Desolate is an Early Access survival horror game that poses all sorts of questions. Why are horrific monsters all over the island? What turned the residents turned into angry madmen? Who is this voice speaking inside my head? As a volunteer for The New Light conglomerate, you are tasked with figuring out and fixing what happened on Granichny island before the news makes it to the rest of the world.
The game places you alone or with up to four players as you explore bandit camps, run-down hospitals, and other remnants of a past era. While exploring, you have to manage five conditions: health, hunger, thirst, stress, and temperature. Each meter affects your character in different ways, making it harder for you to survive if you don't tend to them. You can scavenge items from the environment to craft food, weapons, and other helpful tools. It's typical survival stuff, but what makes Desolate stand out is its story.
As mentioned, island residents are going insane. Weird portals are opening, alien creatures are roaming, and rumors of ghosts haunting the area are scaring the few rational residents left. The conglomerate is sending you on missions, but others say you're just their puppet. The different groups try to pin you against one another, negatively contributing to your characters waning sanity. With eleven or so hours of story content so far, there are multiple twists that have me excited for further updates.
Exploration consistently reminds me of Fallout 4, but with a focus on the horrific aspects of a post-apocalyptic world. There are remarkably few safe spaces, and each area has jump scares and eerie moments to keep you feeling tense. Overall, Desolate is an intriguing blend of the horror and survival genres. As someone who doesn't particularly enjoy survival titles, the constant sense of dread is weirdly attractive to me.
For my full first impressions, check out the video up above. The game is out now on Steam Early Access, and the developers are planning to put out the full version before the end of the year.
Desolate was played on Steam Early Access with a code provided by the developer.
Do you like the horror elements in Desolate, or do you prefer less scary survival games? Have you been playing solo or with a group of friends? Let us know in the comments below!