Beach of island of hope with fishing spot in survival fountain of youth
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Survival: Fountain of Youth Review — A Fun Twist on History

Survival: Fountain of Youth offers a blend of history and survival that makes for an impactful and challenging experience.

The concept of a survival game like Survival: Fountain of Youth certainly isn’t new. However, even with so many options, I’m constantly searching for that game that lets me become a true Robinson Crusoe or Castaway. Survival: Fountain of Youth succeeds at that lonely deserted island approach with a fun twist on historical events.

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A Tale That Goes Down in History

The legendary Fountain of Youth has been used as a theme for plenty of stories, TV Shows, and movies, but I never would have thought to tie it into a survival game experience. Odinsoft pieces it together perfectly, allowing you to step into the shoes of a 16th-century sailer and a member of Ponce de Leon’s crew. After the boat goes down due to a bad storm, you’re all alone in the Caribbean Islands.

However, the hunt for the Fountain of Youth isn’t over. These islands have tons of traces of Ponce de Leon and his undying passion for finding the treasure. At the same time, you’ll uncover an ancient civilization that inhabited the island at one time.

Ponce de Leon's map at Survival: Fountain of Youth start
Screenshot by GameSkinny

You come across plenty of ancient ruins, puzzles, and historical notes around the islands. Each contains a hint about the Fountain of Youth and the whereabouts of your lost crew mates. Survival is at the front and center of this experience. However, the twist on historical events (although slightly embellished) makes the game so much more than that. If you’re a fan of history, you’ll appreciate all the little details. There’s a note from Columbus on Ponce de Leon’s gifted spyglass. Plus, many notes and maps of Ponce de Leon’s tracking of the landmark. The thrill of potentially finding the Fountain of Youth for yourself makes exploring even more exciting.

The main storyline helps keep the game progressing steadily. It gives you goals to work for, but you aren’t limited to just completing them. You’ll pick plenty of other side quests from mysterious artifacts you come across on the islands. Exploring the map randomly led me to uncover the remains of a Spanish soldier and a treasure map. It wasn’t related to the main quests but was another exciting addition to the experience.

Survival: Fountain of Youth ancient ruins arc on the Island of Hope
Screenshot by GameSkinny

All the side quests and secrets around the map give the game instant extended playtime and replayability. Even if you want to rush through and experience all of the main storyline, you’ll be curious enough to backtrack and explore the other areas of the map. You can have multiple playthroughs with profile slots. This allows you to build a base in various spots, try out more weapons, and adventure differently each time. Or, take your time with one full playthrough of the game. Either way, there are plenty of stories to uncover.

Survival of the Fittest

The central aspect of the game is survival, and in Survival: Fountain of Youth, that is not to be taken lightly. Even with normal difficulty, you face some extreme challenges to stay alive. Not only are there deadly animals that want to maul and eat you, but you’ll have to stay fed and hydrated. On top of that, you’ll also need to watch out for weather conditions and prevent diseases. The game focuses on all realistic situations regarding survival, which means exploration becomes much more challenging. It’s not safe to wander around without the proper gear and items.

If you’re not careful, you’ll lose all your health and end up fainting. Fainting is equivalent to death in most games but respawns you back at your closest camp. Only, you’ll have lower max health than you did before. You’ll also need to track down all your lost gear at the spot of your ‘faint.’ This counts as Near Death Experience. The only way to increase your max health again is to drink Living Water (another homage to the Fountain of Youth). However, faint enough times in a row without Living Water, and you’ll have a permadeath. You’ll need to fully restart the game again (you can play on a lower difficulty to have unlimited faints).

Campfire with stones and fish and coconuts next to it in Survival: Fountain of Youth
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Even with the game’s difficulty, Survival: Fountain of Youth gives you everything you need to progress and thrive. It’s up to you to determine your fate in the game and make wise choices in how you spend your time. Since you’re not limited to any particular space, you can wander anywhere around the map, harvesting materials and items. You can craft something from every item in the world, like weapons, tools, and clothing. In turn, you can stay fed with food, warm with a fire, and protected with clothes. As frustrated as I got with continuous diseases and animal attacks, it really was my fault alone. I could have been spending my time more wisely, gearing up and crafting items that would help me survive better.

The key to success in Survival: Fountain of Youth is taking your time. With that realization, I found that the experience became even more enjoyable. Along with crafting items, you can also increase survival skills. These skills make your hunger and thirst deteriorate slower, allow you to get better at tracking animals and items, and gain more energy when sleeping. Overall, it just makes you more enduring and stronger. To increase your survival skills, you use Survival Points. You earn these by uncovering secrets and ancient chronicles around the map. This means you must take the time to explore everything. There’s no fast way to find and trek to chronicles, which is why patience is so important. It ultimately brings the survival aspects of the game hand-in-hand with the history.

Man vs. Wild: Combat and Gameplay

Battling the elements to avoid disease and keep your hunger and thirst high is only one form of survival in this experience. However, it could hardly be considered a survival game without a bit of combat involved as well. And, trust me, there is no shortage of combat here. There are dangerous animals everywhere you turn, from sneaky little scorpions to hungry sharks. I don’t know how often I was jump-scared by snakes who blended into the environment. It’s essential to defend yourself against these animals, not only for your survival but to harvest their materials as well.

To defend yourself, you have a choice of many weapons, but they are up to you to craft. You’ll most likely start with a simple spear, but then you can expand your collection to swords and bows and, eventually, even some guns. Along with these obvious weapon choices, you can also use some tools as weapons, like axes and cutters. This comes in handy if you don’t know how to make other weapon options yet or if something sneaks up on you unexpectedly. Depending on what materials are used to make them, the weapon will be stronger. You can throw, shoot, or stab, but it will still come down to how well you time and aim your attacks.

Throwing spear at crabs on the beach in Survival: Fountain of Youth
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Attacks themselves get a bit bumpy for me. Each animal attacks a bit differently: birds swoop down on you from above, and boars charge at you. Perhaps, the most annoying, is the scorpion, which can jump on you without even giving you a chance to react. The only way to avoid taking damage from an enemy is by timing a block just right. When the animal glows in red, about to hit you, press the block button and maneuver out of the way. It’s a decent idea but much more complicated than it sounds. Mainly due to the block triggering a brief animation for each creature. If there is more than one creature, it’s almost impossible to dodge twice in a row.

Along with the block being a little clumsy, it also makes it harder to hit the animals up close. Most animals you block will be pushed behind you with the animation. You have to turn your camera as quickly as possible to try and hit them before they can run away. With some animals, like birds, it becomes a nuisance, especially since your only moment to strike them is when they’re swooping right toward you.

Holding bow and arrows in Survival: Fountain of Youth
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Since close-quarters combat is not a comfortable strategy, I quickly adapted to ranged combat. It instantly appeared to be more effective. Paired with your crouch/sneak movement, shooting or throwing from afar seems the best way to take an animal down. This way, you aren’t stuck in a never-ending cycle of blocking. If you need to dodge an attack, you can push them away, then turn and shoot them. Throwing and shooting weapons is fun, but you also have a greater chance of losing your weapon. This happens a lot, especially spears, which is why it’s always good to carry a backup weapon.

Build Your Perfect Island Life

Building is one of my favorite parts of almost every survival game, and it definitely was one of my favorite parts about Survival: Fountain of Youth as well. It’s very similar to a Valheim-style building. You can place down the outline of the items to visualize what it will look like beforehand. Then, interact with it to start the building process. That way, if you don’t like the look of something, you can get rid of it and replace it without using any materials.

There are a decent amount of building options to choose from with different variants of walls, roofs, floors, and decorations. I appreciate that the basic building pieces pretty much only require wood and ropes. Whereas, the upgraded versions have harder-to-find materials. That way, you can start building right away if you want. Along with structures and decorations, you also have machines you can build, like a kiln, carpentry bench, and rain collector. These are essential stations to have at your base that you have to build with the materials around you. Every piece of your base serves a purpose: protecting you from animals and weather, allowing crafting and storing items, and even making you more comfortable to sleep.

There is plenty of room for growth in terms of building items, though. I would’ve liked to see even more options, like different styles for walls and floors, rather than just wood. However, I also see the realism behind that lack of choice, considering you are stranded on a deserted island.

Building outlines for a base with kiln and bed of leaves in Survival: Fountain Of Youth
Screenshot by GameSkinny

My biggest gripe about building — and pretty much any action — was the time consumption. Every action takes time out of your day, whether you’re harvesting coconuts out of a tree or putting together a structure for your camp. While it’s a realistic concept, it can be frustrating, especially when trying to build a base. One floor or foundation of your base could take eight to ten hours. Considering it takes time to harvest materials as well, you could use up even more of your day.

It’s almost impossible to continue working when it’s dark. Unless you have enough lights around you, you’ll have to sleep and continue the process the next day. I appreciate that it makes time management more strategic. However, the building would be more enjoyable if there were more leeway with time. I want to go hunting, explore, build, and everything else all in a day. This leads me to believe that Survival: Fountain of Youth should have just been on a regular day and night schedule without the processing times for each action.

The Map is Large, but Traveling is Tricky

Most survival games do a great job of making the map seem larger than it is simply by making it hidden until you discover it. While Survival: Fountain of Youth certainly uses this tactic a bit by making you map out things, it isn’t a disappointment in size at all. There are five different regions, with eleven islands spread out across them, all of which are decent size. Plus, they all propose a new challenge as well: windy mountains, bug-infested swamps, and blistering heat. You’ll find new resources in each one, as well as new threats and animals.

Not only are there plenty of other islands and regions to discover, but every island has its secrets and landscapes to explore. You’ll have to map out your current area by using charcoal and getting to a high enough elevation. Once you start mapping, materials and landmarks appear on your map so you can find them more easily. However, trekking there is still a challenge and a half. It’s also one of the most frustrating parts of the game.

The movement in Survival: Fountain of Youth is realistic. Your body feels heavy. Jumping doesn’t lift you very high off the ground, and you can’t just walk straight up a mountainside. Yes, it makes sense, but it makes exploring even more complicated. Especially when you have to escape approaching animals, dodge prickly plants, and climb a mountainside ruin without falling to your death.

Dock and raft with sail on Island of Hope beach in Survival: Fountain of Youth
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Getting to other islands is not an easy feat either. You’re surrounded by ocean, which means you’ll need a vessel that can carry you across those waves to other regions and islands. Building a boat and maintaining it is an exciting feature in this game that makes it feel even larger as well. You can sail away from an island any time, venturing out to sea. You’ll start with a basic raft, but you can eventually get a whole ship. By building a dock, you can keep your boat tied up or even fast-travel to each of your other docks to make things easier.

Multiple islands can be in one region, allowing you to sail back and forth between them. However, traveling between areas is a bit different. This requires an expedition, and that’s where patience certainly comes into play. You won’t be able to sail to another region until you progress enough on the first island. This consists of finding ancient map pieces, finding clues from your past crew members, or discovering a new boat upgrade.

Expeditions are pretty much a fast travel feature, but they take time out of your day and affect the durability of your boat. You’ll want to ensure you have a sturdy enough boat, some repair kits on hand, and supplies for when you arrive at the new location. That’s why taking your time in this experience is a must. Plus, it allows you to explore your current surroundings more before moving on to a potentially more dangerous environment.

Survival: Fountain of Youth — The Bottom Line

Fishing spot on island of hope in survival: fountain of youth
Screenshot by GameSkinny


  • Realistic survival aspects
  • An iconic tale that immerses you as the leading role
  • Plenty of secrets to uncover and side quests for endless replayability
  • A gigantic map to explore with few restrictions
  • Plenty of building opportunities that allow you to get creative


  • Clumsy combat
  • Heavy, frustrating movement mechanics
  • Anything and everything takes up time in your day

Overall, Survival: Fountain of Youth is a survival game that completely engrossed me. I could spend hours tracking down new materials, building a base, or simply exploring the landscapes. Along with the survival aspects, the historical storyline intrigued me and made me curious to learn more about the true events, which I might not have even wondered about beforehand. Minor details, like the movement and combat, needed polishing. Besides those, I fully enjoyed playing it and would recommend it to any survival game enthusiast.

Survival: Fountain of Youth Review — A Fun Twist on History
Survival: Fountain of Youth offers a blend of history and survival that makes for an impactful and challenging experience.

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Abby Smith
Abby Smith is a super nerd and video game fanatic who grew up playing games on a variety of platforms. Since graduating, she has worked in the online journalism field for over three years. She likes to spend her free time binge-watching Netflix, reading all genres of novels, and playing all the best new video games. She is currently a full-time Staff Writer for GameSkinny, and as an alumni from Full Sail University, also enjoys dabbling in creative writing such as short stories, scripts, and comics on the side.