This is not a good experience and I definitely did not enjoy my time playing through it. Another delay might have saved Away: The Survival Series from being the technical mess of a game that currently is.
It's a very rough game. Playing through it feels like is a very alpha version of the game. I played the PS5 version of the game on well, a PS5 and the performance is, for lack of a better word, horrible. The frame rate is all over the place, less than 30fps most of the time with a lot of stuttering that really bothered me. Not only cause it makes the whole visual experience appalling, but also cause it undermines the whole gameplay, more on that later.
The animations would just break very frequently and your character, which in the story is a sugar glider, would go into this frozen state where the character would just float around, imagine the infamous T-pose for humanoid creatures that tend to happen in games. Now that I think about it, it would have been hilarious if the tiny creature went into a T-pose, but I digress. The camera is also rough and you will fight against it throughout the game. I guess since the character is so tiny in this big world, the camera has a lot of difficulties keeping the character in focus which causes problems during gameplay, but more on that later.
Another thing I think needed more love before release was the triggering of the narration. The story of Away: The Survival Series is set up like a documentary where you follow the journey of a young sugar glider, called a joey, trying to reach and save his mother and little sister from a vulture that resides on top of a massive tree. And this whole journey is narrated by a British narrator, somewhat doing a great job at emulating Sir David Attenborough's excellent narration in countless documentaries. I really liked him, but very often narrations would play and stack on top of each other since, I guess, I reached many trigger points in the levels and that kinda undermined the best part of the game. And the last problem, on the presentation side, is the menu UI. Sometimes a menu would just stick and be visible on screen the whole time and reloading the game did not fix it. When navigating the menus, a mouse cursor would just appear out of nowhere, but sometimes you could just navigate via the d-pad or analog sticks. Also, sometimes when I was viewing the map, I couldn't do anything on it. I couldn't fast-travel, I couldn't close it, couldn't do anything, which was very strange.
Yeah, Away: The Survival Series has a lot of presentation bugs and performance issues, but it wouldn't be the end of the world if it had good gameplay. Sadly, it also lacks in the gameplay side too. Controlling the tiny sugar glider doesn't really feel all that good. You can climb most forest surfaces, but you will be constantly fighting against the geometry of the object you are climbing and the camera. Gliding is also not good. You are a tiny creature, who served as an inspiration for the wingsuit, but when you glide you fall down like a rock so quickly that you can't really enjoy it. In the final moments in the story, you have to avoid a couple of wolves by staying above on top of the trees. Moving on the branches is a chore, as very often the joey would just move on the underside of the branch and you had to struggle to get him on the top side. Jumping from branch to branch was also a chore cause you'd never know where your tiny dude would land. The stickiness when landing is all over the place and very often you would just completely miss and fall down where you'd become a wolves' snack. Your joey can also attack by mashing the circle button, but, again, the hit detection is all over the place.
During the story, there are some action sequences like climbing a massive burning tree or a quick-time event where you jump across running deers, tree planks, etc. and these would be great if it wasn't for all the problems mentioned. There's also an upgrade mechanic where your tiny dude can get more health, stamina etc. but I didn't have the nerve to find and eat like 100 mushrooms or 25 bugs to unlock something that wouldn't make any sort of difference.
I did not enjoy my time with Away: The Survival Series and after I finished the story which took just under two and a half hours, I thought I was done. But there's a whole another Exploration mode where you can possess other tiny creatures like bugs, butterflies, etc. but honestly, I didn't want to go through the same broken experience for a second time.
At the current state, I can't recommend Away: The Survival Series for PS5 to anyone. Maybe after a couple of patches down the line, the game might be worth trying. For now, stay away from it. Thanks for reading.
The game was reviewed on a PS5 using a review code provided by the publisher. Away: The Survival Series is available on PlayStation and PC.