REVIEW: Avatar Survival Games

If you ever wanted to unleash your inner Jennifer Lawrence (and I’m talking ‘Katniss Everdeen’ Jennifer Lawrence here, not ballroom dancing Jennifer Lawrence), Avatar Hunger Games… er, Avatar Survival Games ($1.00) is a pretty good outlet for releasing that whole pent-up, ‘down with totalitarian regimes’ rage. No regimes come crumbling down here, but it does break with the ‘indie FPS status quo’ to offer a tense and unique take on multiplayer deathmatch.

Avatar Survival Games - Screen

The inspiration is plainly obvious, though the style accommodates for the ‘survival’ aspect rather well. And while it’s long been a cheap shortcut for developers to avoid designing characters, the fact that you use your avatar identity here actually helps to personalize the fight and make it more visceral. Allowing for up to eight players, in a Battle Royale, ‘winner takes all’ scenario, matches start off with the requisite scramble to the weapon stocks on the opposite side of the field.

This random assortment means not every combatant is created equal. Though there’s enough in play that everyone will be armed after the initial dash, the weapons vary in range and effectiveness. Swords and axes naturally make for devastating melee tools, provided you are close enough, while bows, blowguns (with poison darts), crossbows and others grant you some invaluable space from which to attack, with limited ammunition. Both have their logical advantages and disadvantages, and it’s this trade-off, the posturing and the dancing, that escalates the fight.

Some tactics and planning are essential as well. Though you’re certainly welcome to come out swinging / slinging, you only have one life to live per round. The questions is raised. Do you risk an immediate assault, or hold back and let the others thin the herd? Either style is possible. The map is huge, with plenty of cover and underground space. Supporting items, like mines and traps, further tweak the battlefield, making each step potentially more treacherous than the last, depending on how you play.

Avatar Survival Games - Screen2

Players can rank up via kills, and the one critique I have comes with its wacky, wonky system for doing so, that shows some players with higher XP totals but lower skill levels. A few have even complained of progress being suddenly reset. There are no unlocks by gaining levels, however, and it doesn’t seem to have any other effect or purpose, except to make for a confusing situation on the online leaderboards and tarnishing individual bragging rights (the real crime, some would say). Minus that and some online hiccups, it’s a generally fun experience.

With the huge success of the Hunger Games books and accompanying films, it’s strange that the action side of the property hasn’t been used to greater effect in videogame form (cheesy Facebook / Mobile iterations don’t count). Given how well it translates to a competitive FPS in Avatar Survival Games, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the idea expanded upon by a bigger publisher at some point. For now, though, this indie homage is more than up to the task.

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16 thoughts on “REVIEW: Avatar Survival Games”

    1. If you haven’t already tried, I would delete the game from your Xbox drive, clear your cache, and then re-download. If that doesn’t fix it, you could try contacting the developer on Twitter. Maybe it’s a known bug, or others are having similar issues:

      https://twitter.com/raoghard

      Hope that helps.

  1. Guild Wars 2 created a more complex and replayable version of this sort of Arena back around 6-8 weeks ago or so. They call it Southsun Survival, and also introduces the necessity to forage for food to keep from starving to death. In addition to that, they approach the problem avoiding boredom for the players that die immediately by turning them into ghosts and allowing the ghosts to run around and find “revenge nodes” to collect enough points to haunt surviving players (who cannot see the ghosts) and summon monsters to try to do them in.

    I’m intending to check this title out later today, but having played Southsun Arena, I suspect it’s probably the best look right now at what a large publisher would try to do with this sort of concept.

    1. Hmm, then it wasn’t a big idea waiting to happen. Just when you think you’ve got a concept that’s never been done to a greater extent, someone’s had a copy of it up for years. 🙂

      Sounds like it’s more playable than Avatar Survival Games’ version of the idea, but considering the indie channel for what it is, not a bad game for $1. If you’re used to better, though, ASG won’t hold up for long. Thanks for the info!

    2. I checked it out. It’s really not bad! I’m always wary of Avatar games feeling rushed and unfinished, but this is one of the more interesting titles that I’ve played. Certainly a nice bargain for $1!

    3. Agreed! Not as full-featured as the Guild Wars version, as you said, but a bargain. I’ve given the developer crap for some of his previous multiplayer FPSers (which went for unique angles as well), but I think he’s gotten it mostly right on this one. Two review wins in a row now (he also made the horror / Slender-like ‘Saturn 9’), and the rating is holding pretty steady at four stars. Looks like people dig it.

    1. Oh no he doesn’t.
      Its Friday the Thirteenth.
      He’ll get a machete to the neck now.
      Unles he can survive to 12:00AM.
      Good luck Strange.
      May the odds ever be in your favor.

  2. I found Avatar Honor and Duty to seem better, but I don’t have gold so I guess I wouldn’t really know.
    At least it seemed better than Avatar Warfare.

    1. AHAD is speedier, certainly, and instant respawns help keep it moving. Avatar Warfare was good for what it did (or so I thought). With ASG, the controls are a little slower, more nuanced. Easier to lead targets, I thought. Different developer / game entirely, but it kinda reminded me of Shark Attack Deathmatch’s pacing. More ‘weighty’ feel, I guess.

  3. Are the servers well populated? The big problem with multiplayer XBLIG games is always that the amount of players determines, ultimately, the playability of them long-term. I am most excited about the intriguing (im)balance the game offers, something that AAA FPS just cannot afford to do.

    1. For now, yes, I would say they’re relatively well-populated. At least 7-10 matches going at any given time (better at night, it seems). with five (or more) players per match. Most of my games were full. Even with the long wait (if you die early) a lot of the people stayed in the match to spectate instead of leaving. You’re right in saying that it’s a different kind of FPS, which should attract more notice.

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