Steam Gaming: Smalland – Survive the Wilds

Posted on April 10, 2024 by Aywren

Smalland is a survival fantasy adventure game where you play as a tiny race (think fairy or brownie) trying to survive in a wilderness land. We picked up Smalland back in January, and have put about 22 hours into it before it came out of early access.

I keep meaning to write about that experience, but I’m a little hesitant to do so. The thing is, we haven’t played it after the 1.0 full release, and I know (based on feedback) that the game has changed since early access. So, while we enjoyed our time with the game, what I know and remember won’t be the same experience as is out there now.

They recreated the starting experience, for one, and I heard they actually made it harder overall. It used to be a peaceful romp through a tutorial that set you up for exploration with your first set of gear. From what I hear, there’s now enemies along the way, and the fighting can be tough, even when you’re not a new player.

This is mostly because 1.0 also increased the game difficulty by making enemies HP sponges, from what I read. Thankfully, there is a way to go in and tweak settings to make this less of an annoyance. The game is fairly customizable when it comes to battle settings, and this has been the go-to solution even for experience players who recognized the difficulty was increased (and the fun decreased) with the final release.

Again, these are just things I’ve heard from reading posts in the Steam discussions. We haven’t gone back to try it again since the release because we were hoping that maybe the dev team would put out some tweaks to things. Seeing that the last update was the 1.0 release in February, this never happened, and we got sidetracked playing other games.


What’s Good about Smalland?

The game has a lot of good things going for it. Multiplayer works well, for one. Playing this game solo is fine, but playing with a friend or two is far better. There is world difficulty scaling as more people join, so expect enemies to be more difficult the more people on the server.

There’s an air of whimsy to exist as these tiny people who are exploring a huge and dangerous world. There appears to have once been a human population, but all I’ve seen are the ruins of old neighborhoods and even castles. As a tiny, you fight a variety of enemies from ants to bees to wasps to lizards. You can even tame some of these creatures and make them your mounts.

The art style, feel of the game, and the music lend a ton of wonderful atmosphere. And as time passes, so do the seasons, which bring on an ever-changing world with challenges of dealing with weather (needing cold-proof gear).

You can find quest givers throughout the areas which lead you to boss fights. These fights to require strategy and knowing the right type of weapon to be most effective against them. We’ve only cleared a couple of these bosses, so I’m sure the difficulty ramps up the further you go.

Interesting Base Building Features

Base building has an interesting twist in Smalland – you can take your base wherever you want to go! There are specific giant trees that are marked with mushrooms that grow along the trunks that act as a mini jumping puzzle. Once you reach the top of one of these trees, you unlock the ability to build your base in the treetops – well out of any danger from creatures below.

The most interesting thing is that as you explore and move across the map, you’ll find more of these great trees in different locations. All you have to do is speak to an NPC at the tree and you can claim any tree as your new base. Whatever you built at your previous tree base then moves to the top of the new tree as you claim it.

This means instead of needing lots of bases and safe houses scattered across the map, you can just claim a new tree in a new area, and your base will move along with your progress. If you’re playing with others, you can open up your claim to them, and everyone can share and build on a single moveable base.

The base building was also very much in the forest little folk style. Like any survival game, you unlock new crafting stations, build storage, cook foods, and upgrade your gear within your base. So, it’s a very important central element of the game.

Plus it just looks neat.

Overall Thoughts

We haven’t gotten very far in our explorations of Smalland. I know eventually, you can craft wings that glide, and even tame a bird mount for a flying experience. However, I’ve also heard some of these end game achievements are locked behind a lot of grind.

This is a grind we haven’t experienced yet, though even making some of the lower level gear has proven slightly grindy as we had to hunt and kill many spawns over and over to get the materials to upgrade. So, it’s not a surprise to hear that there is more of a grind for more of a reward.

As I noted, we haven’t seen an update since 1.0 dropped in February (looks like they’ve been working on the VR version of this game), but there is a roadmap claiming we should get an update sometime this month. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of crafting and taming revamps they’ll make.

While we have been distracted by other survival games since, I’ll happily return to Smalland to check out new updates in the future. That being said, I’d still suggest waiting for the price of this to drop during a sale if you want to pick it up. We bought it before they jacked up the price for 1.0 launch – I feel that the price point for this game should be more like $20 than $35, however.

I do think that with all of the steep competition for survival games that are out this year – between Palworld, Enshrouded, and Grounded going to final release – Smalland will need to lower their price point somewhere to become more competitive. It’s a bit of a shame that this cute and atmospheric survival game will likely be overshadowed by these other more celebrated titles.

Despite that, I still hope we see future enhancements that the team announced on the roadmap. This game just has so much charm and style in what it does, and I’d like to see it stick around.

*|* {April} *|* {2024} *|* {Steam Gaming} *|*