Mars surviv-o-builder Rokh is out on early access now

It’s a dry and dusty landscape filled with useless dirt, housing only the occasional interesting find. No, not Mars, I’m talking about early access. Ha ha ha. Anyway, another survival game has crash-landed on the buggy marketplace, this time set on the red planet. Rokh [official site] sees you teaming up with buds to create a stable home on our stormy neighbour using modular building bits. It looks very atmospheric, if a little familiar.

“ROKH challenges players to uncover the cause of the destruction of the previous Mars colonies,” say developers Darewise and Nvizzio, “while building new ones and restoring communications with Earth.”

It’s hard to tell from the trailers we’ve seen so far what’s going to be different about this survive ‘em up. There doesn’t appear to be any monsters or silliness like that, but environmental disasters will play a part, including radiation, freezing temperatures, sandstorms and meteor showers. Whether that and the inevitable food and oxygen meters will be enough to motivate players to piece together a new life, who knows.

I’ll be taking a closer look at it for Premature Evaluation, provided it actually works. The last two survival games I’ve tried – P.A.M.E.L.A and Hellion – were both so buggy and poorly optimised that I couldn’t even play them long enough to make a decent judgement. Hopefully, Rokh will show more promise. It does at least look very pretty.

18 Comments

  1. Gammro says:

    I want to like these games but they often dont grab my attention for very long. One of the problems I have with these kind of games is that theres often no reason at all to build these big elaborate structures. Sure it looks nice but its just an empty shell.

    So I build these purely functional buildings that look like crap, and by the time I have the resources to build something good looking I think: Whats the point? Meanwhile I see others build huge cool looking fortresses and spaceships armed to the teeth to fend of a non-existent threat.

    • geldonyetich says:

      It’s the crux of the genre, I’m afraid.

      Sandbox survival builders are excellent sandboxes to build and survive… but they leave the reason why to survive sorely unaddressed.

      So it’s up to you to invent one. Perhaps you can build a Mars fortress in a shape that reflects a modern artwork about human existance. Or maybe a giant tit.

    • Hyena Grin says:

      Same. The ones that tend to grab me are the ones that have a relatively deep progression which requires you to build.

      I got into Terrafirmacraft (Minecraft mod) for a good long while because of that. A lot of the stuff you had to build required (or at least benefited from) having space and making that space functional, so it was an excuse to build. And that made building a lot more satisfying, because it felt necessary, and making adjustments to the designs could improve their use.

      Space Engineers is another one, where form and function have a lot of interplay, informing one another. Layout can become extremely important.

      Not enough of these games really give you excuses to build. They give you the tools to do so – but most of the time you could probably access every feature of the game from a cubic room just big enough to fit all the necessary objects in.

    • MisterFactoryNewPotatohead says:

      Shoutout to Far Sky on that aspect.
      Far Sky addresses this issue of “why am i building all these things?” by giving you a final goal, repairing your submarine so you can escape the bottom of the sea.
      As the game progresses you need to go further and further from your starting area, and making new bases creates a safe spot where you can regain your O2, hide out in case of danger.
      To reach the deeper areas it was almost essential to have bases along the way.
      On top of that there are broken down, flooded generated bases out there that you can loot and even fix up and use them as your own. because in the end they are very useful beyond just being loot dungeons.
      Legitimately one of the best experiences i had with these kinds of games, totally recommend it.

    • bramble says:

      I feel like there is a metaphor for real life here…

    • Ghostwise says:

      Crashlands has a storyline and bosses and quests and stuff.

      Mostly stuff.

  2. pistachio says:

    “buggy and poorly optimised” is all we need to know.

    Are there any survival games out of early access yet? My list has only one entry : Don’t Starve.

    The whole genre is like a martian landscape but people want a good survival game so badly that they are more interested in works in progress than they should be (‘I want to like this’). I love ambition and innovation, but the survival genre could do with restraint, realistic goals and ‘stuff to do’.

    • Ich Will says:

      Minecraft?
      Duskers?
      State of Decay?
      Terraria?

      • poliovaccine says:

        Not to mention that many games in early access are more complete in their unfinished state than plenty of others at full price by comparison. There are always disappointments, but those happened with old fashioned releases too, it’s just that back then we never would have played any of it, it would go, “The long awaited Project Zomboid has finally been canned after years of postponements,” which is a process I can actually still remember.

        Not only that, but titles like The Forest, or Subnautica, while unfinished by their own standard, are still titles I play and enjoy more than many others, and are every bit as complete as a game like Dont Starve, anyway.

        The idea of games “languishing” in early access seems really a bit arbitrary except from the point of view of the developer or the publisher, and even then only sometimes. But apart from a sort of abstract need for organization, I dont really see why early access titles bug people so much. I get it that you see tons of projects go unfinished. “Unfinished” in the sense that they dont have a commercial release, even though everyone knows when they’re finished. But none of us would get to see any of that, and the better part of it wouldnt exist to see at all, if not for this early access arrangement, so I struggle to see how that’s such a detriment.

      • TheOneFlow says:

        As a side-note: Terraria isn’t a survival game. I know every game in which dying is considered a bad outcome could be qualified as a survival game, but that applies to borderline all games.

  3. brucethemoose says:

    This looks more like Minecraft Creative mode on mars than a survival game. I see lots of voxel buildings, but I see no function or use for those parts in the trailer, other than the solar panels, maybe.

  4. Chaz says:

    Why do they always seem to make the building blocks in these games so damn ugly? It would put me off actually wanting to build stuff. I mean all those constructions just look horrible.

    If you’re going to make a base building game, then at the very least, let us build good looking bases.

  5. Kong says:

    “It’s a dry and dusty landscape filled with useless dirt, housing only the occasional interesting find.”

    Mr. Caldwell did you ever wonder what makes us humans do menial tasks for which we have invented machines?
    It is in fact our first true child. AI that figures out how to make its creators mouse-shovel dirt for the rest of their lifes.
    Those “games” also help financing the immense hardware. The AI is impressive beyond believe. About to move to the moon next year.

    • poliovaccine says:

      I have no idea what you are trying to say. Pretty sure we make machines to do what we consider menial? You got something right, though – more commenters should adopt the tone of a supervillain in exposition!

      • Kong says:

        Dunno about that. Before I know it I became a troll.
        Shovelling dirt is pretty menial in my book. AI makes us do that for days. Click click click

  6. 1Derby says:

    Sigh… I just want to build a really cool castle and let hordes of humanoids break themselves against my walls.

  7. Jay Load says:

    Attracted to the Martian setting, put off by yet-another survival builder using voxels. More resource scavenging, more painstaking building…and the buildings look really bad, as commented above.

    The more devs look at Subnautica’s method of building, the better. Don’t put a section together piece by tiny piece, just add materials and build it. Simple: more reward: far less tedium. Give us a way of designing what the pieces look like when you’ve added the materials – a professional quality tool and not the Minecraft method of block stacking – and you’ll have the best builder ever.