Stranded: Alien Dawn - Robots and Guardians Review
Stranded: Alien Dawn - Robots and Guardians is a game that well and truly had me hooked for a long time. The three scenarios included in the base game were varied enough that by the time I’d finished the third campaign, I jumped straight back into the first one! Now, with the addition of the Robots and Guardians DLC, a fourth scenario has been added, along with a whole host of items to research and craft to make your time on whichever hostile planet you crash-land on just that little bit easier.
Just like the other three campaigns, Robots and Guardians has a short paragraph explaining the context as to why your group of survivors are huddling together under scrap metal shelters whilst surrounded by alien lifeforms. A small group of rebels have rescued an intelligent android named Hope 9000 and are tasked with keeping her safe until she reaches full sentience. It’s not much of a plot to go on, but the rest of the game doesn’t exactly have a rich narrative. Instead, you’ll get snippets of smaller story moments as you play, with each character having various wants and needs that they will occasionally vocalise.
The main aim of this DLC is to ensure Hope’s survival as she grows from a barely functioning robot, unable to perform even the simplest of tasks, to a fully sentient member of the group who can (and will) act entirely like her human liberators. Using a simple RPG-like mechanic, prompts will often appear asking the player how they’d like to improve Hope’s skills. From warrior droid to farming machine, there’s a good amount of options to choose from as the android grows, meaning replaying this scenario will always offer the chance to experience something new. It may take a while before you start your second run, though, as the scenario can only be completed once Hope has reached an intelligence level of 10. Now, considering how long this can take, with the added fact that she can actually lose intellect, Robots and Guardians can run the risk of becoming a bit of a slog unless you’re constantly keeping track of what the android is up to. Honestly, the more sentient she becomes, the more she seems like a moody teenager; refusing to do anything asked and wandering off to explore the environment.
This isn’t quite a tale of a peaceful settlement getting by day to day on an alien world with a sitcom-esque android finding her place in the world though, because hunter robots will occasionally drop in to say hello. Oh, and also wipe the group out and take back Hope! Thankfully, there are many new ways to combat these hunters, as one of the biggest additions introduced in Robots and Guardians is a whole host of new defensive options to construct. New weapons are perhaps the most basic, as you’ll be able to construct battle drones to automatically take down any indigenous lifeform that strays too close to your camp, alongside other vital weapons such as improved versions of turrets and defensive towers. Perhaps my personal favourite is constructing service droids that will carry out the more physical tasks, removing the need for the survivors to dirty their hands with things like building new structures, or harvesting manure…
The new building materials are also an added bonus, as being able to construct houses that are made of more than just scrap metal and sticks really makes your settlement feel like a small, thriving community. Sure, perhaps balconies and elevators aren’t the most important things to consider after you’ve crash-landed on a strange planet with a stolen android to keep safe, but if you’ve spent all that time harvesting the materials, why not treat yourself?
Robots and Guardians isn’t a complete game changer for Stranded: Alien Dawn. What it is, however, is more of what is an already great strategy survival game with some additional mechanics thrown in for good measure. Not limiting the new research and construction options to the new scenario is a blessing, especially when returning to previously completed ones on Insane difficulty!
Stranded: Alien Dawn - Robots and Guardians (Reviewed on PlayStation 5)
This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.
A worthwhile DLC that gives this already deep survival title more content to play around with. These may be hostile worlds, but now your survivors can relax, and let the robots make things a little bit safer.