Winter Survival – PC Preview

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Winter Survival is an open-world survival game published by and additionally published by HeartBeat Games and DRAGO Entertainment, and also developed by DRAGO Entertainment. Winter Survival is in early access and set to release on March 6th of this year on Steam, PlayStation and Xbox. If you want to try it for yourself, a demo of the game on Steam is available now.

Don’t Get Cold Feet… Literally

Danny (the player character) and his friend Joel go on a winter hike, which takes a turn for the worst when wolves attack. After being separated, Danny must find a way to survive the elements, wildlife and hallucination coming his way in hopes of rescue and reuniting with Joel. Hunt and evade animals, gather materials, survive the elements, and craft the tools you need to stave off starvation and injury.

I am hiding in some tall grass so that the wolf ahead doesn't spot me. The screen has become darker to show the player suspense more visually.
Hiding is sometimes the key to survival.


Winter Survival has three modes and two difficulties. The three modes are Story, Endless and Cold Wave. However, Cold Wave says ‘available soon’ and will likely unlock upon the game’s release or in a later update. The two difficulties are Explorer and Survivalist. While ACT I is the only act available, there are five acts in total.

The menu with the three modes found in-game. They each have an image but the centre one is highlighted. The far right is not out and currently says "available soon".
Cold Wave might be permanent blizzard?

Additionally, there’s a Tutorial option in the top right of the screen. Within the tutorial are signposts leading to each tutorial, such as Hunting.

It is also worth noting that Winter Survival is playable via controller.


In Winter Survival, players must manage their thirst, hunger and sanity alongside avoiding injuries and the elements. The player can use water to either wash themselves in or drink it. However, you have to remove all clothing before washing.

On the inventory screen, here the cigarette is highlighted and a text box displays effects. on the right is the player's character and clothing stats.
Smoke break.

A fire pit will warm you up and allow you to cook food. While the fire can keep animals at bay, using it to cook food can attract them, so players must be cautious. Hot springs found throughout the map will also warm the player. In the bottom right corner of the equipment screen, you will see how strong the armour you’re wearing is and how well-protected your clothes keep you from the elements.

Injury & Sanity

Managing depleting health isn’t enough; players must additionally worry about injuries. Injuries (and illness) occur from falling from great heights, wolf attacks, bear attacks, and eating rotten food. There are various ways of healing injuries, such as making a leg stabiliser for a sprained ankle. It’s crucial to heal injuries as they can slow you down or cause you to bleed out and eventually die.

I am wandering around the wilderness and have come across some fireflies. I have my objectives displayed in the top right and my health UI in the bottom left.
Sometimes nature isn’t that scary.

Your Sanity bar is another element of survival with consequences. Being in danger or darkness and too cold will lower your sanity. Nicotine from cigarettes and drinking alcohol raises your sanity, though it depletes a small amount of health. If the player goes to sleep and the Sanity bar is at maximum, you will gain Trauma. Trauma will give Danny a negative trait of your choosing. The negative trait can affect your mobility and or have other negative effects. For example, I chose one which shows me hallucinations of hostile, non-carnivorous animals. The only way to recover from Trauma is through side quests in the story, but you can only have one side quest active at a time.


Levelling up allows you to get stronger and better at survival. Picking up materials and surviving combat encounters will net you XP. Levelling up also unlocks Adaptations (aka perks) which benefit the player, such as hunger and thirst depleting at a slower rate.

Materials, like any survival game, allow you to craft items and, therefore, allow you to progress. Finding some materials will unlock recipes for new items for you to craft. A helpful feature is Instinct Vision, which helps the player to highlight nearby materials. Initially, the amount of materials required to make items seemed ridiculous. However, it is fair when you learn how many materials you can get at once from, for example, a single log.

Graphics & Audio

I enjoy the small visual details in Winter Survival the most so far. The blizzard visuals are great, and I like how the player can slip and slide on icy ground. There are several good animations, such as Danny shaking his canteen when it is empty.

It is daylight in the game and in the distant is a start of a forest. The player is emptying his canteen.
I enjoy some of the small animations the game has.

The hallucinations are creepy, and I like seeing what weird thing is going to either pop up in front of me or lurk in through the bushes. They do a great job of surprising you, at the very least. Additionally, the voice acting is pretty good, too.

Final Thoughts

Winter Survival overall has a decent foundation and much room to grow. I personally am not a fan of the trauma mechanics, but hopefully, as the game updates, this might become more fleshed out. I did find the combat a bit tricky to learn, especially when it came to attacking while a wolf lunges at the player.

The game reminded me more and more of Green Hell but more in a frozen climate instead of a jungle. If you do enjoy games like Green Hell and The Long Dark. Then Winter Survival might be one to keep on your radar.


Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.

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