Surviv.io is a free-to-play, browser-based, online battle royale game for PC, iOS, and Android. As with other titles in the battle royale genre, players are pitted against other players on a large map, searching feverishly for supplies and weapons. Unlike other battle royales, however, Surviv.io is played from a top-down, 2D perspective, giving players a wider field of view than any other battle royale to come before it.
The graphics are about as simple as you can get, mostly consisting of basic geometric shapes and squiggles to denote everything from the players to buildings and everything in between. Player models are three circles: a large circle and two smaller circles to act like hands. Players can pick up costumes to change what color their circle is, but there is no character customization or permanent skins to equip like you would find in other games in the genre such as Realm Royale or PUBG.
The sound effects of the guns are passable, nothing to write home about. The lack of in-game music means that there are no audio distractions from these sounds. Bullets have travel lines and can ricochet so you pretty much always know where you are being shot from. This allows you to run away and hide in a bush, or if you are feeling confident, get a little spicy and engage.
Buildings work in an interesting way, only allowing players to see what is inside the building if they have a line of sight through an open window or a door (or are inside the building itself). Bushes and trees provide a valuable source of cover and make your player character a lot harder to see. Trying to shoot out of cover will result in your cover being damaged and making it so the other players know you are hiding.
I made the mistake of thinking I could fight from cover only to see the canopy of leaves above me, represented by a green squiggle, shrinking slowly. At this point, I was forced to run as the element of surprise was gone.
It was at that exact point, my cover blown and only two or three other people left, that I felt the same excited nervousness I feel when playing a much more graphically engaging battle royale. The gameplay loop is the same, the emotions it can offer up are also the same, regardless of the game’s glaring graphical shortcomings. That surprised me and kept me coming back for more games, even over my preferred battle royales.
One point where Surviv.io is leaps and bounds ahead of all the competition is the time it takes to get into a game. With other battle royale games, you have to wait for the game to load, then the lobby to populate and then load you into whatever the method of deployment to the map may be, be it battle bus or Zepplin.
With Surviv.io you load up the site, click play on whatever game mode you would like to play, be it solo, duo or squads, chose what server you want to play on once and click play. Not even a second later you will find yourself in hostile territory surrounded by murderous circles. My biggest gripe with battle royale games has always been the time it takes to get into a game, and Surviv.io destroys the competition in this aspect.
Couple this with the fact that rounds tend to be a lot shorter in Surviv.io, roughly lasting five minutes from entry to exit. So, you can get a lot more games in a session than other battle royale games, allowing players who are pressed for time to get their fix of adrenaline. The simple graphics also mean anyone on any machine can play as long as they can run a current version of their preferred internet browser.
There are always thousands of players on any given server meaning that you aren’t waiting to get into a game. And with crossplay with all platforms Surviv.io is available on, you will never be short of people to go up against on one of the 10 maps available. Some of the maps are seasonal, such as a spring map with cherry blossoms, which is surprisingly pretty to look at considering how simple the graphics are.
All in all, Surviv.io is a fun way to spend some time if you are looking for something that isn’t too cerebral. It lets you just kick back and have fun. You will find yourself getting invested in your little circle as time goes on, leaning forward in your chair as the tryhard in all of us fights to get out. Surviv.io is one of the few games where I don’t get annoyed when I die. The time from clicking play to playing and dying is just so low, getting annoyed just doesn’t make sense.