Developed by Creepy Jar and published by Forever Entertainment, Green Hell is a hardcore survival game that really does warrant having the word “hell” in its title. It is currently available on Windows PC, PlayStation, XBox, and Nintendo Switch. For the purpose of this review, I will be talking about the Nintendo Switch version, played in handheld mode.
Without giving too much away, you play as Jake Higgins, an anthropologist and researcher in the Amazon rainforest. You are there with your wife Mia on a trip to make contact with the Yabahuca tribe. Mia goes on a solo trip to a nearby tribal village but things go wrong. As Jake, you have to try and find Mia and so your journey into Green Hell begins. This is a seriously extreme and in-depth survival experience. There is so much going on and so much to think about as you make your way through the jungle in an attempt to locate Jake’s wife.
You start Green Hell equipped with only one thing, your trusty smartwatch which is an essential tool to ensure your survival. The watch is not only your compass which you need to navigate the rainforest, it also keeps track of your macronutrient levels including fats, carbohydrates and protein. In order to replenish these levels, you must find food which can be gathered in many different forms such as animal meat, mushrooms, fish, fruit and nuts. Each food you find will replenish a different amount of a certain macronutrient. It is very much trial and error to see how each food will affect your hunger status, sanity, whether it will give you food poisoning or even parasites. Food can be cooked or eaten raw but with raw foods there is a chance they could give you food poisoning, parasites or decrease your sanity levels. This leads me nicely on to talk about Jake's sanity levels in the game. Your sanity can be affected by many different things including eating dubious foods, eating raw meats, sleeping on the ground with no shelter or bed, and injuries. Leeches can attach themselves to your limbs when you go into any water source which will also decrease your sanity unless you visually check and manually remove them. If your sanity drops too low, you start to hallucinate and hear voices in your head which can be very unnerving and is quite creepy, especially if you are playing the game audio through a headset.
Clean water is essential to your survival in Green Hell. Drinking dirty water can give you parasites which can deplete your macronutrients at a faster rate than normal. Clean water can be sourced by collecting rainwater or boiling dirty water which can be collected from any stream or river. You also need water to wash yourself if you get dirty. You can get parasites by eating or drinking while you are covered in dirt and this can also give you infections if you have any untreated wounds so it is very important that you clean yourself off as soon as possible once you see you are covered in dirt.
Pretty much everything in this game wants to kill you. There are countless animals and bugs that can poison you, scratch you, bite you, claw you, eat you from your insides and this game has a way for you to deal with them all. There are certain foods you can eat to remove parasites, you need to craft bandages to stop wounds getting infected, and gather plants to make anti-venom for poisonous bites. The level of detail in this is truly incredible but it all adds to the difficulty level.
Green Hell is very overwhelming when you first start out, I found myself too busy gathering food and water and trying to build a bed so I could save the game that I couldn't actually make any progress. Once you start getting on top of things though, this game really opens up and becomes a very enjoyable experience with a decent storyline to boot.
There are various game modes and difficulties you can choose from, including story mode, challenges, survival mode and Spirits of Amazonia. Story mode can be played both single and multiplayer with up to 4 friends. Survival mode is where you basically just get dropped into the jungle and must survive for as long as possible with no story attached. This is also available in single or multiplayer. Challenges can be found in the single player menu. They require you to complete tasks within a certain time frame within the game. You are unable to save the game in Challenges and this can only be played in Single player. Spirits of Amazonia serves as a prequel to the main story so should only be played once you finish the Story mode. This mode is available on single and multiplayer.
As previously mentioned, I played the Nintendo Switch version which does not come without its troubles. I found moving the cursor around and selecting various items from the backpack or certain pages from the notebook can be quite finickity and frustrating at times. On a PC with a mouse, I'm sure this would be fine but with thumbsticks on the Switch, the cursor was very jittery and the items in your backpack are extremely small in handheld mode which made selecting anything really quite tedious. I also found the notebook very difficult to read and to make out the pictures because of the small size of the screen.
Green Hell for me, does not play very well on the Nintendo Switch with a lot of performance issues. The downgrade in graphics makes seeing and making things out pretty difficult. Snakes are almost impossible to spot because everything merges into one blocky, blurry mess on the screen. The poor graphics make it very difficult to tell the difference between the different plant types which is critical to your survival so for what is already an incredibly brutal survival experience, it is made all the more difficult by the poor visual quality on the Nintendo console. In my opinion this has not been a very successful port onto the Switch.
With that being said, I still absolutely fell in love with this game, enough so that I will be buying this on another platform which will hopefully help with some of the performance issues I came across in this review. So to sum up, Green Hell is an incredibly in-depth, brutal and unforgiving survival experience which is not without its issues. I wish I could give this a higher score as I did love this game but the performance issues and finickity controls on the Nintendo Switch really do suck some of the enjoyment out of it. If a Nintendo Switch is all you have then I would still totally recommend Green Hell as it is a game that should be experienced by everyone.
PaultheBrave09’s Rating: 3.5 blood sucking leeches out of 5.
For more information on Green Hell please use the following links...
Many thanks to Forever Entertainment for the Review Key.