Smalland: Survive The Wilds PC Review

See just how big the world can be through an incredibly ‘small’ set of eyes.

By R3GR3T, Posted 10 Apr 2023

Merge Games might not be as well known as their competitors but their games definitely level the playing field. With games like Definitely Not Fried Chicken taking a fairly decent spot in the Indie Platformer genre, or Aragami taking the gaming community by force with its brilliant visuals and music. However, Merge Games doesn’t just develop games, they also publish games. Based on what they’ve published and developed so far, it’s clear just how much care and attention they put into their work. Their latest release, Smalland: Survive The Wilds is no exception.

Smalland: Survive The Wilds, PC, Review, Screenshots, Survival, Open-World, NoobFeed

Smalland: Survive The Wilds went into Early Access on Steam on 29 March 2023, and while Early Access means that the game would be buggy or possibly even underdeveloped, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Smalland: Survive The Wilds right from the start might seem like an extremely ambitious type of game to pursue but the work did pay off. Experiencing the world from a much smaller perspective is the ride of a lifetime and you’ll have an all-access pass as long as you’re willing to explore. Though as the name suggests, it is a survival game and you’ll have to ‘survive the wilds’.

Before your adventure as a smallfolk can begin, you’ll be greeted by a rather interesting character creator. Options are limited in some places but also a bit more diverse in others. While your options are limited, it’s still diverse enough that you can create a unique smallfolk that would suit your needs. Now while it might seem like you’ll run into a lot of characters that look like yours, the chances of that happening are pretty slim for NPC or other players should you decide to play online.

Now that you have your character, your adventure begins in the burrows. However, you don’t get to stay long before you’re sent out on the quest of a lifetime that starts with the King’s Speech. Your Queen is gravely ill and in dire need of a cure, you and many others are tasked with finding a cure in the Overland. Sadly, not much else is said on this matter, so you’ll need to explore and figure it out as you go.

Smalland: Survive The Wilds, PC, Review, Screenshots, Survival, Open-World, NoobFeed

In Smalland: Survive The Wilds, the smallfolk are a combination of insects, elves and humans, but on a much smaller scale. Small enough that a simple beetle can be monstrous in size compared to you. Though survival doesn’t rely on classes or attributes… Instead, you’ll have to rely on what you can craft. The crafting system can be a bit daunting at first but it’s balanced, the items you can craft aren’t impossible to get either, but it does rely heavily on you going out to explore and harvest the resources you need. You’ll have a simple crafting menu to craft basic tools at first, but your most important tool is your Builder’s Hammer.

Resources can be tricky to spot or sometimes even hidden, luckily you can change your vision type which will highlight nearby resources, along with any nearby insects and their weaknesses. This is probably your most important tool to have, even more so when you’re running around at night. It might not show what’s around you, but you’ll at least get to know what’s out there before running into it.

The Builder’s Hammer gives you access to build various other types of crafting benches to craft more advanced gear and tools. This does mean that you’ll need to explore further out to get the various crafting materials for the tools you’ll need, from fiber to flint, everything can be found in abundance in the right places. Harvesting resources will only get you so far, and eventually, you’ll have to get resources from more dangerous sources. While nature will provide most of what you need, you’ll have to plunge and face off against the various insects that see you as a tasty snack. These insects do come with some reward in the form of chitin, insect fur, mandibles and much more which can be used for crafting as well.

Smalland: Survive The Wilds, PC, Review, Screenshots, Survival, Open-World, NoobFeed

The Builder’s Hammer has another purpose aside from building the various crafting benches. In Smalland: Survive The Wilds, nature can fight back with storms and other sudden but extreme weather conditions. So you’ll need to build shelter, a simple shelter works in a tight spot but everybody likes building a palace, even if it’s just for show. Though once again, you’ll need unholy amounts of resources for this endeavor. You won’t have much to choose from at first with shelter/house building but as you discover new resources, you’ll unlock new options to choose from and the shelter component list grows quite fast.

Building your house in the middle of nowhere is useful but still leaves you open to attack from insects and reptiles, and they can destroy your house to get to you. On your adventure through the wilds, you’ll discover great trees as well. While beautiful and massive, they serve a second purpose. You’ll have to climb to the top, jumping between branches or climbing mushrooms. On your way up, you’ll get to meet the Gnome Statue. The Gnome Statue doesn’t do any harm, he just tells you if the tree is claimed or not. Reaching the top of the Great Tree, while incredibly tedious and risky, is also quite rewarding. You’ll meet another Gnome Statue who will let you claim the tree for you to build a home base of sorts, safe from insects and most of what nature can throw at you, the Great Trees can be used to build your stronghold while smaller shelters would serve better as outposts.

While climbing the Great Tree might be a hell of a task, you won’t have to do it every time you want to go up. Once the tree is claimed, you’ll be to use the Tree Butler. Each Great Tree has one who takes you up and down with the use of an elevator of sorts. It’s extremely convenient and you get to enjoy an amazing view on each trip.

Smalland: Survive The Wilds, PC, Review, Screenshots, Survival, Open-World, NoobFeed

The Builder’s Hammer isn’t just good for building new structures, and it can also dismantle them so you can reclaim the resources spent. When you’re out in the open and a storm is about to break, you’ll naturally need to build a quick shelter but this will also let you take it apart so you don’t waste anything. Unfortunately, crafted gear doesn’t have the same mechanic which means you’ll have to abandon the gear you no longer use. Being able to salvage tools and weapons is desperately needed in this case, but it might still be implemented in Smalland: Survive The Wilds since it is still in Early Access.

Now that you have your stronghold and some good gear, you’re missing one more thing. The insects and reptiles might see you as a tasty treat but some of them can be tamed. As an example – Tamed Ladybugs can be tamed and they’ll provide you with mobile storage when you’re out gathering resources. Damselflies can be mounted and they can fly too. Most insects can attack and do damage but not all insects are made for it, so you’ll need to be careful with which tamed insect you take where. Wrong choices can lead to your pet insect dying.

As mentioned, Smalland: Survive The Wilds is a survival game. When you’re out exploring, you’ll definitely come across several insects, some will try to eat you while others will simply ignore you. For the more hostile encounters, you’ll need to be prepared with the right weapons. There are several different weapon damage types – Edged, Piercing, Blunt, Poison, and Fire. It’s best to take down the insects with their respective weaknesses or you run the risk of the fight going on longer than your health can hold.

Smalland: Survive The Wilds, PC, Review, Screenshots, Survival, Open-World, NoobFeed

In Smalland: Survive The Wilds you won’t just outright die. You’ll have a health bar, and keeping your health up is relatively easy. Healing items are easily crafted and will give you a better healing factor, but food will passively regenerate health too though at a much slower rate. Nourishment is another thing to keep an eye on, starving to death might not be the best way to go. Basic food just keeps your character full, but you can make other types of food that will boost your stamina recharge, heal you faster and have a multitude of other bonuses. The last thing to keep an eye on is your Temperature. Smallfolk are fragile creatures and can freeze to death, or be cooked in a cinder during a heatwave. Your shelter and gear can make a huge difference in this regard.

Though it might feel like everything in Smalland: Survive The Wilds is out to eat or kill you, survival is actually easy as long as you keep on your toes. If you can’t fight a thing that wants to eat you, you can definitely outrun it. Most insects have a leash range so they won’t follow you far, this helps a lot if you know you can’t win the fight. The alternative is sneaking past them, while extremely slow, it can save you a lot of panic.

Smalland: Survive The Wilds has a brilliant visual design overall. The map might seem small but it’s actually massive considering your size, the different biomes you’ll find don’t compete either and instead balance each other out. It will literally feel like you’re exploring a vast and diverse part of the outdoors. There is clear attention to detail when encountering insects as well, as if each insect you find was carefully studied before being implemented and animated. While not entirely a bad thing, a bit more detail for the insects would round everything off nicely for instance – If a beetle wins a fight, some clear battle damage to his carapace would add the cherry on top of an already beautiful cake.


The most appealing aspect in Smalland: Survive The Wilds is the sound engineering. Once again, careful attention to detail is apparent in this regard. Each insect’s sound is unique and you can hear every creature in the distance but not to an overbearing degree, but more for a really immersive experience. While there is some background music, it doesn’t draw away from the immersion and instead compliments it quite well.

The most important feature in Smalland: Survive The Wilds is the online play. As a survival game, you can go alone but having a friend or two with you speeds progression along and really helps in a tough battle. Smalland: Survive The Wilds is honestly best experienced with a friend to get the full experience. Even though it is missing a feature or two, the game is still in Early Access but it’s already so close to being a masterpiece. 

Jay Claassen
Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Publisher(s): Merge Games
Developer(s): Merge Games
Genres: Role-Playing
Themes: Open World, Fantasy, Survival
Release Date: 2023-03-29

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