DYSMANTLE

Icon - Calendar Released: 16 Nov 2021
Icon - Edited Reviewed: 19 Dec 2021
Platform: PC

Dysmantle

Dysmantle is basically a game about smashing things (clue is in the title). You wake up on an island after some kind of zombie apocalypse, and in between hours and hours of smashing things, uncover what happened to the island. The game is a huge achievement for a small studio who's previous works were low budget top-down shooters, and they're on their way to making some great games - but need to learn a bit more about balance first. The game is really polished, lovely art style and relaxing to play. Have to admit I would have enjoyed it a lot more if it was about 20 hours shorter, removed a third of the map, and reduced the material requirements by 30%. Would have felt MUCH better.

Notes

Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed a huge part of this game. It's well made, relaxing, and it's fun to smash stuff. It's just that there's way too much of the smashing part and not enough story in between. I think if they gave you the most powerful smashing weapon DURING THE GAME instead of after you've 100%'d it, made the map smaller, and reduced the item requirements by a lot, it would have made a much better completely package. So I would recommend it, but bear in mind it takes a minimum of 60 hours to see everything (I ended up using a trainer for the Ark and the last part of the game because I was so fed up with the grinding).

Pros

  • Enjoyable gathering
  • The combat is ok. Not brilliant, but it works
  • Really nice art style
  • Scalable UI and good options for ultrawidescreen
  • Excellent progression system, but too grindy
  • Literally everything is breakable - as long as you have the right tool / upgrades
  • Huge map. Too huge.

Cons

  • EXTREMELY grindy. If you play it, rush the story; it unlocks stuff to smash things faster
  • By about 20 hours in, you're kinda hoping that there's an ultimate reward to smash things more easily in the game. Well, there is - but they only give it to you once you've 100% completed the game. After you've spent 60 hours smashing stuff, completed the Ark (which requires thousands of materials) AND completed the game and escaped the island, they give you the highest damage blunt weapon in the game, at which point it's entirely useless, you smash a few buildings and go "huh, cool", then close the game and never open it again.
  • When you smash or gather something, the material dropped appears, but isn't picked up until you move again. Even once you get an item that auto-picks up items, it only works a second after the material appears in the world. It makes it a lot clunkier than needed to collect resources, which you'll be doing for about 90% of the game.
  • The game won't let you sleep if it's less than 16 hours since the last time you slept, which means every day your sleep creeps forward ever so slightly, until you have to play through the night and day and wait for the next night
  • Would like to be able to zoom in and out a bit
  • Your character attacks in the direction he's facing, rather than the mouse cursor. It also locks onto distance enemies even when there's a closer one (primarily a melee game) which makes it really difficult to target the correct enemy when there are lots of them (like Obelisk challenges)
  • Unexpected turrets placed off-screen that can kill you instantly are not a fun game mechanic
  • Way. Too. big. The story / handcrafted bits are great; but there's so much pointless grinding and open map between them. Honestly the whole thing could be 30% shorter and smaller, and it would have felt much better designed
  • Unexplained item effects like "melee attack delay", and "search efficiency"
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