While you start a playthrough with one simple crafting menu for rudimentary tools and materials, you’ll quickly unlock more complex crafting menus as you progress through the game. Initially, most items I found myself crafting ranged from primitive axes to rope and straw, but once I had completed the simple materials’ crafting skill tree, I unlocked more advanced recipes for creating and building blueprints. This allowed me to craft more complex things like campfires, chests, furniture, and weapons. It also enabled me to make more complicated crafting tools like a forge or a crafting bench, which in turn, unlocked more specific crafting menus once built. While I felt that the tutorials could’ve been clearer in places, it’s easy enough to figure out the game’s crafting mechanics on the fly.
Similarly to Team17’s previous release, the Escapists, the Survivalists mixes open-world mechanics with puzzle and sandbox elements. Once you start exploring your island, you’ll quickly discover mysterious dungeons and catacombs that contain puzzles and otherworldly enemies. However, everything you do in The Survivalists revolves around crafting in some way or another. To traverse these catacombs successfully, you’ll need to craft good enough weapons to survive them. Once you do, you can expect to find unique resources at the end of each dungeon that’ll allow you to craft rare weapons or tools.
While the game’s tools themselves are fun to craft and use, one of the things that makes crafting endlessly more interesting is the use of monkeys. Scattered all over the island, these monkeys are either trapped in caves or ruins or roaming the beaches, looking for food. If you can help them in some way, by giving them specific items or by setting them free, you’ll gain a monkey’s trust and they’ll join you on your island journey.