Stranded: Alien Dawn is a planet survival/builder sim game that puts you in charge of a group of marooned survivors trying to survive in a hostile alien world. The game’s primary focus is on managing the group’s resources, health, and mental state, as well as defending them from alien creatures that pose a constant threat. The game was developed by Haemimont Games and is out now for PCs as well as consoles – we checked it out on a PlayStation 5.
One of the game’s strongest points is its unique base-building system. As you progress through the game, you can transform your simple shelter into a high-tech outpost using advanced resources and improved defenses. This modular base-building system allows you to design and build your base according to your own preference, protect it with perimeter defenses, decorate it with furnishings, and introduce automated devices such as defensive turrets.
Another positive aspect of Stranded: Alien Dawn is its living and breathing world. The game features a vast 3D world with remarkable flora and fauna, adding a level of realism to the game that can be difficult to find in other planet survival sims. The game also includes fluctuating weather and environmental events that can affect gameplay, forcing you to react to changing situations.
What’s also interesting and rather unique is the focus on character management, where individual survivors actually feel unique in their background, characters, abilities and skills. As you progress, you must improve their skills and maximize their potential to increase their chances of survival. Providing your group with weapons, medicine, and entertainment is also crucial to keeping their physical and mental well-being intact.
However, the game could be refined in a few ways. While the world and characters feel alive and dealing with their personalities and survival is engaging, the story isn’t particularly deep or exciting. The interface can also feel a tad clunky, as managing your group of survivors properly can feel difficult and unintuitive, at least when using gamepad controls on a console.
The game’s combat system also isn’t as exciting as the survival and crafting mechanics. While it rewards careful planning and strategic thinking, it can feel repetitive and monotonous when attack waves start feeling similar – especially when you have your defenses properly set up. If you don’t, then you might find the game’s difficulty curve to be a bit inconsistent, having to deal more with some awkward melee combat.
Overall, Stranded: Alien Dawn is a unique and enjoyable planet survival sim game. Its modular base-building system, living and breathing world, and focus on character management are all positives. We wish there was a bit more depth to the game’s story mode and there are a few rougher edges here and there, but Stranded: Alien Dawn is a solid choice for players looking for a challenging planet survival sim experience.