Cheerdealers / Alawar Premium (studio)
16 November 2018 (released)
11 December 2018
The fear of being stranded in a cold, isolated place with no food and no water is something very fitting for any horror movie/game. Even more so when you’re stuck in said situation with unknown life forms hellbent on taking you over. Sounds kind of familiar doesn’t it? Well this new Isometric survival game was inspired by the legendary John Carpenter “The Thing”. I love The Thing and was interested in checking this out right away. But would Distrust live up to my expectations for a chilling and brutal survival epic inspired by one of the greatest horror movies of all time?
Distrust is a game about fending off the cold, avoiding strange lifeforms and maintaining your own sanity while building uneasy alliances. Things start off badly when a rescue team sent to an Antarctic base crash land on the outskirts. It only gets worse when the survivors realise that not all seems well, with plenty of death and decay stretched throughout the base itself.
From there, the player must guide the only survivors through various zones of the base in order to reach the centre, find out what’s going on and call for help. Leading a small team, players will need to navigate through various zones that all together make the monumental Antarctic Base itself. Each zone is randomised, presenting a rogue-like element as layouts for buildings and resources will change with each play through. With elements such as the freezing cold impacting on characters themselves, it’s up to players to find shelter, resources such as food and medical supplies while ensuring heat and electricity can be found as quickly as possible.
Along the way, players will discover new characters through the base and soon learn of a deadly lifeform that could threaten all humanity. This impacting on the character’s they as it soon becomes clear anyone can be taken over or fall victim to their broken sanity.
Distrust presents an interesting concept and manages to create some gripping gameplay. In each of the six zones, players must ensure they fend of hunger, the cold, paranoid and the alien threat. You do this by scavenging, maintaining tools, keeping warm and resting when you can while others keep look out. There are plenty of different tactics to ensure you can bide your time within safe areas and outsmart the alien menace in all their different forms.
The main problem with Distrust is the extreme difficulty or more so the random nature, leading to some unbalanced gameplay. It’s clear that even failing a simple task or falling to minor medical conditions can be fatal, making it more efficient to just start over. I found myself screaming at Distrust when one of the my team would open a locker/create and cut themselves, leading to constant bleeding. Best of all, the game can decide to make things even more difficult by ensuring no medical supplies are in close proximity nor the alien presence shows up when you catch a break.
Distrust can be merciless and brutal, even from the very beginning. By crippling your characters at the most inconvenient of times only staggers the journey and the brutal learning curve can push new players away very quickly if you don’t adapt. There are plenty of gripping moments and enough resources to keep you going. But even the simplest mistake can cost you dearly.
Distrust has an interesting concept and at times is an enthralling and intense venture with elements of psychological horror. While its trial and error format can be a little infuriating for new comers or in later stages, it’s still a compelling journey if you put enough time into it. The interface and text could be adjusted better for a console port and the learning curve does impact on progression. But Distrust is still worth checking out.
++ Compelling and intense gameplay elements
+ Inspired by The Thing
- Unforgiving Trial and error format
- Interface and text is way too small
A PS4 copy of Distrust was provided by publisher for the purpose of this review