Posts Tagged ‘Early Access’

Fire Pro Wrestling World is great in-ring but lacks depth

firepro2

Fire Pro Wrestling World [official site] is the indy high-flyer who has been wowing crowds all over the world. Maybe you were lucky enough to see her live years ago in a small out-of-town venue, where she was the clear stand-out in an underwhelming show. Maybe you just heard the buzz and envied friends who were lucky enough to catch her in action.

Well, now you can see the magic for yourself. After a long absence, Fire Pro is back and on PC for the first time. it’s not all good news though: the in-ring abilities are as dazzling and technically sound as ever, but a wrestler is only as good as their booking and in these early days of Early Access, everything outside the ring is far too bare.

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Might & Magic Showdown shutting down

Might & Magic Showdown [official site], Ubisoft’s faux-tabletop wargame where players can paint their own miniature warmen, will shut down without even leaving early access. Fraser Brown said it was a lovely painting tool handcuffed to a rubbo game, so this isn’t much of a surprise. Ubisoft have already pulled the game from sale and will shut down the servers on July 31st, making the game unplayable. They do at least plan to offer full refunds to everyone who wants one, though do be warned that you’ve only got until the 31st to get your £16 back. Read the rest of this entry »

We Happy Few to get one more update before launch

As We Happy Few [official site] marches towards release, Compulsion Games have decided to reconsider the future of the dystopian survival game’s Early Access updates. Now there’s only going to be one more before launch.

The original plan included two future updates: the Joy update, and then a later one that would introduce the new Parade District. But as anyone who has had to flee from the overzealous police officers of Wellington Wells knows, plans sometimes need to change.

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Battlerite’s huge Summer Patch brings the Blossom

Battlerite

Battlerite [official site] is getting into the summer spirit (is that a thing?) with a big seasonal patch. The patch brings a new support character – Blossom, the Forest Mender – to the arena brawler along with a new campaign mode, a new game mode, a bunch of new outfits and a host of tweaks and changes. Let’s start with a look at the newcomer: Read the rest of this entry »

Astroneer devs prioritising dedicated servers

Astroneer

Astroneer‘s [official site] devs have published their game development roadmap. To be clear, there is no road and no map. It’s actually a Trello board which explains they are prioritising things like dedicated servers for multiplayer and a new pass of the terrain in general. Fun fact: There is also no map and no road in Astroneer itself. Instead you drive your little rover over whatever terrain you’re surrounded by and hope like heck you’re heading towards the marker you think you’re heading towards.

I just tried to add “roads” to the Trello board but they made it read-only. Maps is in there under Cartography though! Read the rest of this entry »

Early Access launch for Oxygen Not Included, the space colony management sim

ONI header

Oxygen Not Included [official site] is a space colony management sim from Klei, the guys behind the excellent Invisible Inc. It’s been in alpha since February but now it’s launched on early access, and I’m intrigued.

It’s got the aesthetic of Don’t Starve, another Klei game, and involves building up a settlements beneath the surface of a distant planet and battling through the inevitable crises, whether that’s clouds of poisonous red gas in your base or a shortage of pepper bread. A lot of it is in the style of RimWorld, except it’s all side-on. Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation: Stable Orbit

Every week we launch Brendan through the atmosphere into the cold, dark void of early access. This time, the realistic space station (mis)management of Stable Orbit [official site]

My first space station is called the Floppy Floater. It is a barren place, so bleak in demeanour that it fails even to qualify as a potential setting for a post-disaster sci-fi shooter, even though it has two whole dead bodies on board. Yet unlike Prey, no alien threat is responsible for these deaths. Only my own hasty and thoughtless decision-making. When will I stop accidentally killing imaginary people using only the dark negligence of middle-management? Never. God-willing, I will never stop doing that. Read the rest of this entry »

Production Line conveyor belts into early access

The upcoming tycoonist car factory game Production Line [official site] has been travelling along the development assembly line since its announcement in September last year, getting bits and pieces welded on by creator Positech. Now it’s ready for the next phase. The giant machine-like claws of Steam early access are waiting to tear it asunder and put it back together again from May 18. “This also signifies that I think the game is ‘good enough’ at its current state to be considered an Early Access title,” says developer Cliffski, who in this metaphor is, like, a foreman with a high-vis jacket or something. Here’s a wee trailer.
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Sailaway casts off and sails into early access

Orinoco Flow is my favourite Grimes song.

I’m fascinated by the idea of Sailaway [official site], a persistent sailing simulator where boats sail life-sized oceans in real time and continue when you’re not playing. In-game weather conditions are shaped by real-world meterological data too, and your boat can even e-mail you if something bad’s brewing. While some may adore the idea of spending weeks at the helm, constantly fine-tuning their rigging, I’m more into the idea of boat as virtual pet – a Tamayachtchi to occasionally visit. Sailaway last night sailed into the early access ocean, so I’ll have to see if I can befriend a boat myself. Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation: ECHOPLEX

Every week we expose Brendan to the radioactive chemicals of the early access laboratory. This time, the time-bending puzzles of ECHOPLEX [official site].

I am stuck. There are 15 short levels currently available in ECHOPLEX, a first-person puzzler along the lines of Portal and Antichamber, and I am stuck on level 11. It is a toughie. The thing is, I’m not sure if the game is working as intended. Bugs are part of the early access merry-go-round, for sure, but if they show up in the strict logic of a puzzle game they can be boldly destructive. But there’s a bigger problem than that: I don’t know if what I’m seeing is a bug, or if it is simply part of the puzzle that hasn’t been explained. Read the rest of this entry »

Go head to head in Oh My Godheads early access

Oh My Godheads

Oh My Godheads [official site] captivated Adam when we went to Rezzed this month but I hadn’t actually listened to him explaining what the game was beyond working out that it has the capacity for local multiplayer. Just as well they made a trailer with a jaunty explanatory song to accompany its early access launch, then: Read the rest of this entry »

Wartile wages RTS war in pretty dioramas

Oh me oh my, Wartile [official site] is a pretty one. It’s a medieval real-time strategy game set in cute little dioramas, which even have polished wooden bases. Whoever made those loves their wars. It’s a curious wargame, with customisable figurines and a bit of deck-building with cards that give bonuses and abilities. If you dig the sound (or look) of that, hey, Wartile entered early access today. I’d expect a hexy strategy game to be turn-based but nope, these wee men bounce around in real time. See for yourself in this trailer: Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation: Northgard

Every Monday we send Brendan to scout the early access ruins for hidden treasures. This week, the careful Viking tactics of Northgard [official site]

This is Blainn, below. He’s just killed a Wyvern. He’s my best mate because I gave him and his giant pals, the Jötunn, enough food to last a lifetime. They reckon we in the Goat clan are excellent humans and now Chief Blainn is fighting alongside us in our hoofed conquest of the whole land. This is one endgame that comes in Northgard, a rock-solid RTS about allocating and reallocating your Viking workforce in just the right way. Technically this match ended over an hour ago, when my opponent reached a “wisdom victory”. But it’s a testament to Northgard’s foundations that, when given the option to leave or continue following my defeat, I happily clicked “keep playing”.
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Crew a ship with your pirate pals in Blackwake

Yar har and fiddle-di-dee, multiplayer ship combat game Blackwake [official site] has sailed into early access. It pits teams against each other with up to 16 players crewing a ship, running around controlling cannons, patching up holes, pumping water, and boarding other ships. That sounds great, that. I do always enjoy that sort of teamwork and inter-reliance, especially when playing with friends. Heck, even disasters are a lark with friends. Check out this trailer, which features broadsiding, boarding, cheeky piratical banter, and more than a few disasters: Read the rest of this entry »

Boardvideogame Sumer is hopping into Early Access

Sumer

Mesopotamian worker-placement platformer Sumer [official site] is going into Early Access from Wednesday, 15 February. I wrote about it on this site after spotting it at GDC last year because it takes a strand of boardgame which usually arrives with a massive rulebook and a need to spend twenty minutes at the end totting up victory points and converts all that into a platformer where you can leap all over a ziggurat completing tasks to earn favour with a goddess and then getting into your little bed to mark the end of a turn. There is also an economy involving goats. Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation: Quarantine

Every week we send Brendan into the no-go zones of early access to take pus-filled samples of half-made games. This time, the infectious disease management of Quarantine [official site].

Beijing, Chengdu, and Dehli are all quarantined. Michael Clayborn, my crack medical operative who has served me faithfully, has died in the industrial Siberian wastes of Irkutsk. The entirety of South America has been sealed off from the rest of the world, and Manaus is now considered a “lost city” so infused with disease that it can’t be treated or approached in any way. People are stating to suffer “pustulent buboes” in Santiago, a highly contagious development that I need to deal with. A pop-up box aide comes to me with a decision to make. Do I want to distribute medicine and help the suffering masses of Latin America? Or should I send in some white coats to analyze these curious buboes? Of course, I send in the scientists.
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Premature Evaluation: Avorion

Every week we give Brendan a heap of scrap metal and warp him to the early access quadrants. This time, the single- and multiplayer create-your-own-space-junk of Avorion [official site].

My beautiful butterfly of a ship is floating sideways through space, with only one of its thrusters still intact. In the distance, tracer rounds dance around an innocent convoy of traders. The pirates didn’t waste much time on my ship, the Strictly Murder. A few surprise shots, a clumsy collision and off I drifted, desperately checking a game menu in an effort to rebuild and plot a course back to the safe zone. I clicked the rebuild button, certain that enough time had passed since the last shot struck my craft’s blue, delicate wings. A red message buzzed in the corner of my display.

“You need 910 iron and 588 titanium.”

Oh good, I thought. Back to mining. Read the rest of this entry »

Island paradise? Stranded Deep reaches its not-so-terrible twos

What a difference a year and a half makes. And what little difference it makes too. That’s how long it’s been since I last wrote about Stranded Deep [official site] – a game I’ve returned to during its lengthy Early Access development despite its many problems. And now it’s two years old, it’s finally shaping up into something solid and compelling. And yet at the same time, while it’s fixed so many of its issues, still doesn’t feel like it knows where it wants to go. Read the rest of this entry »

Dontnod Eleven’s Battlecrew Space Pirates blasts into early access

Even though they started with kicking faces and are moving onto sucking necks, I’ll always associate the name Dontnod with the time-travelling teen drama of Life Is Strange. So yup, I’m still double-taking seeing the name Dontnod as Battlecrew Space Pirates [official site] enters early access. This multiplayer side-on shooter is made by Dontnod Eleven, mind, the studio known as Hesaw before it buddied up with Dontnod Entertainment. You don’t take time out from shooting folks with your spacepirate pals to sit on a spaceswing and quietly enjoy some spacemusic, or shout at Spacewarren to go away. I don’t think so, at least. Read the rest of this entry »

Three laggy hours with Conan Exi ConCona Conan Exiles

Oh, Early Access!

Sorry, just stubbed my toe. Yes, it’s certainly worked in places, but goodness me if it isn’t sometimes the most infuriating way of releasing barely functioning games for a fee. Time was it cost a developer lots of money to have their game concepts tested and QAd – now they charge £27 for the privilege. That’s how much it’ll cost you to get into Funcom’s Conan Exiles [official site] right now. The store page describes a game where you discover ancient secrets, enslave your own army, ride around on rhinos, build entire cities – it sounds stunning. Right now it’s a game where you’re more likely to die because a menu won’t load. [Nudey Warning: There are some pictures of naked characters below] Read the rest of this entry »