For some time now the mighty tribal drums had been shaking the internet, bringing the tidings that will certainly make happy all the fans of action-packed survival games: ARK Survival Evolved is finally coming to iOS and Android devices! In the unlikely case you aren’t familiar with this franchise, the premise of the game is quite simple – you are cast by some alien civilization on an island inhabited mostly by dinosaurs (plus some other extinct species for the sake of the biodiversity) and you have to survive the whole ordeal. Now, the novelty of the concept responsible for the major success of the franchise is that it manages to combine a gameplay based on harsh survival and our endless fascination with the creatures that walked, swam, crawled and hunted across the planet long before the arrival of humans.
The original PC and console version of ARK Survival Evolved (as well as its expansion packs ARK Scorched Earth and Aberration) were developed by Studio Wildcard. The mobile version that’s hopefully going to grace the screens of Android phones any day now is a work of War Drum Studios. This is an experienced developer that’s already responsible for a number of successful ports such as Bully, Grand Theft Auto 3, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Max Payne, so we have a pretty good feeling about this one too.
Admittedly, the favorite pastime of anxious players expecting the release of their preferred title is to sift through rumors, half-truths and tantalizing little details that developers tend to misplace here and there like breadcrumbs. In this case, however, there is no particular reason for sleuthing through the internet (that’s our job, after all), since developers were pretty active on various social networks, ensuring the proper media support for the upcoming launch of their game. Of course, they’ve certainly saved a few aces up their sleeves, but we’ve managed to attain a pretty good notion about what awaits you once you join this primordial struggle for survival.
So, what can you expect to see in the mobile version of ARK Survival Evolved? One of the constant worries that mobile gamers have when it comes to conversions of massive games such as this is that some key element is going be left on the cutting room floor, and that they’ll end up with what’s essentially an abridged version of the original. However, in this case, it seems that there is definitely no reason for concern. Developers promise that mobile users will get what’s essentially an integral version of the original game, with an impressive bestiary, large and complex open world, functional multiplayer (or just single player, if that’s what you prefer) and all other aspects that defined the ARK Survival Evolved franchise and made it unique.
Of course, since there’s no point in making an exact copy of the original, the mobile version will also include plenty of new features, including controls and menus that are specially streamlined to make your mobile experience as pleasant and fluid as possible.
The crafting, building, exploring, (and barely surviving, let’s not forget that) are all undoubtedly extremely fascinating subjects, but let’s first jump on a topic that interests most players and gives the game its unique local color and identity. In other words, what interesting creatures the developers have prepared for us?
Although still as not as large as in the original (especially if we count the expansions), the bestiary is nevertheless quite impressive. According to current information, at the time of the launch, the bestiary will include more than 80 different creatures, gathered in that familiar jumble of species from different compatible and incompatible geological epochs. Although it would take too much space and time to enumerate all the saurian residents of this hazardous island and their megafauna counterparts, the thoughtful developers had paid attention to the murmurs of the gaming community, so they’ve included some the most popular creatures known from original PC and console versions.
In any case, if you’re suffering too much under the strain of excessive anticipation and can’t wait for the official release to see what the developers had prepared, they’ve posted the complete list of the creatures (https://survivetheark.com/index.php?/forums/topic/316326-creature-content), so be sure to check it out. The developers promise that you will be able to interact with the creatures in a variety of ways – hunt them, domesticate, breed, train to perform various tasks and, do all sorts of things approved (and disapproved) by World Animal Protection society. The guys from War Drum Studios even added a few items that will make your job of taming creatures much easier. The first one is a potent medicine known as a Soothing Balm and it can be used on any unconscious wild creature, thus speeding up the arduous taming process 10 times. The other is a delicacy called Sweet Vegetable Cake which can be used as a food for herbivores, but it’s also the only thing that can be used to tame the giant Achatina snails.
Crafting is another aspect of the mobile ARK Survival Evolved that actually benefited from this conversion. Although the fundamental crafting principles had remained the same, developers have introduced a whole bunch of different crafting stations that you’ll certainly find more than useful, including the Lumber Mill, Stone Workshop, Metal Foundry, Outpost, Dye Studio, Tannery, Factory, Loading Bench and even a Chef Station which you can use to brew drinks for you and cook kibble for your animal companions. All of them can be bought from the in-game store, and they usually require a certain level before they can be unlocked.
Now, we’ve reached an area that most players quite frankly expect with a mild dread, and that’s the subject of money and in-app purchases. Thankfully, although ARK Survival Evolved is a freemium game (and we all know that sometimes it’s just another name for the despicable “pay to win” model), the developers guarantee that you won’t have to spend anything on the game, and you’ll still be able to acquire all the structures, items, buffs and other special features we’ve mentioned. Now, how’s that even possible? Well, developers mentioned a resource called Ancient Amber that will serve as an in-game currency and can be collected from most dangerous predators, mined in amber deposits, randomly found, awarded as a gift for watching the ads as well as simply bought from the in-game store. We’ll just have to wait just a little longer and see whether they’ll keep all their sweet promises.
Finally, it might sound shallow, but graphics are one of the things that are crucial for the success of the game. Judging by the trailers, videos, and screenshots they’ve posted so far, the game will look absolutely great. Mobile phones had become powerful gaming stations in their own right, so it appears that the team from War Drum Studios had fully harnessed all that potential. You can expect one of the technically most impressive mobile games up to now, but all that visual splendor comes at a certain price. The high-end Android devices (with minimum 3GB of RAM, Android Nougat 7.0 and Vulkan Support) will be absolutely mandatory for a smooth gaming experience.