18/06/2020

๐Ÿ️๐Ÿ”ฅ Isle of Spirits | XBOX | Review | "A Casual Survival Game" ๐Ÿ️๐Ÿ”ฅ @games_bullet #IndieGames #GameDev

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Isle Of Spirits is a casual survival game based on accessibility and simplicity, Isle of Spirits has some really solid ideas but is let down by an oddly rigid, unforgiving end-game and a lack of diversity in the gameplay.

Isle of Spirits begins with your character washed up on the shores of a deserted island, his goal? Escape. 

To do this, you’ll need to build a raft by collecting stone, wood, plants and the like from around the island and lashing them all together so that you can sail to safety.

With its bright visuals, calming music and initially casual gameplay, it really is fun to saunter around the island, picking up items and combining them in your inventory to edge ever closer to success. 

It’s not all clear sailing, however. Working against you are hunger, warmth and tiredness meters that need to be juggled by eating, lighting a fire or sleeping (which will naturally use valuable wood resources), you can also build a basic shack to take cover from the elements. This whole early segment of the game is when it is at its strongest as you deal with keeping your little redheaded dude alive and healthy as you explore the mysteries of the island.

It becomes clear however that, aside from picking up food and materials, there is little to do and apparently, no deviation from the main goal. 
The focus here is to get off the island and, as such, means that you can’t really do anything else other than work towards the main raft-building goal. 

The game also only saves after each evening and the nights are where the biggest threat lays, as you lose health in darkness due to unseen threats that linger in the shadows. This means that as soon as the light starts to fade, it’s time to either get back to your camp or knock up a new one ASAP!

The island does have some quirky moments such as a seemingly sentient whirlwind scooping up your camp and moving it across the map – which is randomly generated each playthrough – but overall there appears to be a strange disconnection between the ‘casualness’ – accessibility, simplicity and tone – and the actual gameplay – instant death upon entering the water, fast-draining gauges, very direct gameplay loop– and this really comes to a head towards the end game, after a few hours whereby the season changes from Summer to Winter and the game turns into a war of attrition, lighting a fire to keep your warmth up as you hack down a tree (which gives you five wood) and then making your way across to more trees, lighting campfires across the way (which cost three wood each). 

It really drives home the repetitious aspects of the game and makes the change of season and thus scenery a chore more than enjoyable variation.
Isle of Spirits is technically a sound game, it runs smoothly and is both visually and sonically appealing but that cross-interest of the casual presentation against the actually relatively stringent gameplay mechanics in play make this a tough one to recommend. 

If you are a fan of crafting games and like the thought of a very direct gameplay loop with little deviation, then please check out Isle of Spirits, as long as you aren’t expecting the depth of gameplay and variety that you are perhaps used to in the genre.
๐Ÿ’ง❄️ RATING: MELTING ❄️๐Ÿ’ง


Ratings Explained
ICE COOL (Great Game Recommended)
MELTING (Recommended with reservations, one to consider if you are a fan of the genre)
MELTED (Not A Recommended Purchase)

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