Posts Tagged ‘Early Access’

The Lighthouse Customer: Factorio

By Christopher Livingston on July 28th, 2014.

The factory is a mess, but at least no one works here.

Each Monday, Chris Livingston visits an early access game and reports back with stories about whatever he finds inside. This week, building efficient machines to make other efficient machines in strategy game Factorio.

I’ve got coal-powered drills digging up resources, mechanical arms collecting the raw materials, and conveyor belts transporting it across the landscape where more arms collect it and deposit it into fabrication machines, after which the resulting product is plucked out by still more arms, dropped on more belts, moved on to more factories. Clouds of pollution fill the air, production lines twist and turn haphazardly, electrical poles and storage units appear to have been placed by a confused and drunken city planner. It’s a mess. A big mess. But it’s a beautiful mess, because it all works.

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The Wicked And The Weird: Darkwood Impressions

By Adam Smith on July 25th, 2014.

I’ve been looking forward to Darkwood for a long time. It’s a top-down survival horror game with crafting elements, but early videos contained a hint of surrealism that helped the game to stand out from the crowd. Now that it has launched in Early Access, I’ve spent an hour exploring the early stages. It’s a slow-paced Teleglitch, a survival horror game by way of Ice-Pick Lodge and Stalker. A few interface issues aside, it lives up to expectations in grand style. There are some spoilers for the prologue section below and I reckon it’s worth going in completely cold, but fear not – I’ll provide a second spoiler warning before going into detail.

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The Lighthouse Customer: Robocraft

By Christopher Livingston on July 21st, 2014.

War never changes. It just rearranges.

Each Monday, Chris Livingston visits an early access game and reports back with stories about whatever he finds inside. This week, building, driving, and flying robotic cube-tanks in the free-to-play Robocraft.

My robotank, Killdeathinator — named for all the killing and deathinating it’s been dishing out — has just entered its 5th iteration. Killdeathinator Mk 1 had four wheels, a couple guns, and was made of weak plastic cubes. Mk 2 added more wheels — ones I can steer, which I’ve found to be fairly important — and a radar dish to track enemies. Now, lined with gleaming copper armor and bristling with cannons, its become a fairly durable ground assault vehicle. Time to kick it up a notch. Killdeathinator wants to fly.

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Grinding Gears: Clockwork Empires Doing ‘Earliest Access’

By Alice O'Connor on July 18th, 2014.

Just what every growing colony needs: shrines to dark gods.

The whole idea of Steam Early Access is that games on it aren’t finished, but people rightly expect certain (and sometimes unreasonable) levels of completeness, workingness, and polish. If a game is a bit too wonky when it hits Early Access, it may struggle massively to overcome spreading word that it’s a garbage scam. Needing time and more testers to give Clockwork Empires a going-over before it’s ready enough for Early Access, the gang at Dungeons of Dredmor creators Gaslamp Games are today launching it into what they cheekily call Earliest Access.

If you absolutely positively cannot wait to have a crack at the colonial city-building/Lovecraftian nightmare fun that made our John fizz and foam so much, Earliest Access will open tonight.

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Roguey Is A Dancer: Crypt Of The Necrodancer

By Alec Meer on July 17th, 2014.

I’m exploring the disco dungeons of Crypt of the Necrodancer right now, though I’m saving words for a little closer to its Early Access release. I’ll say just this for now: you’re going to see photos of me using a dance mat, and for that you have my eternal pity. Dancemats (official Necrodancer variants of which are now for sale) are not the only way to play this rythym-action rogue like, but they are certainly the most tiring, sweat-inducing and inefficient. And therefore best. Gamepads and keyboards are an equally-supported system of duffing up skeletons and opening chests by moving your character’s feet to the beat though, fear not.

Here’s a new trailer that sells the tone and danceability of Brace Yourself Games’ dance dance dungeonering game rather well. Ooh, the things a well-timed screen-shake can do.
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Impressions – Habitat: A Thousand Generations In Orbit

By Alec Meer on July 9th, 2014.

Habitat: A Thousand Generations in Orbit is a strategy/simulation/survival game about constructing an improbable spacecraft out of debris floating in a post-disaster Earth’s orbit. It’s out on Early Access now.

The first time you move is incredible. You’ve slowly built this absurd, rickety contraption of rockets, buses, burger restaurants, fire-breathing animatronic T-Rex heads and cruise liners, and it looks like a stiff breeze would tear it into so many lethal pieces. Yet now you have to fire up assorted jet engines and thrusters, and make this absurdist space hulk travel across the skies. Never mind that there are deadly, mine-spitting nanoclouds and inconveniently-placed explosive gas cannisters strewn about Earth’s orbit – simply going up and a bit left feels comparable to asking a massive, skinheaded Londoner in a red and white football shirt if he’s a Tottenham supporter.
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The Lighthouse Customer: Bot Colony

By Christopher Livingston on July 7th, 2014.

Soldier robots? Oh, I'm sure that's a good idea.

Each Monday, Chris Livingston visits an early access game and reports back with stories about whatever he finds inside. This week, speaking with robots, and the resulting loss of his sanity, in Bot Colony.

Science-fiction writers love driving robots crazy, from Speedy in Asimov’s “Runaround” to Ash attempting a magazine-murder in Alien. Is it time for a robot to drive a human crazy instead? Considering that talking to a robot in Bot Colony for a couple hours reduced me to wailing “BLOOP! BLOOP! BLOOP!” into my headset, it just might be. There’s video evidence below: I’ll let you be the judge. Bloop.

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Planetary Annihilation Early Access Being Sold In Stores

By Nathan Grayson on July 1st, 2014.

The practice of releasing alpha or beta games as part of an “Early Access” plan is not, in itself, inherently harmful. It can be quite good for a game when developers priorities are in order and everyone is given plenty of information about what they’re getting into upfront. Planetary Annihilation‘s early access version on brick-and-mortar store shelves, though? In a box, packaged up all shiny and new, bristling with implied promise of completeness and even going so far as to say, “includes free upgrade to full game”? Welcome, friends, to Murky Territory.

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The Lighthouse Customer: Starforge (Survival Mode)

By Christopher Livingston on June 30th, 2014.

Does this zit on my back look infected? It's super itchy.

Each Monday, Chris Livingston visits an early access game and reports back with stories about whatever he finds inside. This week, pantsless survival and gimp mask crafting in Starforge.

The Earth’s sun is being devoured by a black hole, and humankind, desperate to survive, has sent scouts to the planet Atlas to prepare the mysterious new world for colonization. I am one of those scouts, the Earth’s last and best hope, which is a bit of a shame because I’ve been here for several days and I’m still wearing just the underpants I arrived in and I’ve been living in a hole in the ground. On the plus side… well… I dug the hole myself?

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The Lighthouse Customer – Lichdom: Battlemage

By Christopher Livingston on June 23rd, 2014.

I came here to cast spells and chew gum and I have plenty of both.

Each Monday, Chris Livingston visits an early access game and reports back with stories about whatever he finds inside. This week, first-person spellcasting and spellcrafting with Lichdom: Battlemage.

As a battlemage, I am imbued with arcane might: deadly firestorms, freezing ice blasts, and crackling electrical bolts. I hold my magic-infused hands up in front of me in an awkward, unnatural fashion at all times, as if I’m a giant praying mantis or a Microsoft marketing executive presenting at E3. And, I wrestle with the same ancient dilemma all great sorcerers have faced, from Merlin to Dumbledore: do I want to use a Charging Smart Trap AOE Pattern with +17% chance of critical damage or stick with the Charging Targeted Pattern of Persistence with +14% status effect duration? As Gandalf said: “YOU SHALL NOT PASS NOW THAT I’VE GOT +28% BURN DAMAGE ON KILL FOR 9 SECONDS!”

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The Incomplete Enchilada: Secret Ponchos Early Access

By Adam Smith on June 17th, 2014.

There aren’t enough games set in the Old West, whether it be Wild, Weird or Wooly. Over here in the land of PC, the absence of Red Dead Redemption is oft-lamented and the rather splendid Call of Jaurez: Gunslinger stands all but alone on the frontier in the modern era (in this instance, ‘the modern era’ is everything I can remember from the last couple of years given two minutes of thinking time). Secret Ponchos’ arrival on Early Access cheers me because it fills the gunslinging gap in my life with admirable style. It’s an isometric PvP shooter that encourages tactical play and has wonderful ricochet sound effects.

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The Lighthouse Customer: GearCity

By Christopher Livingston on June 16th, 2014.

I call it the Volkswagen Coleoptera. Wait, that's not right.

Each Monday, Chris Livingston visits an early access game and reports back with stories about whatever he finds inside. This week, driving a car company into the ground with GearCity.

“Have you ever dreamed of running your own car company?” asks the website of GearCity, a simulation game that lets you run your own car company. My answer: no, I’ve never dreamed of running my own car company, at least until GearCity’s website asked if I’ve ever dreamed of running my own car company. At which point I did. So, I decided to play GearCity to fulfil my minute-old dream. Of running my own car company.

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The (New) Forest: First Update Adds Sharks, Better Ponds

By Graham Smith on June 16th, 2014.

Not pictured: the forest.

Is an early access release shit? Not in The Forest. The survival horror survival sim is about building shelter and gathering food to survive against the elements, where one of those elements is “naked slick cannibals”. Even in its first release it’s a fun time, and now there’s a new update coming today which introduces new features (sharks!) plus bug fixes.

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