Horror,  Indie,  Nintendo Switch,  Reviews,  Survival

Ashwalkers Nintendo Switch Review

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Fast Facts


Developer: Nameless XIII
Publisher: Dear Villagers
Website: https://dearvillagers.com/project/ashwalkers/
Genre(s): Adventure, Strategy, Survival
Platform: Nintendo Switch (also available on PC)
Age Rating: PEGI 12
Release Date: 15/April/2021
Price: £15.49

A code was provided for review purposes

I started following the development of Ashwalkers long before it hit the stores. So naturally, I jumped at the chance to get my hands on a copy to review. Unlike many games I take, I had high expectations going into Ashwalkers. The real question is, does it live up to the hype I built for it, or did my enthusiasm disappear like smoke? Keep reading this rapid review to find out.

In a Galaxy Not Too Far Away

In the (relatively) distant future, the world has changed. An event has happened, and humanity has been left fractured. Communities form and scavenge the barren landscape looking for whatever they can to survive. However, as resources grow scarce, entire communities are forced to uproot and move to more profitable locations.

That is where Ashwalkers begins.

You play as a team of four characters; scouts heading towards the Dome of Domes, a promised land that many believe to be the savior of their community.

The road is long and winding. It is filled with dangers and intrigue. With thirty-four different endings possible, every choice you make seems to have a bearing on the result. Ashwalkers is a relatively short game. With so many possible endings, most playthroughs can be achieved in a couple of hours. Honestly, only the most hardcore folks will likely play for more than a handful of endings.

Ashwalkers characters in a desert setting.
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.

The Importance of Resource Management

The core danger of the game is poor resource management.  As your party venture through the wild, you need to pay careful attention to four key areas.

  • Health: Injuries happen in the wild, but so too do the side effects of hunger, exhaustion, and frostbite.
  • Hunger: Eat regularly to keep hunger at bay but be careful not to overeat. You never know where your next batch of supplies will be found.
  • Temperature: It’s cold in the wastelands. Make sure you keep your team warm by camping regularly. Just make sure you have enough fuel to burn.
  • Energy: Resting rebuilds energy. Don’t push your team too hard or fast without resting, as even being holed up in camp leaves you with things to do.

To do this, you must scavenge for resources and carefully manage your campsites and the resources you use each time you camp.

Enjoyable Camping Mechanic

Make a campfire to keep your team warm. It also allows them to cook their rations and ease their hunger. Energy levels come from sitting, while health can be regained by using medical supplies. However, camping is not easy in this bleak and barren land. Each time you camp, you must assign duties to ensure you wake up in one piece.

  • Stand guard: Bad things happen when you’re not paying attention. I learned the hard way that it’s best to always have someone on guard. When you set up camp, the game gives you a danger percentage. Use this when setting your camp responsibilities. For example, sometimes it’s best to eat and move, then rest up again a little further along.
  • Rest: Sleep is important even for post-apocalypse scouts. Possibly even more so. You need your wits about you. So it’s important to have your party well-rested.
  • Talk: This is how the main lore of the story is passed on. I really enjoyed having my characters talk and getting to know them as they conversed. I didn’t do this enough in my first few playthroughs, but I am glad I focused on it later.
  • Forage: Supplies are few and far between. The game does a great job at lulling you into a false sense of security only to hit you with a long stretch of nothing. Sending someone out to forage while you camp is a great way to potentially get extra resources.

I really liked the way that while camping replenished your stats, the impact was different for each character. Also, there was a direct impact of performing certain assigned tasks, which made things more interesting. Especially deeper in the game when my group rarely had more than half-stats.

Characters walking across a suspension bridge in black and white
A beautifully dark aesthetic

It’s Not All Fun and Games in the Wastelands

I was very enthusiastic about Ashwalkers. Maybe a little bit too much so. Having played it a few times now and achieved a few different endings, I have to say I am disappointed with it. Maybe it was just the port to the Switch, but the controls were slow. There was often a delay to things which saw me frequently make a choice I didn’t mean or double resource one character leaving nothing for another.

This was highly frustrating as you get the feeling that every choice is important in Ashwalkers.

I completed the game half a dozen times during my time with it. However, the last few were a slog and more to see exactly what I could put my characters through. One of which was inadvertent as I was called away to the door not long after starting and came back to find my entire party had just stood there and froze to death.

Abandoned building, ready for scavenging
Abandoned buildings should be rife for the plundering

An Artistic Interpretation of Survival

I liked the aesthetic of this game. The black-and-white approach emphasized the bleak nature of things. While the use of black shadows as enemies was the right choice, as the enemies were not important but rather the choices you made when facing them. I also liked how characters were splashed with red when injured. This made the graphics pop.

There is no real soundtrack, and while the ambient sounds make for a good atmosphere, everything sounds a little bit like a maddening white noise after several hours of it.

Don’t get me wrong; I enjoyed my first playthrough. However, after that, it was just 90% lather, rinse, repeat, and that grew tiring.

Bugs a Plenty

Another irritation I had with the game was the number of bugs I encountered. Some were frequent in multiple playthroughs, making me wonder how much attention was paid in the QA phase.

Firstly, I was frequently unable to collect resources, despite having space in my inventory. I would cycle through characters but still couldn’t collect. I would walk away, come back with a new character – who had nothing in their inventory slots – and still couldn’t select the items. Once I had a character die simply because I couldn’t collect the resources I needed to start the fire.

The worst bug was a combination of two, I think. It was at the end of my final game and enough to make me put the game down and call time on my experience. I was struggling with the above-mentioned resource collection bug when a second screen popped up, requiring me to make a choice. However, I couldn’t, as this screen overlaid the resource collection screen and left me unable to do anything. As a result, one of my two remaining characters froze to death, and my adventure ended on day 67.

Barren landscape with rocks and abandoned buildings
We’re not in Kansas anymore

Final Thoughts on Ashwalkers

While there is a lot of like in Ashwalkers, I am thrilled that I got the chance to play it. However, I can’t help but feel I wanted a little more. Yes, decisions mattered, but the pacing was so slow and often uninteresting that I would grow bored and stop caring what happened to them all.

I liked what they were trying to achieve and applauded their efforts, but ultimately Ashwalkers fell a little flat in my estimations. This was not helped in the slightest by the fact that screenshots were disabled on the Switch. Every time I tried, I was told that screenshots were not permitted.

If you like resource management survival games like Flame in the Flood or Don’t Starve, I would recommend giving Ashwalkers a chance. It is an interesting game with many merits. With a little more intensive QA run and maybe a bit more to do in the way of exploration and scavenging, this game or the next one could be something special.  

Rapid Reviews Rating

3 out of 5


You can get your copy of Ashwalkers from the Nintendo eShop today.

OpenCritic Logo

You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.