Green Hell welcomes you to the jungle, but it’s far from fun and games. Everything is out to get you, nothing is safe, and your death is pretty much inevitable. Developed and published by Creepy Jar, this survival title is unlike any other I’ve played, and I’ve jumped into my fair share. Yet, despite the constant threat of death lurking behind every tree and in every sip of dirty water you consume, I keep returning for more punishment.
Taking place in the Amazon rainforest, Green Hell sees you arriving in a remote location with your wife as she looks to make contact with an indigenous tribe. It’s a place you have been to before, but things have changed, and your memories of what went on previously aren’t all that clear. But we’ll cover more about your first trip there in our upcoming review of the Spirits of Amazonia prequel storyline that was recently added to the game.
In the core game, your wife splits off from you to make contact with the tribe, whilst you’re left at your camp to do some research and collect data on exotic plants. However, the jungle can be a cruel place, and without spoiling things too much, you fear for your wife’s safety and go looking for her, but startled by noises and rustling bushes, you end up running away. The next thing you know, you awake on a small patch of dirt with your walkie talkie in front of you, with no clue what happened or where you are.
From this point, you’re on your own in this Green Hell. You’ll have to navigate your way through the jungle to find help and try to establish contact with your wife. Piecing things together to try and understand why you’re there and what is going on. It’s an intriguing storyline that will see you taking hallucinogenics and have the game messing with your mind. What I really like though is that it doesn’t restrict you, allowing you to navigate the world of Green Hell however you want to, once you’re able to find what you need to get around.
In order to progress through the game, you’ll have to gather information and materials, craft tools and shelter, and eat what you can find in order to survive. The only assistance you’ll have is a journal which you record information in and your walkie talkie to contact your wife, but even then, she has no idea where you are either so some help she is. Safe to say, survival is a lot more difficult than it sounds.
One reason is that as I stated at the beginning, everything is out to kill you. That cute looking frog? Poisonous. Fancy a dip? Leeches will suck you dry. Want a bite to eat? Well, now you’ve gone and got worms. And that’s all without mentioning the deadly creatures that lurk on the jungle floor, and the indigenous tribal folk who don’t take a liking to your kind. It’s annoying, but also the attention to detail that I love to see in a game. They’ve literally thought about every possible threat and created that in the game.
Just when you think you’re safe, that’s when you need to be on your guard. Because there will no doubt be something waiting for you to make a mistake and strike. Fortunately, though, you can build weapons, shelter and even find food and plants that will help you last that little bit longer after every death. Basically, the more you play this game, the more chance you have of surviving.
In order to get the materials you’ll need to get you through Green Hell in one piece, albeit with some new scars to tell the grandchildren about, you’ll have to forage. Chop down trees, collect stones, pick vines from the trees. Almost everything around you is usable in some way or another. And if you don’t have what you need, it’s possible to breakdown some items into others that may help you finish off that lovely hut you’re building, or to set up a trap to catch tea.
Don’t worry if you don’t want to play the story though, and you just want to put your survival skills to the test, you can jump straight into Green Hell’s survival mode. The gameplay is exactly the same, except it’s more of an endurance mode, just to see how long you can last. And fortunately, in this mode, you can play with other players, and teamwork can help out massively when it comes to making it through Green Hell. That and watching every Bear Grylls series in existence.
But, whilst the two modes do differ in purpose, there is one common factor they both share in order to make you not want to punch your monitor repeatedly. And that’s building a shelter to save your progress. You’ve manually got to do this, it won’t do it for you, which only adds to the survival element of the game because there is no one to blame but yourself if something goes wrong. And there is nothing worse than making it so far, just to die stupidly because you thought that mushroom would be ok, or you didn’t check for leeches before you went to bed, and you have to start all over again.
It doesn’t matter how many times you die though, you’ll still enjoy exploring the beautiful and incredibly detailed world around you, even if you are frustrated you just lost an hour’s progress. Everything from the shadowing of the trees on the ground, to the ripples in the water and the wildlife that thrives on the economic climate of the Amazon, has been created in such detail you can’t help but admire it.
Add to that the sounds of the jungle, it creates such an amazing atmosphere fit for a survival game such as Green Hell. You’ll shiver in fear and anticipation at every noise you hear. You’ll be constantly looking over your shoulder, jumping for your life at the sound of a rattlesnake’s tail warning you, or the buzzing of hornets nested in a tree. It all complements the game perfectly. The dedication that has been put into making this game is fully appreciated by this guy.
The one issue I did have with Green Hell, and maybe it’s me just being picky, but it can seem a little unfair. I’m all for a game being difficult, and I love a challenge. But when you approach a tribes person and then a jaguar pounces in on the action, and they handicap you like this was the WWE. Well, I felt like I was being royally f****d over.
I thought when I saw the big cat, I could run away and leave the two fighting each other whilst I made a break for survival. How wrong was I? Maybe they have some spiritual connection, maybe I was just unlucky. But what I would like to see, is if that scenario happens again, both AI don’t just focus on you but attack each other too.
Green Hell overall thoughts
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. Green Hell welcomes you to the jungle, but it’s far from fun and games. Everything is out to get you, nothing is safe, and your death is pretty much inevitable. However, despite the challenges put to you, it’s an incredibly detailed game that is really well made and such a joy to play.
Green Hell puts your skills and decision making to the test, and will not just make your character lose their mind, but it’ll mess with yours too. Despite being salty about the tag-team situation with the natives, I can’t help but keep torturing myself by going back for more Green Hell. And if you’re into survival games as well, I suggest you pay a visit to the Amazon as well.
Green Hell was developed and published by Creepy Jar, and is available now for console and PC. You can find more information on the official website HERE, and will be able to find our upcoming review of the new Spirits of Amazonia storyline HERE.