Posts Tagged ‘Early Access’

Hovercars In Oblivion: Radial-G: Racing Revolved

By Ben Barrett on March 5th, 2015.

“What if instead of the track we just had a massive tube in space?” says one executive of the failing Formula 1 to the other, sometime in the future. “With hovercars and casual disregard for safety!” he continues, getting worked up. Thus, Radial-G: Racing Revolved is born in all its alliterative glory, a high-speed racer about desperately trying to not fly headlong into oblivion. It’s been on Early Access for a couple of months, just had a major recent update and I’ve had a little play.

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Impressions: Catacomb Kids

By Adam Smith on March 3rd, 2015.

My average life expectancy in Catacomb Kids [official site] is measured in minutes. I’ve died within seconds of starting a run through the procedurally generated Spelunky-like, clobbered by monsters or reduced to a blood puddle by swarming piranhas. The first couple of minutes are the hardest part, as I struggle to make sense of my situation and abilities, and if I survive for a couple of levels, I’m likely to die because I deserve to rather than because the game decides to kill me.

Maybe it’s not the game. Problem is, I’m a cat. Curiosity kills me.

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Buttsliding Around Early Access: Action Henk

By Ben Barrett on March 3rd, 2015.

Let me buttslide you to funky town

We last checked up on action figure speedrun simulator Action Henk [official site] when the dearly departed Mr. Grayson gave it the Chatter Over treatment in July last year. It’s continued development since, nearing a full release some time in the next couple of months. It caught my eye with the combo of speed-platforming and ludicrously caricatured style. Betsy may be the most terrifying character in video game history. Latest footage and some more in-depth thoughts below.

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Premature Evaluation: Medieval Engineers

By Marsh Davies on March 2nd, 2015.

The toothy, undulating stonework battlements is often called crenelation, crenels being the gaps (from which we get the word 'cranny') and the protrusions being called, variously, cops or merlons. It's not entirely clear where the word 'merlon' comes from - conflicting attributions give it a Latin origin meaning pitchfork and, oddly, blackbird. One suggestion is that the word for blackbird is used in this way because it suggests things perched along a wall. Bit of a stretch, I think.

Each week Marsh Davies punches a hole through the vertiginous walls of Early Access and comes back with any stories he can find and/or watches with grotesque, wet-lipped arousal as the entire structure disassembles in a shower of hot, hot physics. This week, he makes, then mounts, the battlements in Medieval Engineers, a castle construction sandbox. And then he unmakes them, too.

Once you’ve built a castle in Medieval Engineers, you can look at it, hit CTRL-C, then CTRL-V and paste a brick-for-brick duplicate of your entire complex anywhere else in the level. Including the sky – though they are not wont to stay there for very long. Castles, despite a plethora of idiomatic song titles suggesting otherwise, are very much a ground based medium, and when placed in the sky, they attempt to revert to form, with glorious physics-enabled results.

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Premature Evaluation: Eden Star

By Marsh Davies on February 23rd, 2015.

A drop of fairy liquid and some hot water should sort these fellows out.

Each week, Marsh Davies crashlands into the hostile alien landscape that is Early Access and comes back with any stories he can find and/or an acute appreciation of how precious are the few fleeting moments of life allotted to us on this Earth and whether it really constitutes a full life, a good life, to spend the ever-diminishing number of hours and minutes clicking on virtual trees to turn them into virtual logs. Nevertheless, this week, he survives yet another survival game – this one called Eden Star, in which resource scrabbling is appended with tower-defence-style fortification on a distant planet.

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Victor Vran: Early Access Impressions

By John Walker on February 23rd, 2015.

Well, we’ve got the next action RPG to look forward to!

aRPGs are an odd genre, with there being so popular, but with so few that stand out. Obviously the Diablos, the Torchlights, and the Titan Quests. There’s Path Of Exile, there’s Grim Dawn, and then it gets trickier. The dreary Dungeon Siege games? The clumsy Sacred series? The almost there Van Helsing silliness? I think we may have a game that could sneak into the list, however, with Victor Vran [official site], currently in Early Access.

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In Celebration Of Early Access Games

By Alec Meer on February 20th, 2015.

Nearly done!

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and I’ve come to the conclusion that Early Access (and the same concept under various different names) has only improved my gaming life.
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Smash-o! Medieval Engineers Launches Into Early Access

By Alice O'Connor on February 20th, 2015.

PREPARE FOR SMASHING.

A touch over a month after announcing Medieval Engineers [official site], Keen Software have now launched the low-tech counterpart to Space Engineers. Well, they’ve launched it into Early Access. I can’t imagine a sandbox crafty build ‘em up doing it any other way, though. Actually. How would Minecraftbuts turn out if they did launch without that lengthy phase of large-scale testing and feedback? Perhaps closer to a LEGO set, made with a specific purpose in mind, than a jumbled box of bricks? Or over-ambitious and under-delivering? Anyway, I don’t have time to ramble on about that now.

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Premature Evaluation: Monstrum

By Marsh Davies on February 16th, 2015.

Given how utterly terrifying, unknown and lethal the sea has been to humans throughout recorded history, maritime horror is a remarkably underused setting in games. Perhaps it's a British thing, being an island nation obsessed with naval superiority, that stories of ghost ships and sea monsters are so particularly resonant: the largest percentage of our idioms are nautical references. By and large, if you can’t fathom what a phrase means, it probably comes from sailing. In fact, “by and large” and “fathom” are nautical terms. The same goes for: cut and run, toe the line, know the ropes, touch and go. You can build entire statements out of them alone: “It’s not a hard and fast rule, but anyone who is three sheets to the wind is a bit of a loose cannon and should be given a wide berth, even if, normally, you like the cut of their jib.” Nautical terms pop up in unusual places. Slush fund, for example, comes from the practice of hoarding the rancid fat from boiled meat so that it might be sold on at port. Yummy.

Each week Marsh Davies skittishly edges into the gloomy bowels of Early Access and comes back with any stories he can find and/or simply hides in a locker and tries not to cry too loudly. This week he dons his brownest trousers and hopes never to face his fears in Monstrum, a firstperson horror game set on a boat that procedurally reconfigures its layout every time you get eaten.

My, hasn’t the Find Some Things While Being Chased By A Thing genre come a long way? Only two and half years ago it was largely consigned to the realms of shonky boo-scare creepypasta homage. Now we have dozens upon dozens of iteratively-improved indie imitators, and even the lustrously-rendered likes of Alien: Isolation, which took Slender’s sandbox-scare principles to the triple-A firmament. You’d think, after all the shrieky reaction-cams, exhaustively explored lockers and soiled pants, that a new entrant of this genre would have to try ever so hard to be as effective – and, to its credit, Monstrum does give an earnest shake to the basics, inasmuch as the procedurally arranged cabins and corridors give its replays a Roguish unpredictability. But, largely, this is a retreat from the fulsome narrative structures of Alien or Outlast to something more simple and, ahem, slender: a gloomy environment and stuff to find in it, before something finds you and permadeaths you through the brain.

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Video: A Return To The Long Dark

By John Walker on February 16th, 2015.

Snowy survival sim, The Long Dark [official site], has recently doubled its landscape, so I thought it time to return to explore this newly fallen content. And video myself being eaten by wolves in the process.

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Splat-o! Carmageddon: Reincarnation Adds Multiplayer

By Alice O'Connor on February 14th, 2015.

As Carmageddon: Reincarnation [official site] continues to smash, bash, dash, crash, and splash its way through Early Access, it’s now reached a point where I’m starting to think about picking it up. Developers Stainless Games today launched the death racer’s first beta version, meaning it’s now the whole game with all its modes, cars, and levels, just a little unpolished. Yes, this does include multiplayer. Murdering your pals seems a fair enough way to spend Valentine’s Day.

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Galactic Inheritors: A Space 4X From HoI 3 & CK2 Designer

By Alice O'Connor on February 12th, 2015.

Petting ambassadors is consider a terrible faux pas.

Declaring war is rarely as simple as pressing a big red WAR button. You’ll want your citizens on your side, ideally, though of course propagating a few choice lies can build and exploit prejudice. Space 4X strategy Galactic Inheritors [official site] makes the media an important part of warfare. It’s made by Crispon Games, a studio founded by Chris King, a designer on games including Crusader Kings II and Hearts of Iron III, and fellow former Paradox chap Pontus Åberg. While the only 4X I’ve spent real time with is Castlemaine, I like the sound of some of its ideas.

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Premature Evaluation: Besiege

By Marsh Davies on February 9th, 2015.

Besiege’s depiction of war is largely that of the middle ages, with a few fanciful additions - flight and the self-powering of your engine being the most obvious. Flamethrowers, though, actually date back quite a lot further: Thucydides attests to something of the sort being used by the Boeotians in the Battle of Delium in 424 BC. It consisted of a large cauldron of pitch suspended at a jaunty angle below a tube through which air was pumped using bellows. The tube curled back into the cauldron’s mouth, farting air into the burning tar and causing huge jets of flame to shriek out, engulfing the wooden defences and anyone foolish enough to be standing on them. Apparently, combined with the erosive infusion of piss and vinegar, the flames would crack stone, too. (The phrase “full of piss and vinegar”, however, seems unrelated, first appearing in John Steinbeck’s In Dubious Battle some 2360 years later.)

Each week Marsh Davies hurls himself at the colossal walls of Early Access and comes back with any stories he can find and/or soaks the earth with the blood of his fallen foes. This week he is catapulted into Besiege, a beautiful, physics-based, build-your-own-ballista game.

Dr Blam is a killing machine. He does not have a medical licence. What he does have is a trio of metal braziers mounted at one end of a large wooden frame, each cupping an oversized explosive ball. The braziers are also attached to springs, stretched taut and fixed to armatures at the other end of the frame. Press a button and the braziers explosively decouple from their moorings while a set of three pistons gives them a little bit of extra lift, the springs contract, and the braziers twang upwards and forwards, slinging their contents in a long arc. Most of the time they even go in the right direction. Dr Blam is not really interested in surgical precision, but if the patient under his tender administration is a castle or a flock of sheep, then a messy lesson in anatomy is guaranteed.

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