The survival genre has become more popular than anyone could have imagined. Who would have thought people would love endlessly gathering resources, crafting clothes, keeping fed and watered while carefully constructing homes and settlements – all for it to be destroyed at some point?
I arrived late to this party, initially put off from the genre because I find actual life hard enough; I mean, I can just about feed myself and pay real world bills, so why would I want to do that in-game? But once you get into the genre you discover what is good about it, as it sucks you in like an addiction. You start to dream about building that extension to your outhouse or going out and raiding with friends in search of precious commodities. Last Oasis is adding to that library of work, taking up residence as an Xbox Game Preview title. But what does it offer away from the usual fare?
Last Oasis describes itself as a nomadic survival MMO. The premise is that the world has stopped rotating and humankind needs to try to escape the burning sun, to survive against all odds. There are two areas of the world: one sees you placed in a burning desert where you will need a constant supply of water at your ready. The other side of the world is frozen in perpetual ice and has its own problems for survival. Wherever you rock up, you will need to have your A-game ready for the world; a huge one even for an MMO – it’s made up of a series of interconnected oases over a 100km squared map.
Currently sitting in Xbox Game Preview at this moment in time, I have had the chance to spend some time in the world, certainly enough to give some initial impressions.
You start the game by building your character from scratch, delving into the usual level of detail you would expect from any game of the genre in that regard. When you are ready you are born into the world with a long story-led tutorial that covers the basics that you need to know about. Survival is key: it is water conservation and consumption which will be one of your major priorities. For the most part though the usual crafting options fast get to work; if you have played something like ARK: Survival Evolved then you will know what it is all about – get resources by working trees, rock, and cacti for water; build extra things to help matters, like a wood chopper and a water container. At first though you’ll want to build a small camp with a bedroll to sleep on and the all-important campfire where you can cook. It’s never fun to be sat left chewing on sharp cacti.
The thing that makes Last Oasis different from the rest though is the ability to create Walkers; if only so to help you get around. Your first structure will be a simple beast complete with legs, a body, and a sort of cycle mechanism for fast movement. You’ll then be able to unlock more elaborate and bigger Walkers as you progress – the scope for what can be created is pretty immense. There is even the opportunity to take to the air with Sky Walkers, letting you fly around; something which is very cool. And once you’ve got your Walker you’ll find that you are able to upgrade and store things like your campfire, bits of equipment and water storage on there. Hell, you can even store your base, dragging it around as you look for somewhere better to relocate.
Due to the power of the Walkers it won’t be long before you are found leaving the area you start off in, driving off across the wilderness for endless adventures. The good news is that you can take all your belongings with you when you head offline, without the fear of being raided.
It’s not just about exploring and crafting though; combat certainly plays a part in Last Oasis. You will initially meet some little humanoids to begin with, so you can practice your fighting skills and grab some of their resources, letting you craft up a wooden stick for better battering. But later in the skill tree section you’ll find you are able to upgrade your weaponry to more lethal pieces of hardware – how and where you go with this is dictated by how you take in Last Oasis. And as you progress and level up further you begin to drop skill points into the attack, health, mobility, and stamina levels, as well as opening up loads of different skill trees with added features. Better still is the fact that Last Oasis builds in a brilliant grappling hook, letting you escape up high from danger or, as you get more used to the skills required, swing around like a modern-day Tarzan.
Much like many games that come in the survival MMO-styled genre, Last Oasis demands that you put many hours into it; hundreds if you so wish. Only then will you ever be able to find the secrets of the world at play. Thankfully, with the addition of cross-play with PC as well as the ability to embark on a journey through Xbox servers, there’s already plenty to get involved in; you’ll be able to build huge bases, join clans and work together with friends or new acquaintances to raid or defeat huge monsters.
Last Oasis is a game that already shows a load of promise, and it’s easy to understand how anyone can become hooked on the premise. We’ll be sure to follow up with a full review of Last Oasis on Xbox when it comes out of Game Preview, but for now, I’m going to get on my Walker and try to find some friends. There’s a whole world to explore yet…
Many thanks go out to the Donkey Crew team for giving us access to Last Oasis on Xbox Series X through the Xbox Game Preview system. If you wish to check the game out for yourself, head over to the Xbox Store and pick up a download. Remember, with it in Game Preview, things are likely to change massively as the team work towards a full release.