Survival: Fountain of Youth Review – You Can’t Eat the Snakes

Survival: Fountain of Youth lies somewhere between history and fiction, putting players in the shoes of a 16th-century Spanish explorer looking for ancient and mythical treasures of the new world. More specifically, it sees you playing the part of a member of Ponce De Leon’s crew during his fabled search for the Fountain of Youth (an expedition that historians now believe never actually happened) when a shipwreck strands you on the so-called Isle of Hope. With the remnants of your lost crew scattered throughout the archipelago alongside the mysterious ruins of a lost civilization, Survival: Fountain of Youth hopes to tell a compelling story through hardcore, realistic survival gameplay, and you can certainly feel the developer’s passion for the project as you play through it.

Survival: Fountain of Youth is a game about which I struggled to form an opinion. There were certain aspects that I enjoyed and periods in my playthrough when I really felt the groove of the game. At times, I felt frustrated or uninspired by what the game was showing me and felt that specific mechanics were annoyingly implemented. Said mechanics will undoubtedly be covered in this review.

If there’s one thing that won’t get me interested in your survival crafting game, it’s an uninspired or “realistic” aesthetic. I understand that Survival: Fountain of Youth is going for a setting grounded in reality, but the visuals in the game simply did not strike me. It could have certainly gone for a more stylized, interesting look than it did and still would have conveyed the same feelings it wanted to convey, perhaps even better.

The game doesn’t look bad, but it doesn’t look amazing, either. A heavy use of green from the game’s fauna paired with a yellow lighting palette can make areas look amazing in midday and then progressively worse as the sun goes down. The game also doesn’t look like it was made in 2024; I got major 2016 RUST vibes from the environments and textures present in the game.

That doesn’t mean it looks terrible, mind you. Despite having an older feel, the game certainly managed to capture some scenic views here and there.

Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

A game doesn’t have to look great to be fun, and as I said before, there are certainly a fair bit of mechanics I really enjoyed in Survival: Fountain of Youth.

Albeit, it took me a while to start enjoying myself. Initially kind of boring and frustrating, the game really started to open up after about an hour or two of playing it once I got a handle on the survival mechanics. Understanding how hunger and thirst work and getting on top of your supplies early can significantly mitigate a lot of early-game annoyances you might face in Fountain of Youth.

When you’re not in a death loop, the game’s more interesting mechanics really shine to you.

You get an idea of the game’s creative direction right at the start. In the game’s opening cutscene, your ship is caught in an attack, and you’re forced to flee the burning wreckage out of the captain’s quarters’ window. Before doing so, you get the chance to loot a chest containing valuable tools, but you can only take two.

These two tools drastically help with your survival and offer the player a really cool choice early on: will you take the rations to feed yourself, the pistol to defend yourself, or the hatchet to father supplies better? After a few tries, I found that my preferred mix was the clothing and the leather backpack to protect me from the elements and carry more weight.

Survival Fountain Of Youth Telescope
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

Yes, I said protect me from the elements. Survival: Fountain of Youth is heavily focused on the more realistic aspects of survival. Exposure and disease are just as present and deadly as dehydration and starvation, and if you don’t properly care for yourself, you will die.

This focus on realism also finds itself in the game in several unexpected places. Your map is utterly blank, requiring you to manually draw your surroundings with charcoal to figure out your baring. Luckily, you can find several gigantic trees that look straight out of Tarzan, which you can climb to get better cartography. Spiders or scorpions might jump onto your hand when harvesting a plant or crawling through a cave, giving you a harmful bite or sting for disturbing their homes.

Then, in stark contrast, there are areas in the game where that attention to detail is annoyingly absent. Need sticks for a fire? Unfortunately, the hundreds of nearby bushes cannot be harvested. Are you starving to death? That rattlesnake on the floor there doesn’t drop meat, only an inedible rattle. Snakes are famously edible in survival situations. We have a whole game called Snake Eater proving that to us.

The game has a habit of using its animals as roadblocks instead of living creatures to hunt and harvest. This is fine; it’s a video game, after all, but it can be a little immersion-breaking when every creature of the forest charges at you on sight or when you walk up to a mission location only to find about six rattlesnakes perfectly laid out to slow you down.

Survival Fountain Of Youth Cheeta
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

There are continuous minor nitpicks that I could rattle off for a while. Rope, a highly used resource, is pretty rare on the island. The game’s gravity physics is jank, so when you throw a spear and miss, it can fly away, or a small animal can ram into you and send you flying back six feet. The game uses both slot and weight-based inventory management, even for storage boxes. There are a lot of things in Survival: Fountain of Youth that you’re either going to dislike or have no opinion on, depending on the kind of survival game player you are.

The mechanic that I had the most mixed feelings about was the gathering/crafting. You don’t physically interact with anything in the game world. All gathering is done through menus. On the one hand, this allows you to select which resources you want to take from an object and allows you to revisit the resources multiple times as they regrow without physically despawning from the world. On the other, it makes everything feel kind of impersonal and mechanical, and I don’t love having to go through so many menus when I’m trying to immerse myself in the jungle survival game.

Crafting, eating, gathering wood, etc., also take a time limit. This is to give your resources some drainage and to make you think carefully about what you’re going to do next. It can be pretty ridiculous, though; it does not take two hours to light a torch, despite what the game may say. You can easily lose a whole day working on simple chores, making the food and water economy pretty hard to manage. Especially when it takes four hours to knock a coconut down from a tree, you are probably just going to starve.

Survival Fountain Of Youth Sailing
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

Survival: Fountain of Youth is probably going to be divisive. You probably aren’t going to enjoy it in the first thirty minutes to an hour of playing. However, if you can get past some of the frustration and weirdness, it’s a genuinely interesting game with some really good ideas for the survival craft genre. I can see this game being more popular with genre veterans, especially those looking for a bit more of a challenge than some other games provide.

The Final Word

Survival: Fountain of Youth is full of interesting ideas and great moments, but also some polarizing mechanics and jank. If you can tough it through the game’s slow start and learning curve, it will surely pull you in and give you a memorable experience despite its flaws.


Try Hard Guides received a PC review code for this game. Find more detailed looks at popular and upcoming titles on our Game Reviews page! Survival: Fountain of Youth is available on Steam.