It's a risky gambit to launch an offbeat little game in the middle of the E3 hype-storm, but Klei Entertainment just love danger if Hot Lava is any indication. It's a first-person platformer starring a cast of highly meltable plastic action figures, navigating a human-scale world where every child's playtime nightmare has come to pass: the floor is lava. Today, it launches (as an open beta) at a discounted price, and every copy includes a second to share with a friend. Hopping between furniture isn't as much fun without someone to confirm your falls, after all.
While Klei may have passed on flying the early access banner on Hot Lava's store page, the game does put a note in its place declaring the game an open beta, technically incomplete and liable to change before release. Personally, I can't really see the difference, especially given the plans to slightly raise the price of the game later, but Klei apparently march to the beat of their own drum, as you can see in the off-beat launch trailer, which is so weird even by '80s cartoon standards that I've embedded below the somewhat older (but more informative) gameplay trailer.
There, now you've got that out of the way, here's five minutes of pseudo-1980s fever-dream, ironically better animated than G.I. Joe ever was.
The game has been in development for quite some time now, with the first closed beta footage dating back all the way to 2016. The current iteration of the game does look a lot more involved, with maps requiring a good range of movement skills, including swinging from ropes, wall-running, grinding along rails and even a few tricks that look straight out of Counter-Strike 'surf' maps. I can see this game being a hit with the speedrunning crowd - especially those fond of Mirror's Edge - and might even make for some interesting streamed races.
Hot Lava's open beta version is available now on Steam for £7.19/$10, with a second copy for a friend included in the price. When the game leaves beta, it'll go up to $13, although will still be a two-for-one deal.