Away: The Survival Series, developed by the Breaking Walls studio, that counts with veterans of the video game industry, is a title that at first glance looks quite promising. The idea of exploring a beautiful island while hovering in the air, impersonating a Sugar glider, a species found in certain parts of Australia, tingles the senses of the most adventurous. However, and as the name implies “Away”, it is the word that hovered over my head all the time, until I beat the title…
The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic environment, where all humans are extinct, and begins very promisingly with the introduction of our quirky character named Joey, and his family, which includes his mother and sister, who’s super connected with her mother. For the most unrelated with animal “things”, when the cubs are still very small, they tend to remain attached to their mothers, as they move more quickly, thus avoiding attacks from other animals.
The family is moving to a new area of the forest. In between, they find some challenges, and even with all the care, the unexpected happens and a vulture captures his family. So it’s up to the player to save his mother and sister from the clutches of the enemy.
This title is split between story mode and exploration mode. The story mode tells the previously presented story lasting up to five hours. It could have been a very rewarding experience, I mean, who doesn’t want to save their family by controlling a pretty cute creature with gliding mechanics? But… the controls are terrible. Camera control often leaves the player completely bewildered, the “free” jumping mechanic is quite strange, and the way the character moves while hovering is extremely imprecise. There is a little help when it comes to jumping, as the game allows you to “lock” the platforms where you are supposed to jump. Without this, it would have been a hell of an experience.
During the four hours of gameplay, I ran into a lot of problems both graphically and mechanically. The camera’s focus is always focusing and blurring the character, which can cause a feeling of seasickness, glitches where the character drops to infinity as he jumps to new platforms. The map can sometimes be confusing, although it’s not very big sometimes it’s hard to see which way to go. In this sense, there is the focus option, which allows the player to enter this trance state mode, sharpening all their senses and thus being able to discover the line that indicates the location of the path to follow, animals and/or plants that they can capture to recover life and enemies. All of these are displayed in different colors to distinguish them more easily.
Has anyone mentioned combat in a game of this style? It’s true, there are clashes with other animals. And it’s again a festival of poorly optimized mechanics. In this sense, the little Sugar Glider can dodge by pressing the R1 and L1 button and an attack button. The food is only for the purpose of restoring life and consequently the hunger bar. If there is no food bar the life bar starts to go down.
Regarding the exploration mode, it allows the player to have different animals by means of a small scintillant spore released by a tree. This mode is almost a kind of “pokémon” where the objective is to collect all the animals present in the glossary.
Alas Away: The Survival Series looks unfinished, with pretty bad controls and mechanics. At first glance, it looks quite promising with textures and colors that turn out to be pretty but in the long run, it’s just that.
[This review is based on a retail build of the game for PS5, provided by Breaking Walls]