Survival games have been on rise lately. We’ve had 7 Days To Die, Rust, The Forest, and Steam just released another one based around a world full of dinosaurs. With all this competition, you need to stand out if you want your game to attract any attention. Sir, You Are Being Hunted does this with its British stylings and light-hearted feel, while still delivering an enjoyable experience. It’s also an example of the Early Access system working as intended, as the development studio, Big Robot, finally reached version 1.00 this May. They are continuing their efforts to expand and improve upon this title, but it can be considered complete in its current state.
The protagonist has been stranded on a small (randomly generated) archipelago, after an experiment gone wrong. He (or she) can only return by retrieving the fragments of the device involved in the experiment, and bringing them back to the standing stones. In the process, they must eat regularly, and tend to any wounds given by their pursuers- robots dressed like old school aristocrats. So now you know how it feels to be a fox in old England, as dogs and traps and gentlemen on horseback threaten your continued survival.
You have a number of items for fighting and distracting the robots while keeping yourself healthy, but they all need to fit in a grid-based inventory. Additional food, weapons, and ammo can be procured, but you’re often burning through one resource in pursuit for another.
Now, while I liked the concept, it seemed too easy when I first played. Each piece is guarded by a couple robots that can be killed or lured away fairly reliably. Between the red lights, electronic beeping, and synthetically voiced chatter, it is easy to tell when an enemy is nearby. There are also enough weapons available from abandoned houses and such that violence is an entirely viable option for reaching the impact craters dotting the islands.
You will, however, start to feel the pinch of limited resources as you empty the houses of useful items, and while shotguns can deal excessive damage up close, it also means your hunters can do the same. The robots also step up their efforts as you retrieve more pieces of the device. I once stopped at the center island to drop off my pieces, and turned to see a line of hunters combing the greenery around the standing stones.
SYABH is one of those games that provides plenty of audio and visual cues, and expects you to make use of them, or at the very least understand them. Smoke will attract enemies, but can also be used to track down pieces of the device. Running through dense brush isn’t a big deal on its own, but when it causes a flock of birds to scatter, it attracts unwanted attention. The classic “throw a rock to distract the enemy” technique quickly becomes a mainstay.
The HUD also provides some important pieces of information- How close you are to dying, how close you are to starving, and how easily you can be seen in your current state. The cast of enemies is small but diverse. And while you won’t see horse-robot-mounted hunters or the house sized “Landowner” very often, this helps to make their appearances memorable. Oh, and stay out of the water. There appears to be something in it.
The game looks good, given its humble origin. There is plenty of detail in the islands, enemies, and items. And, even with its mildly comical premise, it manages some tense and even scary moments thanks to some of the more unnerving robot designs.
For all its respectable qualities, SYABH is not for everyone, but fans of the survival genre should have a good time. It is available for $20 on Steam.