Green Hell Review – The Second Worst Amazon

Overview

I used to think I could be on one of those reality show contests where you need to survive in the wilderness and are rewarded a bunch of money at the end. After playing Green Hell, I’ve changed my mind. I will continue being a hermit in my nice safe house, thanks.

You can find a video version of this review on my YouTube Channel.

The title isn’t just for show, the game definitely puts the Hell in Green Hell. The game is brutal. I’m a massive fan of survival games. But if we ever go full Matrix, I’d sooner enter the world of Ark and chance being eaten by T-Rex rather than be forced to allow maggots to eat my rotting flesh to survive an infection. That’s a thing in Green Hell.

The player looks over a small ledge in Green hell at the jungle beyond
The Jungle Calls

Green Hell is a much more realistic take on survival than most games. You might come out of a fight alive, only to die from infected wounds hours later. Eating the wrong thing may fill your stomach with parasites, and sleeping on the ground opens you up to worms that burrow into your skin and drive you mad.

If your mind is pushed too hard, you may even begin to hear voices, or see illusions that can kill as if they were real, because to you they are.

Huh, trapped in an Amazon that pushes you to the brink of death, destroys your sanity and you may have to soil yourself on occasion…Why does that sound familiar?

Bias & Information

Review Copy Used: Yes                                       Genre: Survival Game
Hours Played: 20+                                           Platforms: PC, Xbox Platforms, PS4
Reviewed On: Xbox Series X                                  Type: Full Release
Fan Of Genre: Yes                                           Publisher: Creepy Jar
Mode Played: King of The Jungle (Hard)                      Price: $24.99

Surviving Green Hell

The most important thing you need to understand about Green Hell, is the simple act of surviving from day to day is where the fun is meant to be. Green Hell is grounded in reality. It’s gamified sure, but it uses real-world survival techniques, and mistakes have severe consequences.

In many survival games you’re building up to something, and you always have a tech tree-like progression. In Green Hell, you are just trying to make it through to the next day. It’s slow and tedious, but incredibly satisfying if you like the survival aspect of the genre.

It’s satisfying because it’s challenging, at least on hard, which is what I played. You never succeed because you are a higher level, or you crafted an axe with a +1 edge of tree murdering. You survive purely by the choices you make and the things you learn.

A rash on the players arm from ants in Green Hell
A rash can quite literally, drive you insane.

You have to learn how to craft the proper medical aids to cure a variety of injuries. Nearly every ingredient is listed as unknown, leaving you little information unless you take a risk and consume it ahead of time. Yet, if you happen to possess any real-world knowledge, it will help you.

For example. I knew charcoal had the ability to detoxify the contents of your stomach in real life, so I knew eating it could help with food poisoning in Green Hell. I won’t spoil you with survival tips here because learning through trial and error through all of your previous failures is part of what makes the game captivating. Using a wiki to note all the recipes and cures would be doing yourself a disservice to the experience.

Story & Modes

There are several modes you can play, Story Mode, Survival Mode, and Challenges. Challenges are specific survival-based objectives that usually require you to do something within a set amount of days. Survival mode is the core of the game where you survive as long as possible. The story mode plays just like survival mode, with a story to follow and some extra objectives.

I don’t really play survival games for the story, but it paints a nice picture of the world and why you’re actually there. I found a lot of it to be predictable, but it is interesting piecing most of it together through the clues and notes that you find. The dialogue is a bit heavy-handed and too obvious about what’s going on, but it’s voiced over well enough.

The player sees visions after a taking a drug in the jungle.
I feel like an acid trip in the middle of the jungle is a terrible idea.

The Survival Mode was my preferred way to play. But I do want to note that the game has several difficulties and even allows you to disable hostile elements. For me, the challenge is core to the Green Hell experience, but the options are nice. There’s also a harder mode with permadeath if you’re into that, and I appreciate its inclusion. You can also play the game in Co-op with your friends and that’s great!

Dangers Of A Green Hell

Green Hell is full of dangers that can kill you. A hungry jaguar or aggressive native can do so outright, but many others will do so over time. You’re much like a crab being boiled and may not realize it until it’s too late.

A snake bite may not be fatal. You can fight off low degrees of poison without aid, but the fever may dehydrate you enough that you die anyway. Eating anything you can find isn’t enough. You need a balance of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, lacking any one of these will eventually kill you.

If that seems excessive, it isn’t. It encourages you to adapt rather than subsist on a single source of food. Eating larva and spiders may keep you alive, but it also puts a drain on your sanity. Surviving in the amazonian jungle isn’t just a strain on your body, and the more you lose your sanity the worse things become.

A Jaguar lunges at a player who blocks with a spear in Green Hell.
Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur!

Green Hell is an immersive game that’s easy to get lost in, and half of your character’s madness intentionally reflects back on to you, the player. The whispers and screams can be absolutely grating on the ears, but that’s also the point. Finding an item only to watch it fade away because it wasn’t real is frustrating, and that’s also the point. Eventually, you will come under attack by enemies that aren’t real either, and they can still kill you.

The survival mechanisms in Green Hell are brilliant. They capture the idea of survival in ways we don’t often see in games and work to immerse you into the game’s terrifying world. If you let yourself get lost in it, it’s deceptively addictive.

Combat

Green Hell is often compared to The Forest and for good reason, they have a lot in common. But they are also very different games. Green Hell has a much stronger focus on realistic survival, less of a focus on base building, and combat is much rarer.

You will constantly be at risk of dying, but rarely from combat. At the same time, combat is exceptionally lethal and is a massive adrenaline boost when it happens. This is because any single attack that lands on you is devastating. Even if you win, you have to rush to patch yourself up properly, or the infection will kill you anyway.

Two natives attack the player in spear to spear combat in Green Hell.
A fight with the natives can go badly for you very quickly.

You can block, dodge, and even throw your weapons. The combat works fairly well and is in line with the rest of the game. It’s fast, deadly, and a mistake will cost you. Allow your stamina to drop too low, and you will be a sitting duck. At the same time, a decent shot to the head with even the most basic weapon will drop an enemy.

The main enemy you will encounter is aggressive natives that attack on sight and will occasionally come to your base if you have a fire lit. They utilize the same weapons that you can, bows, spears, and knives, and every encounter with them is intense, despite a bit of jank.

Aggressive wildlife, such as Jaguars, are equally scary because they hunt you. If one sees you without you spotting it, it will creep up silently before attacking. While they can be driven off, you won’t be a pretty sight afterward. The combat is fairly basic but rare enough that it’s always exciting when it occurs, an ever-present danger to be aware of.

Building A Green Hell

As I mentioned before, Green Hell has less of a focus on building compared to most survival games. You can build a custom shelter to your liking, and it’s a slow but satisfying process. But you won’t be stocking elaborate structures with furniture. Nothing in Green Hell comes quickly, and you will spend several in-game days hauling resources back and forth, as you can only carry a few big ones at the time.

It requires patience, but it’s also part of the game’s charm. You have to plan your expeditions for resources alongside your survival plans. Every single moment is one of extreme danger. Wandering blindly through the trees will have you running into ant hills, stepping on rattlesnakes, or worse, right into the jaws of a hungry Caimon Crocodile. Learn, from my mistake, I never even saw the beast…

The player builds a small shelter frame using long sticks.
Even simple structures take a large effort to create.

Here’s another point for the game’s immersion that won’t be for everyone, but I found it enjoyable. You don’t simply hit a button and pile your resources automatically to build a structure. They must be placed, piece by piece on the blueprint. You move from point to point to place the ropes where you would realistically need to tie your structures together. It’s strangely relaxing in a way.

Most of Green Hell systems work the same way, you check your arms and legs for wounds and pull leeches off one by one. You have to drag dried leaves to your fire starting tool and carry the embers to the fire. On one hand, crafting one arrow at a time is tedious. On the other hand, I very much valued every arrow I made because of it. You never want to waste an item in Green Hell, because YOU have to make the effort to make more. Not your character.

Janky Controls & Bugs

For every stride that Green Hell takes to immerse you into a survival experience, it takes two-step backs with awful gamepad controls and a janky nature.

Controlling the game itself is a nightmare and makes the game’s intentional tedium frustrating instead of immersive. The menu wheel is touchy and somewhat delayed. I consistently opened the wrong menu and accidentally slept on the ground time after time due to it. The game uses a slow, imprecise mouse cursor to navigate the backpack despite using a controller which makes even the most basic actions feel even longer.

Inspecting your body is massively cumbersome. You hold a trigger and use one stick to rotate your chosen limb, and hold a trigger and use the other stick to switch limbs, and it’s very confusing, even after several hours.

Goodbye forever Pot, you served me well.

I’ve had attacking natives go brain dead and stare at me because of a small stream between us, and the whole game is pretty buggy right now. My mud mixers would randomly stop working, forcing me to rebuild them, which was very resource-intensive and frustrating.

Green Hells systems run pretty logically, so it really pulls you outside of the game when something goes wonky. Filling a pot with water from a stream to boil it seemed logical. Imagine my shock when I couldn’t pick it back up?

Little did I know that you can’t carry a full pot. You have to spill the water first. If you spill the water when it’s underwater…It fills up again, so I couldn’t retrieve the pot at all.

When playing co-op the game really seems to break. When playing together my partner and I never had natives attack our base, and they only showed up from hallucinations a single time. The inconsistency of it made any bug feel even worse.

Verdict On Green Hell

Green Hell is a game that is very good at encapsulating the essence of wilderness survival. Every mechanic is crafted to immerse you into a challenging and terrifying realistic situation that most people would never survive.

Playing Green Hell reminds you just how lucky we are to live in civilization. As much as preppers like to posture, very few people are accurately imagining what life would be like in the wild. No medicine, or clean water, and the smallest wound can snowball into your death.

There are things you do in Green Hell that will make you squirm. Picking out worms from under your skin with a bone needle makes you realize that Bear Grylls drinking his own urine is like tasting the waters of Eden by comparison.

Moonlight shines through the trees of the Green Hell jungle.
The jungle can be as pretty as it is dangerous.

Green Hell not only captures the spirit of the concept but makes it fun in ways that aren’t truly conventional. There’s no carrot on a stick, but every morning that you’re still alive feels like an accomplishment. Building a half-decent shelter will take ages and tons of effort, but when it’s finished you realize you built it while contending with a hostile environment that tried to kill you every step of the way. It feels really good.

It does come at a cost. There’s much less to the game than you would think. The number of recipes and structures is actually quite small, and the map isn’t very big. The struggle to learn anything and survive gives you an illusion of more content early on, but it fades as you play.

The console ports are also done poorly between the bugs and awful controls. Both of which can be patched, but for the time being there’s more to making the game Hell than just the Jungle.

My Perspective On Green Hell

Survival games have always fascinated me, and not in a doomer kind way where I actively hope for a world-ending disaster so we can go back to basics. Those people are insane and would be dead within a week. So would I, but at least I’m honest about it!

That’s what makes survival games interesting, testing your ability to survive your own way within a set of well-defined mechanics. Most survival games aren’t realistic in the least, Green Hell tries to be. Survival in Green Hell is nowhere near as difficult as it would be in real life, but it makes you feel like is.

The player attempts to start a fire using by rubbing two sticks together.
Burn baby burn!

It’s a type of game that a lot of people won’t see the point of, but it has an audience, and I’m in it. It’s massively satisfying to try, fail and try again. Pitting myself against the elements in a scenario that I never want to live out in real life. That’s the great part about video games, I’d never want to come face to face with a towering fire-breathing lizard either, but no one would question a game where you do it.

Green Hell isn’t any different, the fire-breathing lizard is just swarms of wasps, malnutrition, and blood-sucking leeches. Its jank can be distracting, but could largely be forgiven if not for the terrible controls and persistent bugs. The console versions are also behind the PC version in updates, and that’s frustrating.

Green Hell is a game that’s going to be great once the developers have maggots eat away all the infected bits and patch the wounds in a lovely update-lined bandage. It just isn’t there yet, and I’m somewhat sad I’ve had my experience soured before it got there.

You might also enjoy my reviews of Stranded Deep and State of Decay 2

Support me on Kofi

Pros

  • Excellent and cohesive survival mechanics
  • Surviving feels rewarding without needing a carrot on a stick
  • Difficulty settings present
  • A variety of modes including co-op
  • It’s a very immersive experience where everything is designed to pull you into the Amazon
  • The slow paced focus and realism is interesting
  • Combat is rare, but intense and lethal

Cons

  • The variety of recipes, buildings and items is actually quite small
  • The console controls are awful and frustrating
  • Sadly, the console version is laden with bugs and janky instances
  • The map is much smaller than it looks

Who Would Like This Game?

  • People who like to pit themselves against a challenging scenario.
  • Fans of Survival aspects that are based on taking care of yourself.
  • You want to be immersed into a games theme.
  • If you want a survival expierence you can share with friends in co-op.
  • You enjoy games such as The Long Dark, Don’t Starve, and Wayward.

Who Wouldn’t Like This Game?

  • You only enjoy survival sandboxes like Ark Survival Evolved, and Conan Exiles. They actually have very little in common.
  • If you need a lot of action or you get bored. Green Hell is not an action game.
  • You have a low tolerance for jank. Bugs aside, some part of the game will always feel janky due to it’s nature.
  • Tedium bores you. If you are unable to enjoy games such as Stardew Valley, The Sims, or games heavy on resource collection and crafting. You won’t like Green Hell.