By Craig Pearson on March 14th, 2013 at 11:00 am.
Ye olde gaming about ye olde times. Pioneers is a 16th century four-colour turn-based exploration survival RPG. It has more genres than colours. I’ll bet you couldn’t make an Unreal 4 game with four colours. The fonts alone in that engine alone need a GeForce Titan to be rendered. But I digress, which is appropriate because Pioneers is a (currently) free indie game about exploration. Which, when you think about it, are nothing but well-funded digressions.
You’ll be part of an adventuresome crew, heading off into the ocean to see what sort of challenges the game will throw up at you. The early version here only has a couple of islands, but the promise is that of a world to explore. You’ll build a crew, buy what you need, grab a ship and then work on some quests. You could be heading out to uncover the mystery or missing explorers, or on a mapping mission. Whatever it is, it’ll lead you to islands fraught with danger. It’s not a nice place, and wolves, bears, even tribesmen will be out to get you. And those tribes don’t speak your language, so you might not know about it until you’re gutted.
I’ve only spent a few minutes to verify it’s not a secret virus that’ll replace Chrome with Internet Explorer – though that would be an apposite swap – and to have a small wander through the tutorial and opening sections. It’s all neat and charming, and would definitely make Adam rub his thighs. It’s early alpha, so there’s a fair number of things that will puzzle you if you don’t pay attention to the tutorial, and then there are a number of explanatory mis-steps. A lot of times it asks you to do something without telling you how to, which is a huge failing of a section that’s main purpose is tells you how to do things. But I muddled through, and I’m pretty stupid. Beyond that there’s definitely a nasty little adventure wrapped up in cute pixels. Observe this video through a telescope for maximum effect.
The alpha is a test-bed, and the developer will eventually ask for doubloons. Until then, it’s yours for free.