I'm not going to lie to you guys and say I'm some kind of gliding king. In fact, as I've learned, I'm pretty bad at it. I got a chance to play a demo of AWAY: The Survival Series, an upcoming game where you play as a sugar glider. Specifically, the demo shows off the gliding element of the game. It's only about fifteen minutes long, but it gave me a quick cute look into AWAY, and I'm excited for a chance to see some more.
The demo is rather simple. You play as a sugar glider and need to hunt down a grasshopper flying away from you. To do so, you'll jump off a log and take off gliding after it. The controls are anything but complicated. You just glide at a fast pace and need to catch the grasshopper. There are a pair of buttons that cause your sugar glider to dodge to the right or left rapidly, which helps you keep out of the way of trouble. Or, if you're like me, you'll dodge into a tree and watch as your sad little squirrel proceeds to ragdoll hilariously on to the forest floor. A sad fate that I sure saw happen a lot.
Thankfully I eventually managed to figure out how to thread the needle in a way that stopped me from dying. Now, I just had to actually catch the grasshopper. To do that, I had to hit various blue bubbles along the path. Each one would give me a much-needed speed boost. Only by skillfully hitting these points could I finally snag my tasty treat. The demo consists of three different chases. While all three take place in the same level, they go through vastly different regions. I rarely felt like I was exploring the same section more than once.
After I caught the grasshopper the third time, I could stick around for a special "exploration mode." Here I could glide to my content, not having to hit boosts or chases after things if I didn't want to. There were some special zones that I could interact with though. I entered one and it turned me into a rat, letting me see the game world from a different perspective. I couldn't actually do much as the rat other than swipe a single claw and run about. Still, the cute interactions make me wonder what other animals AWAY features in the full game.
The game world is also quite interesting to watch gliding by. It's lovely, with the dense forests looking fantastic to fly through. As I duck through caves and between trees, I sure feel like there's a lot to take in. Things didn't quite look as good on the ground floor while I was playing the rat. I also didn't really get the feeling that the level was specific to that animal, so this made sense to me. The level was also accompanied with both narration and music that sound like it came right out of a nature documentary, something that manages to fit the tone of the level amazingly well.
While this is only a very small and early slice of the full game, I'm quite excited for AWAY: The Survival Series after this. There's just something about gliding down a cliff and catching grasshoppers that totally works for me. It's impressive how well AWAY manages to hit that nature documentary tone. You get to see cute animals being cute, up until that very horrifying moment when they're not. It's amazing, and I need to see more episodes of it.
TechRaptor played a demo of AWAY: The Survival Series that was provided by the developers. The game is currently on Kickstarter and will be launching in 2020 for PC and PlayStation 4.