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Last Oasis spices up the survival MMO genre with wooden mechs

No point building a wonderwall

The magnificent wooden walking machines of Last Oasis are physically impossible, but isn't fudging with the laws of physics part of why we play videogames? Announced for an early access launch this spring and developed by newcomers Donkey Crew, Last Oasis is yet another vying for the survival sandbox MMO throne. As with the recent Conan Exiles and Atlas, it's busting humanity back to basics, but this time its competing tribes of players will roam the plains in clattering wooden war-machines and fighting over resources. Take a peek at the debut trailer below.

Last Oasis is set in an unusual post-apocalyptic setting. The Earth's rotation has been halted and the moon destroyed, and the only habitable part of the planet is a small strip of land that moves as the Earth rotates around the sun. Most of the surviving humans live on a single giant walking city named Flotilla, but nomadic, rival tribes follow in the city's wake, trading resources to keep the city moving, and their own people equipped and fed.

The setting might just help avoid some of the problems of the genre. Players can't hold down a fort forever - they've got to build walking land-ships and keep roaming. The game's store page notes that while it is possible to build more permanent fortifications, lighter wooden structures can be packed up and loaded onto larger walkers to carry to your next stop. I'm curious to see how much they commit to the idea of being a nomadic tribe.

Cover image for YouTube video

The game will be entering early access this Spring, but Donkey Crew - a team drawing much of their talent from the Mount & Blade modding scene - reckon that this will be a marathon run. They estimate a minimum of a year in early access, maybe two, adding new biomes to explore and things to craft. While there is mention of hunting and opportunities to make a living playing solo, this seems to be geared towards larger, more organised groups of players. It's a tough sell, even if everyone does get a grappling hook as standard to swing from the trees, and clamber aboard the wooden walkers.

While there's no official acknowledgement of it from Donkey Crew, it's hard not to see the similarities between Last Oasis's walking wooden wonders and artist Theo Jansen's Strandbeest things. The resemblance is striking, right down to their use of large, ornate sails to power them along, although some of the ones in Last Oasis seem to have primitive motors too. It's such a strange inspiration to build an MMO foundation on, but perhaps this vivid 'woodpunk' world will draw the crowds that more straight-laced survival sandboxes haven't.

Last Oasis is due to make its early access debut sometime this Spring. You can find it here on Steam, though no price or exact date has been announced yet.

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Dominic Tarason