We’ve all seen how the battle royale craze has dominated the gaming world over the last several years, with many major studios racing to stake their claim in the field. Developer Midwinter’s upcoming game Scavengers takes strong influence from the battle royale, but is vastly different, putting survival and PvE elements at the forefront of gameplay. I got to go hands-on with Scavengers to get a taste of what’s to come in the game’s full release.
A dangerous wasteland
In Scavengers, players group up in teams of three and jump into a dangerous icy wasteland. Not only do you have to worry about squads of other players, but the hostile NPCs, animals, and harsh elements are quite likely to take you out before you ever see another team. Much like in a battle royale, players will find loot ranging different rarities across the map, which they’ll use to defend themselves and support their teammates. You can also use scavenged materials to craft weapons and gear.
When fighting NPCs enemies, teams can work together to take down bosses, which yield high-quality loot. If a teammate is downed and killed during a match, the surviving players must simply stay alive for long enough and their allies will be revived. If everybody on the team dies, then it’s game over.
I thought it was really cool how shelter factors in as a mechanic in Scavengers. In the frosty wasteland, powerful winter storms will occur randomly and travel across the map. If players are caught in the harsh elements, they’ll get cold and suffer from a frostbite effect. This decays health over time, and prevents a player from healing back to maximum HP. When you see a storm heading in your direction, it’s in your best interest to make a run for the nearest shelter.
The survival games
Scavengers is also a class-based shooter. When loading into a match, players select from a roster of characters, each of which comes with their own unique set of abilities. There’s support characters with the ability to heal allies, or assault characters that can deal out some heavy damage. Coordinating your character selection with your crew added another level to strategy within the game.
Each character also comes with a signature weapon. Once players have enough materials, they can craft their character's signature weapon to become more effective on the battlefield. I liked how distinct each character felt, and enjoyed swapping between different classes.
As a match of Scavengers goes on and the circle gets smaller, the remaining players are brought closer and closer together. However, instead of fighting to be the last player standing, players are racing against the clock to get onto an evacuation ship before time expires. This made for some truly chaotic moments, as we all fought so hard to keep others off the ship, while trying to secure our own spots. More than one squad can escape on the ship, in which the team with the highest score will win. However, players do rake in some decent rewards for coming out of the match alive, regardless of placement.
Heroes of the Wasteland
Scavengers is shaping up to be a fun take on the sandbox online shooter. I thought the combination of PvE and PvP created a more challenging experience, while the use of weather and shelter also forced players to think strategically about their map placement and rotation. Midwinter’s got the foundation for something pretty unique here, and I’m looking forward to seeing more when Scavengers releases later this year.