Distrust – Review
Follow Genre: Survival
Developer: Cheerdealers
Publisher: Alawar Premium
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Distrust – Review

Site Score
7.4
Good: Challenging, Nice graphics, Cool concept
Bad: Feels repetitive after several tries, RNG can screw you
User Score
7.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Distrust is a survival game set in the arctic, where you battle against hunger, sleep and the elements while being confronted with a strange alien threat. The game is inspired on ‘The Thing’, but aside from the setting and basic premise, it’s pretty much completely different from the movie, but still a good game in its own right. Distrust is developed by Cheerdealers, and published by Alawar Premium.

Distrust Logo

Story

The game starts with an animated movie, telling the story of a rescue team on their way to a scientific base in the arctic, from which a distress signal was sent. Upon arrival, their helicopter crashed because of a strange appearance, and only two people survived. These two are the explorers you’ll be able to use in the game.

When exploring the base, you’ll need to survive, but you’ll also want to know what has happened to the missing scientists, and what is occurring right now at the base. Most of the buildings are deserted, though some still have working generators. You’ll encounter a few survivors who can join your team. Soon you’ll discover strange phenomenons at the base: sleeping attracts anomalies, which can hurt and kill you quickly, but a lack of sleep drives you mad. As you progress, you’ll encounter more and more mysterious alien artifacts as well. Reading notes throughout the base tells you that scientists dug up a strange, saucer-like object from the ice, which is probably the source of all this adversity.

Distrust screen 2

Graphics

Distrust has an isometric view, simple but pretty 3D graphics, and fluid animations. The introduction movie is in a nicely stylized cartoon style. The characters have cartoon-like portraits and full body images, which will change if they get madness effects. The UI is pretty straightforward, as it should be because you’ll want to spend as little time as possible browsing menus. You’ll have a map view and a shared inventory view for all characters.

When your character’s body-heat lowers quickly, the screen will show frosty edges. Whenever an anomaly is close, the screen will show red veins. Characters can gain several insanity effects if they don’t sleep, which can have different visual and audio effects. If one of the character’s stats run extremely low, or if they encounter a problem, they’ll show a dialogue or attention mark at the bottom of the screen, so you’ll know when to check out certain characters.

Distrust screen 1

Sound

Distrust has looping background music which evokes a stressy, tensive (tense music) feeling. Except for the intro animation, the game isn’t narrated. As your characters walk outside, you’ll hear the sound of the icy winds gain in strength. Whenever your character gains symptoms of madness, corresponding sounds start to play.

Gameplay

Distrust is a survival game about explorers stranded in the frozen arctic. You’ll need to keep warm, keep your bellies filled, and be well rested to be able to progress. You’ll have three bars to keep track of these stats. Having any of these bars low, will lower health, until you die. You can only be revived by an adrenaline injection, which you won’t find often, and you don’t have much time to administer it. You can also encounter several harmful effects, like poisoning, frost burn or wounds, which you need to treat, or you’ll also lose health. You won’t be able to relax for a second as you explore the base, because resources are always dwindling. You’ll quickly learn to delegate tasks and be as efficient as possible: you’ll want to explore quickly without wasting resources and therefore have your explorers spread out.

There are two survivors you can command, at the beginning of the game you can choose which ones you want in your team. Each character has special abilities. As you play you can assign tasks to each character: search for food, dig out a door, chop wood, repair a generator, etc. You’ll also encounter other survivors, which you can revive. They can join your team and help out as well, and can be added to the characters you can select for your starting team. There are a lot of unlock-able characters, each with different base stats and perks.

Distrust screen 4

You’ll go through several areas to explore the base. Soon after arriving you’ll notice that while you sleep, anomalies appear. These creatures hurt you when they are near, so you should keep them away. Each of the anomaly creatures react differently to the methods you have at hand, for instance: light, heat, and bullets. How you’ll have to deal with the different types of anomalies, you’ll learn by discovering hints while exploring the base. Sleeping is dangerous because of the anomalies which spawn, but it’s also necessary. If you don’t sleep, you’ll gain the madness status effects, like constantly hearing white noise, the urge to sing, infrared vision, etc. Many madness effects can be ignored, but some are really annoying, and you’ll gain more madness effects as long as you don’t sleep.

The goal is to move from one area to the next, and eventually escape the base. To get into the next area you’ll usually need to solve a problem: fix an electrical lock, pass through poisonous gas, or get the code for a lock. You’ll need to explore the zone to find these items, all the while trying to keep your adventurers healthy. There are five areas plus an ending stage you have to get through, each getting progressively harder. The many items you scavenge for, in order to survive are food, medicines and tools. Tools can break and be repaired with crafting materials. Bandages can be crafted. Gas tanks can be refilled, but you’ll always seem to have too few of everything, and searching for more requires time and resources you don’t have.

Distrust screen 5

Exploring everything can possibly grant you some much needed items, but you’ll burn through your resources pretty fast. You’ll need to plan eating and especially sleeping very well. Finding sleeping facilities fast in each zone is pretty important, because you will only be able to sleep on beds or sofas located in those houses, and should try to limit using fuel to heat and light only that building. Having only one sleeping building heated and lit is more efficient on the resources, but also more risky because of protection from the cold and the anomalies. Additionally, this complicates finding the other items you need, because you’ll need to use your flashlight in all the other buildings to reveal cabinets and crates. While exploring, you’ll also be able to uncover clues to what happened at the base, and useful notes about how to deal with the weird but deadly apparitions you’ll encounter more and more frequently as you play. You’ll also encounter more weird alien structures. Touching these alien artifacts have random effects which can either be beneficial or harmful; like refilling warmth, emptying stamina or even getting you sick.

There are two difficulties to play on. At the easy difficulty you’ll have indicators on all buildings on the map which resources are available, like med facility, kitchen or sleeping area, which makes efficient scavenging a lot easier, especially if you’ll enter an area with low warmth, sleep or hunger. Luckily, the UI makes exploring a bit more efficient: you’ll be able to pause the game, which can be handy to look around the area in case you forgot what utility is where. Also, inventory is shared between characters, so if one character finds food, the other can immediately eat it. There’s also a short tutorial which walks you through the functions of the game, the gameplay seems simple but it’s a lot of info to take in. The game isn’t that hard to learn though, because most is just logical. The hard thing is finding enough resources to keep warm, keep the characters fed, and at the same time be able to sleep safely.

Distrust screen 3

It’s pretty much impossible to finish the game the first time around, because you aren’t prepared for the difficulties you’ll encounter, and have no idea how to work efficiently. The randomly generated maps and events make replays interesting, but can also completely screw you over. For instance: you get wounded from random actions repeatedly, needing more bandages than you have, or every single thing you need to survive in the area is broken, requiring more crafting materials than you have. Sometimes you’ll just have bad luck and need to start over again, and at times like these the game might feel a bit repetitive.

Conclusion

Distrust is a fun and challenging game, with good replay value because of the randomly generated areas and many unlock-able characters. However, sometimes you’ll have terrible luck with the random map, and will fail despite being as efficient as possible. The graphics and music are fine, and the madness effects are often funny and a really cool mechanic. Surviving means working as efficient as possible and limit wasting of resources, which is pretty hard to do but fun to master.

 

 

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.5/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Distrust - Review, 7.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Anmaja
Anmaja


I'm a LARP writer, freelance teacher and everlasting PhD student, and an avid gamer. Nowadays I game mostly on PC, but I love my retro playstation 1 & 2 as well :) I like watching anime, movies and series, and read books & comics whenever I have time!

No Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.