Explore (And Die In) The New World With Pioneers


The new world! A whole new world unknown to anyone except all of the cultures who’ve lived there for millennia and all those who visited! How exciting! Pioneers [official site] is a top-down, turn-based explore-o-survive ’em up about those giddy early days of colonial exploration, with wilds to wander, survival skills to practice, and folks to recruit into a rag-tag adventuring gang. We took a peek at it back in 2013, but that was aaages ago. Creator Eigen Lenk released another free version this month, the first in over a year, so hey! Let’s look again!

Pioneers is a forest-roaming, ocean-sailing, camp-building survive ’em up in a retro way. By which I mean “it’s got big pixels and lots of menu options but is also kinda fiddly and I got frustrated and stopped but it’s fine I think other people might like it a lot but it wasn’t quite for me but it’s interesting enough to revisit and post about again”. Who knew “a retro way” had such a complex meaning? You do now.

I had idly assumed development stopped, so it’s good to see a new build. You can nab it from Itch.io, where it’s pay-what-you-want with no minimum for Windows and Mac. It brings a tutorial, a ‘quick play’ option to jump into the wilds, a little intro to the story, makes terrain height change visibility, and more.

Here’s Lenk showing the new build off and dying terribly in his own game:


  1. morse says:

    If it has the capacity for emergent gameplay that Unreal World has, (and hopefully half the tedium) this could be right up my alley. I’ve been looking for fun new ways to freeze and starve and be eaten.

  2. Monggerel says:


  3. Da5e says:

    Eigen Lenk is an *excellent* name.

  4. FredZepplin says:

    Reminds me a bit of an old EA title, 7 Cities of Gold.

  5. Turkey says:

    Looks like an old Macintosh game. It’s all like crisp SVGA resolution and text, but there’s hardly any color.

  6. Shazbut says:

    This looks like it could be quite the thing. Thanks

  7. Fnord73 says:

    *Very* finnish video.

    “Oh, I died. That was something.Ok.”

    • Eigen Lenk says:

      I could’ve edited the ending had I known it would be posted like this. I thoguht it was funny and a placeholder until I got a proper gameplay video..

      • phanatic62 says:

        I thought it was funny as well. “Oh there are TWO wolves!” But seriously, I think videos like this are what endear people to a game. It still showed off the beginning of the game while allowing players to discover a lot on their own.

        • Eigen Lenk says:

          Ah, I see. Thank you!

        • Arglebargle says:

          Wolves over there must be really tough! You have to search really hard to come up with proven wolf attacks here in the US. Even in the olden days, it wasn’t that common. Reading the Lewis and Clark Diaries, they were attacked by bears continually, but very rarely by wolves. Mostly the wolves snuck into their camps and stole all their food.

    • Eigen Lenk says:

      And not Finnish. Estonian :)

      But whatever. That video sucks. I know.

      • Fnord73 says:

        Sorry for that. But the deadpan-humour is very similar. It actualy makesme want to buy the game.

        Having said that, us Karusmäki-fans in the gaming community are few and far between, you might want to make a more narrative video :-)

  8. peterako1989 says:

    Holy smokes! I played an early build of this a while back and I wanted to try and find it again, and I couldn’t remember what it was called. thanks.

  9. xcopy says:

    Fantastic – it´s alive!

    I checked the early build in 2013, enjoyed it and waited for more content. I assumed it was dead.
    Keep up the good work, Eigen!

  10. Jimbo says:

    Can tell just from skimming through the video that this would have been one of my all time favourite games of all time if I’d played it ~20 years ago.

  11. Rae says:

    Looks unique will add it to my backlog now :D

  12. toshiro says:

    Retro in the “looks and plays like it was made 20 years ago or well not so much like as exactly that way”. Pointless.

  13. explodeydendron says:

    Very cool. I see a lot of influence from Cutthroats: Terror on the High Seas, one of my favorite games of old (and still the best pirate video game IMO).