Train monkeys to kill orcs in The Escapists spin-off The Survivalists

(Image credit: Team17)

The Survivalists is the spin-off to The Escapists you didn't know existed. It’s a shark-filled sandbox that casts you away on an island - with a bunch of crafting recipes and the local population of monkeys as your workforce.

Where The Escapists taught you to be wary of shivvings from your fellow inmates, The Survivalists (opens in new tab) pits you against an “array of mythical enemies” - including orcs, which we don’t remember seeing even in Lost’s later seasons.

Thankfully, you can even out the odds by playing with three others in co-op. Failing that, there’s the option to tame an army of monkeys. They can be trained to perform complex tasks using what Team17 calls the Mimic System, a powerful and flexible tool that appears to hinge on bananas.

Basically, you give a monkey a banana, and then act out whatever series of actions you’d like them to replicate. With the right direction, they’re capable of building shelters, chopping down trees, and defending against raids from the orcs.

Presumably the monkeys get 28 days annual holiday and paid sick leave on top of that, but Team17 haven’t confirmed those details yet.

The Wakefield-based Worms studio published The Escapists (opens in new tab), and has since developed games in its expanded universe - like 2015’s unlikely Walking Dead spin-off (opens in new tab). Original developer Mouldy Toof is still around, though, and led development on The Escapists 2. 

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Over the weekend, the Survivalists team shared footage of a player using spike traps to deal with an encroachment of orcs - something we’re keen to replicate having just polished off Orcs Must Die! 3 on Stadia (opens in new tab).

The Survivalists is due for release on Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One and PC before the end of the year.

Check out the upcoming Switch games for 2020 and beyond (opens in new tab)

Jeremy is a freelance editor and writer with a decade’s experience across publications like GamesRadar, Rock Paper Shotgun, PC Gamer and Edge. He specialises in features and interviews, and gets a special kick out of meeting the word count exactly. He missed the golden age of magazines, so is making up for lost time while maintaining a healthy modern guilt over the paper waste. Jeremy was once told off by the director of Dishonored 2 for not having played Dishonored 2, an error he has since corrected.