|a game by
|Snail Games USA, Inc.
|5.8/10, based on 2 reviews, 1 review is shown
|9.5/10 - 12 votes
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|Sandbox Games, Open World Games, Crafting Games, Games with Character Creation, Voxel Games, Games Like the Isle, Prehistoric Games, Ark Series
If there is one thing that will drive communities wild, it’s a crossover episode. In the world of gaming, we have seen plenty attempt at marrying different genres, franchises or concepts together to create a new product. While some have been a massive success such as the likes of Kingdom Hearts or Marvel vs Capcom, we have also seen mindless attempts such as Final Fantasy XV's Assassin's Creed themed area or Yoda from the Star Wars franchise being shamelessly chucked into a Soul Calibur game. It’s a fine line you have to toe to make these crossovers a success, as you have to appease to sets of fans instead of one. So with PixArk, it was a quest to please both the building game community and the survival game community which would return mixed results in practice.
This game plays rather like its two inspirations which are Minecraft and ARK: Survival Evolved. However, it also has some similarities to other titles like Rust, Hytale, Cube World and Stranded Deep. The game aims to offer players a relentless survival adventure while still maintaining the building mechanics and colourful whimsy of the Minecraft series and as you might expect, the game runs into some problems in doing so.
A good survival game is one that gives the player little resources with which to survive, a few pockets of safety and an abundance of perils that can come and knock over your proverbial tower of progress. However, this game does this in a way that makes the player feel patronised to the point of frustration. You will begin in your starting area and will be tasked with completing a series of simple tasks showing the basics of the game. While you do this, you will progress through levels at an exponential rate, sometimes for doing little to nothing. Leaving you with the feeling that you are on rails.
A survival game needs to offer a sense of freedom. If you want to take on a challenge that is well outside your means, you should at least have that option. Conan Exiles is a great example of a game that strikes this balance well. However, PixArk keeps you confined to your safe zone with any attempt to leave being quashed by a monster in a matter of seconds. So then you return to your chores and blindly follow orders until you have enough ability to leave your little bubble.
The game likes to throw a lot of status changes, debuffs and perks your way in an attempt to seem complex and nuanced. However, it seems that these are nothing more than pointless stats on a screen. The temperature of your character is often shown on screen and warns you if you are too hot or too cold but when push comes to shove, you won’t ever see any consequence to this. The same applies to levels. If you encounter a level one farm animal and engage it in a fight, it still hits with the same ferocity as a level thirty animal, again proving that this game only gives the illusion of complexity.
The game also doesn’t translate to console particularly well at all. You can tell through the controls, the poorly designed UI, the button bindings and the lack of cohesion with the mechanics in this title that it was made for a PC system and poorly ported to console. It leads to players wrestling with the game to get anything of substance done within this game, causing a great deal of frustration and in all honestly, we would be surprised if you had the patience to make it out of the starting zone.
Grounds For Divorce
Marrying two concepts together can be tough and it’s not something that we would ever criticize anyone for getting wrong. However, when you put so little effort into doing so, aim to trick your players with stats and mechanics that are broken or are meaningless and don’t even bother making it an optimized version for the hardware you are selling it on. Well, then that is grounds for criticism.
On top of all the other complaints, the art style is derivative, the sound quality is compressed and the gameplay is boring when you finally get things going.
If you enjoy survival or building based games and want the best of both worlds, do yourself a favour and look elsewhere because here you will find the worst version of each.
- The game doesn’t look too bad
- The taming mechanic is somewhat interesting
- The sound is very compressed and muffled
- The gameplay is patronising and broken in many areas
- The UI is dreadfully optimised