Survivor: The Game Review

I would like to announce the addition of a new guest writer. Adam Hughes of Gamer Mation is going to be doing select pieces for the site mainly video game reviews. His work will be showcased here and later featured on his site. Check some of his work out.

Surviver: The Game for the Nintendo Wii

Are you a fan of the hit reality TV series Survivor?  Well then your time would be better spent watching reruns of the show than playing Survivor for Wii.  Despite being named after and based on the TV show, the Survivor video game only has a few playable characteristics from the series.  The core of the game is just a series of mini games, much like other games out for the Wii.  Unfortunately, even the mini games aren’t very fun to play.

There are no difficulty settings, but you can choose whether you want to play single player or multiplayer.  The multiplayer will have each person playing as a separate tribe and competing in the challenges.  In single player adventure mode you can pick whether you want to be the red or yellow tribe.  Once your tribe of eight is selected, you compete in Reward and Immunity challenges to get the opportunity to vote people from the other tribe off.  You choose which of your tribe’s members will compete in a challenge based on a list of three challenges that they’re good at.  Winning Reward challenges will give your tribe an advantage during Immunity challenges.  Winning an Immunity challenge will give you the opportunity to get rid of a member of the opposing tribe.  If you lose an Immunity challenge, a random person from your own tribe is voted off.  Just like in the show, Jeff Probst extinguishes their torch and they leave.

There is a simple Rock, Paper, Scissors game to decide which tribe gets to go first in any challenge that both participants aren’t on the screen at the same time.  Before each challenge there is a brief tutorial which explains how to move the Wii controller and nunchuck and which buttons to press to clear the obstacles and perform the tasks.  If you miss what the next challenge is going to be before ending up in the character selection screen, there isn’t a way to find out.  All of the voting is done in Tribal Council, which you must first have an awkward eight second staring contest with the emotionless face of Jeff Probst before entering.  The idea of a council doesn’t really apply in the game though, since you pick who to vote off the opposing tribe and whoever leaves your tribe is completely random.  Win or lose the game and all you get is a very plain congratulatory screen or a simple game over, respectively.

As you play each challenge in adventure mode, it is unlocked in arcade mode where you can play the challenges any time you want without any tribes or voting.  This is the only replay value that I could possibly see in the game.  However, the challenges are so common, easy, or just plain not entertaining that I’m not sure who would want to punish themselves playing through them again.  Even the adventure mode is easy since you can save after every challenge.  If you do happen to fumble a challenge, and it will happen because some of the tutorials are pretty bad, all you have to do is restart from your last save.

There are several things that they could have included in Survivor to make it more like the show and more entertaining to play.  A major aspect of the show is camp life and how people interact and form alliances.  So why not include a camp life aspect of the game where a player can do quests and build rapport with specific tribe mates?  If there was a little back story to each member, you could try to determine which players it would be most advantageous to align with.  The creators had so many seasons of the Survivor show to work from, there are literally hundreds of challenges that they could have included.  However, what they did was create twenty-four challenges most of them very similar and few of them very realistic.

There is no story to speak of; the soundtrack is straight from the show; the challenges are disappointing; and the game play is so simple that it’s easy to beat in an hour or two.  The graphics are so bad that they’re actually a hindrance during a few of the challenges.  This game could have been entertaining, but it was a huge failure.  The scores out of ten are:

Originality: 2

Entertainment: 3

Storyline: 1

Graphics and Sound: 4

Difficulty: 2

Repeatability: 2

Overall Rating: 2.5