Indie Game Subsistence Review

Indie Game Subsistence Review

Subsistence is an Indie game developed by anonymous known as ColdGames, a single developer who built everything by himself.

Having invested a fair share of gameplay hours into Subsistence’s solo and co-op campaigns, we must admit that this is a solid game. That’s why we have put together this review to show you where this game really shines while shedding light on some areas where we feel the dev could have done a better job.

What is Subsistence?

Ever played a game with no storyline, where the goal is mere survival? Well, that’s Subsistence in a nutshell.

ColdGames developed this sandbox, PvE, first-person, open-world, survival, action-adventure game to be played solo or in co-op mode. The player’s character spawns in lakes, streams, mountains, and other large contained areas in an environment reminiscent of Canada.

In Subsistence, there are no quests. So, essentially, the game has no end. Survival is the primary and only objective. You will be facing off against aggressive wildlife, including wolves, cougars, and bears as well as AI hunters. When starting your game, you have the option to turn off the AI hunters or just tone down their aggression.

Subsistence Gameplay

Subsistence Gameplay

Subsistence was originally a solo-play game. The single-player gameplay and setup are pretty straightforward. For instance, it’s relatively easy to set up what time of the year the game begins as well as how many in-game days are in one in-game month.

When playing the co-op, we felt that it left more to be desired. The dev could do more to make it easier.

A common challenge when playing Subsistence is setting up the game’s timings. The game is default set so that one month has two days. However, this doesn’t give the player enough time to build a BCU (Base Control Unit), store food, or even get clothing sorted in order to get ready for the winter. And believe us when we say, the phrase “winter is coming” is more related to this game than GoT.

You may try to overcome the timings challenge by increasing the number of days in your in-game months. However, the game still runs at the default rate, meaning you get hungry faster. So, you have to be constantly hunting or foraging. Balancing out the timing and gameplay could do wonders for the game.

When it comes to PvP, the game is a classical first-person shooter, with controls similar to Call of Duty. In fact, it has the potential to become an Esports game where players could choose between bow and arrow or rifles and grenades. It highly unlikely, but the game is still in early-phase and anything could happen if any major video-game publisher decides to purchase it.

Subsistence Graphics

One of the first things that hit us when we first got on Subsistence was how stunning the graphics were. Water, foliage, and other environment textures are fantastic, surpassing even many newer games that need high-specs rigs.

The specs demands for the game are quite low. It runs exceedingly well with DX 9 on cards manufactured over a decade ago. So, it’s pretty impressive how high the frames are, even on a low-spec PC.

Survival, Action, and Adventure in Subsistence

In an overly-saturated genre of survival games, Subsistence attempts to offer a unique spin on thriving in the open world. There’s always danger lurking in the lush, hilly, or snow-covered environment.

Wildlife isn’t your friend. Deer, chicken, and rabbits are harmless and will generally leave you alone, if not run away. Bears, wolves, and cougars are a whole different story, though. They’ll sound off a single warning on seeing you, and if you’re not fast enough, they’ll eat you alive.

Nature, too, isn’t friendly. Nights are usually so cold that you’ll need to build a fire. Fire-building materials as well as food, ammo, and other crafting resources, can be found in random crates that spawn throughout the game.

Once you’ve set up a BCU, the AI hunters start building their bases and attacking you. Unfortunately, the game’s difficulty also increases. The hunters are bad, and they really hate you. In single-player mode, you have no allies, so you are perpetually at risk of getting killed.


Subsistence is an excellent game without a story-- nothing tells you who you are, where you are, or your motivations. It is simply a game about surviving as long as you possibly can. A survival game enthusiast who loved playing Rust will enjoy Subsistence.