Experience a big adventure on a tiny scale! Enjoy multiplayer survival in a vast, hazardous world. Preparation is key when you’re this small & at the bottom of the food chain. Craft weapons & armor, tame & ride creatures, build encampments & explore a strange new land.
Developer: Merge Games
Platforms: Steam, Epic Game Store
Links: Website, Discord
Modes: Singleplayer, Co-op
Release Date: March 29, 2023
Status: Early Access
- A huge open, sandbox-world to explore from a tiny perspective
- Build bases and shelters with a host of upgrades and customization
- Discover the lore behind Smalland through quests and the hidden NPCs scattered throughout the world
- Dynamic weather and random events organically create hazardous situations or fortunate events
- Player upgrades and customization, earn and unlock new abilities
- Creature factions: Work alongside creatures, gain their trust, earn allies and mounts
- Solo, PVE, and PVP game-play
If you're familiar with how loosely/easily Conan Exiles handles its survival 'mechanics,' you'll probably feel right at home in Smalland. Pop over to the Hashtag Content and Review tab for more detail.
I will leave the bulk of my rambling below and plug this tiny paragraph up here to make it more easily accessible for folks.
Like many, I participated in the closed playtesting. It was under NDA- but since their public Discord server was/is filled with posts where folks revealed that they were "in the playtest!" and "loved the game!" I feel safe sharing the following: I participated. Details are locked in my head. I won't be picking up the title because it's not a style of gameplay I'm interested in, nor -to me- does it do much but stick a toe into my chosen genre. That said, folks should try it and see if they enjoy it- especially builders or those seeking a more casual gaming experience!
The vibe I’m currently getting from Smalland is very open-world MMO-lite. Very similar to Conan Exiles- or if you took one of the popular MMOs and skimmed it down into a smaller focus area. Watching development videos from way back in early 2021 kinda enhances that viewpoint- emphasis on individual character look and armor, lore, and player choice- all traditional mainstays of the MMO genre versus a typical survival title. In addition, they break down and flesh out lore-type characters (The Elder, Witch, and Engineer)- the gameplay loops of questing, raising ally/faction style rep, and earning cosmetics & mounts.
I wonder if it’s the increased depth & emphasis on the building in Smalland that makes them attach the survival tag to the title, similar to how I’ve had folks explain to me that New World is a survival game because of the depth & style of the world and scavenging/farming materials. There’s also this somewhat meandering response to an interview question provided to the games head of production, Ben Averley, located below;
So in terms of the survival genre, do you imagine Smalland as being a relatively welcoming game or on the more harsh end of the spectrum?
Relative to a lot of other competitors in the survival genre, we’re trying to stay true to the original vision of the game, which is that it’s quite whimsical. To put it relative to a game such as ARK or Rust, it’s far less competitive. It’s more about being collaborative with players, so we don’t have that combative player-versus-player nature as a major focus. The challenge is almost as much as you want it to be – players can seek out the challenge. It shouldn’t be consistently overbearing and too difficult. It’s not like starting in ARK and having your entire base destroyed by a T-rex in the first five minutes; we want it to be a bit more accommodating and accessible to players. But there’s certainly challenge there, and there’s certainly threats present throughout the world. It’s at the lower end of the spectrum, though, I’d say, relative to other survival games.
Steps on the soapbox. If the challenge in Smalland is to avoid death from mobs, what makes this different from World of Warcraft on a smaller (literally) scale? Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to get more beautiful & expansive open worlds to explore, but (the following quote lifted again from the Wireframe article), “…But beyond that, we have a narrative, so we have quest systems that drive players into different areas to explore. We have resources that vary by area, which, in turn, allow different crafting opportunities for gear, weapons, and bases. So we have player progression gated behind the need to explore these things, and hopefully each brings a new point of interest.”
I agree with Averley in the interview when he mentions that Smalland is a “..game (that) almost sits somewhere between a single-player RPG experience and an MMO.”
I’ll tuck away my random TedTalk soapbox and close this post.
- Smalland was originally a project by a completely different development team, seeking funding on IndieGoGo. Merge Games acquired the IP. (Merge Games interview with Wireframe, 2022)
- Both first and third-person views will be provided to the player.
- 3/29/23- Note: The original directory page was generated on the site on May 1, 2022. The date has been updated to March 29, 2023, so the page will reflect as recently added in the game index filter.
- 3/29/23- Game released! All tabs were updated, and the game moved to the gaming index and out of the upcoming.
- 3/11/23- Hashtag Content & Review updated.
- 3/11/23- Changelog added.