?

Developed and published by 10Tons, this is an apocalyptic survival title. This grim open-world game allows for both solo and couch co-op action. Furthermore, it isn’t obsessed with statistics, so gamers won’t feel weighed down or overwhelmed. It leans heavily on exploration and quest mechanics, but its semi-linear approach allows you to play as you wish.

Dysmantle is brilliantly balanced. 

I’m always concerned when I start anything in the survival genre. I worry that it’ll be too realistic, too hardcore, and too much of a time sink! Fortunately, Dysmantle strikes a fantastic balance between fun, surreal, and addictive action. Its resource gathering elements could be deemed a “grind fest”, but I adored the constant back and forth. Every journey you take is thwarted by danger, and the further you travel, the harder it gets. Yet, 10Tons has incorporated multiple respawn points as you light campfires en route.

This excellent mechanic allows you to explore with little risk. There is nothing worse than losing tons of loot because of a mistake. Luckily, this has been reduced considerably and the gameplay benefits exponentially. As well as the campfires, you will find landmarks, abandoned buildings, and hordes of zombies. Many of these additional structures form the backbone of quests and other tasks. It was enthralling to stumble across secret locations while evading the attention of the undead.

Survival has never been so tough.

A run-of-the-mill plot in an exceptional game. 

If you adore apocalyptic themed entertainment, and you’re are obsessed with the survival genre, then the run-of-the-mill plot won’t amaze you. However, don’t be put off! The well-trodden story is surrounded by amazing elements, and this makes Dysmantle an exceptional game. Its deceptively deep gameplay got under my skin and I couldn’t stop playing it. I don’t know whether it’s the joy of slaying zombies or gathering resources, but I was hooked!

You are a survivor who has hidden in his bunker for years. Your supplies have run out and subsequently, you must leave or die! Venturing out, you have no idea of what to expect, but you know you must fight for your life. Armed with weak tools and nothing else, you must scavenge, fight, and steal whatever is useful. You quickly realise that everything wants to kill you and resources will deplenish. Consequently, you need to leave the cursed island before your luck and time runs out. You must find a way to upgrade your equipment while discovering the surrounding secrets. It’s intriguing, full of surprises, and wonderfully enjoyable.

RPG elements and a massive amount of resources. 

Though Dysmantle isn’t complicated, it has an in-depth levelling and crafting system. This was fascinating to unlock, as it distracted you from the zombie hordes. Every action you complete earns you XP, this levels you up and unlocks new equipment and skills. You can choose to befriend animals, improve crop growth, increase health, or gather more items. How you wish to specialise is up to you, and this makes each playthrough unique.

You can carry a crowbar, machete, spade, sickle, fishing rod, and more. Each item is essential to your survival and can be upgraded. Every improvement allows you to gather new resources which, in turn, improve or unlock new equipment. It’s a crazy ride that never stops from beginning to end, yet I never tired of it. The constant search for resources forces you to venture into greater danger, and that was a brilliant twist.

You’ll slay wildlife for meat, grow crops for recipes, and smash furniture, fences, and more for building materials. You’ll balance must-have items with upgrades, and deciding between the two can be tough. At times, it feels like you are spinning many plates, but it was never overwhelming.

The darkness won’t save you!

Dysmantle has a massive and grim world to explore. 

If I ignore the fantastic mechanics and horrible zombies, I can admire the phenomenal setting. The large open world of Dysmantle is fantastic to explore! It blends a variety of locations while filling you with dread. Whether it was dilapidated buildings, abandoned farms, or empty army bases, each will make you shiver. Furthermore, the oppressive world is filled with an array of brain chewing zombies. Every variety has its own style and appearance and this was great. Moreover, you’ll love the super undead, which is tough as hell and horrendous on the eye.

Exploration is easy thanks to a wonderfully designed UI. The clutter-free screen is supported by a free-flowing camera. Luckily, this ensures there is never a blind spot, and this helps to overcome foes and find treasure. 10Tons has combined some fantasy imagery and colours with a mainly natural style. The strange twist on normality was creepy, and this makes the action a little unnerving.

This blend of realism and fantasy continues with the excellent audio. A well-thought-out soundtrack adds drama and emotion to each journey. Furthermore, loud and aggressive sound effects support every action while infusing every zombie with energy. It was petrifying to hear screams and the banging of the undead as you tried to escape with your life.

It won’t know what hit it.

Unbelievably easy to play.

Dysmantle has a simple concept, but there are many layers to understand. Therefore, I expected it to be hard to pick up and challenging to master. Fortunately, though, I was wrong. The developers have incorporated a thorough tutorial and hint system to guide you through the opening moments. This is supported further thanks to the use of submenus and a well-mapped controller set-up. Moreover, its responsive controls make it a joy to play.

I’ve been hooked on this from the moment I installed it! Its simple approach and resource gathering demand that you keep playing. You’ll push yourself to keep exploring and will die repeatedly. However, this matters not! Your body will remain unless you are slain again. Simply use the excellent minimap to find your corpse, loot it, and continue your adventure. I loved its balance of survival mechanics and brutality, and this makes it moreish from the start.

Dysmantle is a gem of an indie title. 

Indie games saturate the market, yet, occasionally, I find a gem. 10Tons have taken the best elements from each genre to create a top-quality, must-play experience. Other than the grinding mechanics, everything else is perfect. I loved it and I recommend you to buy it here! Surviving is no mean feat, but will you back down to the undead? Scour for resources, improve your equipment, and escape the island no matter the cost. 

SUMMARY

Dysmantle is a phenomenal survival adventure title. It picks the best elements from each genre and blends them to create a gem of an indie title. You must explore, hunt, kill, and escape the cursed island.

+ Excellent graphics.
+ Eerie audio.
+ Easy to handle.
+ Wonderfully addictive.
+ Great value for money.
+ A gem of an indie title.
+ In-depth levelling and crafting system.
- The resource gathering may be too "grindy" for some.

(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on PC, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation.)
Daniel Waite
Daniel Waite
My gaming career started on an Amiga and spans many consoles! Currently, I game using an MSI laptop and Xbox Series X. A fan of every genre, I love to give anything a go. Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I'm loving my new home here at Movies Games and Tech. I can be contacted for gaming reviews on the following email: [email protected]

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Dysmantle is a phenomenal survival adventure title. It picks the best elements from each genre and blends them to create a gem of an indie title. You must explore, hunt, kill, and escape the cursed island.<br/> <br/> + Excellent graphics.<br/> + Eerie audio.<br/> + Easy to handle.<br/> + Wonderfully addictive.<br/> + Great value for money.<br/> + A gem of an indie title.<br/> + In-depth levelling and crafting system. <br/> - The resource gathering may be too "grindy" for some.<br/> <br/> (Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on PC, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation.)<br/>Review: Dysmantle