“Dysmantle” is a free-to-play, multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game developed by Bigpoint Games. The player creates and controls an army of units called “building blocks”. These are then used to destroy the opponent’s base in order to achieve victory.

Dysmantle Review: Break 'em | Dysmantle

I haven’t “completed” Dysmantle, but I don’t believe that reaching the “end” is the objective of most survival/crafting games in the first place. If such were the true, Dysmantle’s map would not be so large, according to studio 10Tons Ltd. It’s practically hard to see everything in even 25 hours. 

Between battling zombies, collecting materials, and exploring the island setting’s abandoned towns and countrysides, I discovered that Dysmantle is a solid survival/crafting game.

Although it may take a few hours for all of its aspects to come together, and it isn’t as deep in certain places as I would have liked, the quality of the major loops compensates for many of the flaws that may drag down the experience.

Break ’em with Dysmantle!

Dysmantle begins simple enough: it’s been a few years after the world ended due to an unknown zombie epidemic. The unidentified player character has been sheltering in a Fallout-style subterranean bunker to evade the worst of the apocalypse.

When their food supply runs out, they abandon their isolated existence to attempt to flee their island home with just a crowbar and a bag. From then, Dysmantle’s sole goal is to acquire the necessary resources to escape the island and upgrade your gear in order to remain alive long enough to journey elsewhere. 

There isn’t much in the way of a major tale, but there are plenty of smaller, more limited storylines to be found among the numerous side tasks you’ll find while exploring the island. The few major plot beats usually focus on the mystery of what occurred on the island, although much of that information is restricted to broadcasted audio recordings from someone who seems to be the only other person alive on the island.

Unfortunately, they lack individuality, and since the radios are spread around the vast landscape, I felt like I was missing out on a significant portion of the action because I knew I wouldn’t be able to locate them all.

That said, it’s a wonderful hands-off approach to storytelling that may be a welcome change from AAA gaming’s very theatrical and complex tales. However, anybody seeking for even the tiniest amount of character out of Dysmantle’s survival narrative may be disappointed.

It’s evident that the plot isn’t the emphasis here, considering how much of a backseat it gets. Instead, Dysmantle focuses on its crafting and survival features. Dysmantle gets a lot right in terms of crafting, depending on how nicely the growth is implemented. Given the restrictions of the dinky crowbar, you won’t be able to locate a lot of resources right away, but as you level up, you’ll be able to build all kinds of additional tools that allow you new ways to shatter things.

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When it comes to learning new crafting recipes, Dysmantle may be a little intimidating at first; there are much more goods to create than you could ever expect to manufacture. However, as time goes on, this slows down significantly, allowing you to think more critically about what tools will be required to get additional resources and advance missions even farther. 

Mining and creating resources has a terrific loop that may get addictive. When I took a short break from work, I would regularly pick up Dysmantle, intending to play for 30 minutes but finding myself still playing two hours later with enough wood to construct a large mansion in the midst of the forest.

However, here is where the issues with the crafts arise. There isn’t much, if any, structural construction going on in this area. You can’t set up barriers to keep groups of zombies (or ex-humans, as the game affectionately refers to them) apart or construct a cold-weather shelter. Upgrades to your weapons, clothes, resource collecting gear, and survival instruments are all available via crafting.

That must imply that Dysmantle’s other key concern is survival, although that isn’t entirely correct. Typical survival mechanisms such as regulating hunger and thirst, as well as keeping track of how much sleep you get, are absent. There is a cooking mechanism to assist you enhance things like maximum health, but you don’t need to worry about eating to keep alive, as Dysmantle reminds you when you locate your first cooktop.

The game also maintains track of how many in-game days have passed since you first left your bunker for whatever reason, although there’s no logical justification for it. In other games with permadeath systems, this may be used to keep track of how long you’ve gone without dying and creating a new character, but in Dysmantle, death is more of a nuisance than anything else, so the counter isn’t really useful. 

Unfortunately, the only classic survival mechanic there is ensuring that you are protected from the weather, which essentially translates to constructing a thick coat for northern, freezing places and the shortest khakis possible for desert and jungle situations.

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It may be claimed that taking care of the numerous zombies that have taken over the island’s previous residents is the genuine survival aspect, but that leaves a lot to be desired; zombie combat comes down to striking a zombie with an item and then dodging their assaults.

In classic zombie-game fashion, there are a variety of zombie kinds to choose from, ranging from standard zombies to nimble mutants with blades for hands. However, fighting is quite superficial, and the many mutations don’t vary much from encounter to encounter.

Dysmantle may sometimes lock all the doors, play a choir, and have you face a monster, although most of them are just bigger copies of zombies you’ve previously fought with a simple gimmick. The only standouts are the massive mech battles that take place at a few key spots, but they’re only notable for breaking things up, not for introducing anything new.

The overall loop of Dysmantle is gratifying and, at times, mesmerizing, despite being shallow in a few areas. The crashing noises of kitchen tables, lawn chairs, and metal grates provide as a soundtrack to the quiet of exploring an entirely deserted island.

Despite its post-apocalyptic premise, Dysmantle is a pleasant craft-a-thon suitable for anybody who like collecting resources to enhance a character so they may go out and get even more resources.

The Bottom Line in the Dysmantle Review

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Pros

  • Progress that is satisfying
  • Gameplay that is relaxing.
  • Environments that are interesting and diverse
  • Map with a lot of space
  • a narrative where you don’t have to do anything

Cons

  • Combat engagements that are repeated
  • Survival mechanics that are too simple
  • Upgrades that are solely dependent on gear
  • Outside of setpieces, there is no soundtrack.

Looking back on Dysmantle, it’s simple to understand why the game has such a devoted PC following and why its console release has been so eagerly awaited. The hypnotic, addicting aspects of its resource collecting portions go well with side missions that often need on your wits to do more than just follow a marker to a location.

While the game’s mechanics may be lacking in complexity, it nonetheless has a fascinating universe for players to explore for numerous hours. 

[Note: The copy of Dysmantle used for this review was given by 10tons Ltd.]
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