Quick Look – DYSMANTLE (#JustOnePercent 97/100)

Developer: 10tons Ltd
Release Date: November 16, 2021
MSRP: $19.99

If you’ve ever been playing a zombie survival game, and found yourself thinking that the game would be so much better if only there was more stuff that you needed to smash with a crowbar, well, then DYSMANTLE might just be right up your alley. Years after the fall of civilization, you emerge from your no longer so well-supplied shelter to see what the world has become, and find a zombie-infested disaster. Obviously, there’s nothing else to be done than to smash absolutely everything that seems like it might be smashable, including the aforementioned zombies.

I may sound like I’m being unnecessarily hard on the game, but I really want to make sure to convey how critical to absolutely everything else that breaking things will be. You will want to upgrade your crowbar, sure, for more damage as it’s also your primary weapon, but mainly so you can smash up stronger items of furniture to collect more and different materials. In fact, you’ll likely want to avoid zombies as much as possible early on – even the most basic enemy will take multiple hits to kill, and you have so very little health.

But death is merely a setback – you will lose any materials you were carrying (although not any crafted items or anything you’d previously stashed away in your camp storage), but if you manage to make it back to your corpse, you can just loot them again. No, the most annoying thing about dying early on is this – all the enemies you previously killed will respawn. This is also true every time you use a campfire to replenish health, upgrade gear, or craft new gear. It’s tremendously annoying, and the game realizes this. In fact, one of the first quests you get it to craft an item to make sure the undead stay dead this time.

Sounds like a plan, except you need to be level 7 in order to craft the item, and the two main methods of gaining XP are smashing zombies and, well, breaking stuff. Now, while the zombies come back, the items you’ve broken will not. Before hitting the requisite level to craft the item that makes the dead stop coming back to life, I managed to kill the first mini-boss, and move onto the next area.

At which point – over 90 minutes into the game – the opening credits started rolling. The opening credits. This has to be a new record.

I personally found the pace of DYSMANTLE ping-pong-ed between being tedious and frenetic. It took me far longer than I want to admit to start to get a handle on the attack patterns of the most basic zombies, which meant I did an awful lot of corpse runs. Material costs for upgrades and new equipment seemed almost prohibitively high, presumably to keep you moving forward through the game rather that turtling for 90 minutes in the opening tutorial-esque area. That first mini boss looked terrifying ok?

Since I’m not normally a huge fan of zombie survival, I’m not sure what intrigued me enough to purchase this in the first place. This has been in my library since February of 2021, when it was still in early access. In fact, I recall being very frustrated by it when I played it then, and I’m glad I took the time to give it another whirl – while it’s still not exactly my cup of tea, there was something about it that kept me playing, wanting to see what I was going to unlock next.

SteamDB estimates that DYSMANTLE has sold between 155,800 and 425,500 copies on Steam. It clearly has done well, both in sales and reviews, and sits at Very Positive. Clearly, it’s a hit with its target audience, and it is ranked 232 out of 10,967 games released in 2021.

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