Posts Tagged ‘Early Access’

Premature Evaluation: Mashinky

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Premature Evaluation is the weekly column in which we explore the wilds of early access. This week, Fraser’s filling the British countryside with railroads and smoke in train tycoon sim, Mashinky.

Disaster! I’d barely begun my first foray into Mashinky’s magical world of locomotives when my very first attempt to manage a whopping two whole trains — carriages and all — ended in calamity and death. And also fire. My brand new steam engine had just left the depot near Leicester and was beginning its journey to Kirkcaldy when it rather unexpectedly collided with the only other train in the world. All that was left was a smoking, smouldering wreck. That’s what signals are for, I realised too late.

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Petroglyph’s unit-customising RTS Forged Battalion hits early access

Petroglyph Games, the studio behind such real-time strategy games as Star Wars: Empire at War and Grey Goo, are back with another clickwar. Forged Battalion is its name, and letting players customise units with a wide variety of chassis and weapons is its game. It’s mighty colourful too. Forged Batallion will properly launch later this year but, if you really want to build giant robot dogs which hose enemies with acid, as of today it’s available in early access. Here, have a peek in this here new trailer: Read the rest of this entry »

RimWorld’s next big update will be version 1.0

Sci-fi colony catastrophe sim RimWorld is finally almost ready to leave early access and launch in full with a shiny version 1.0, creator Tynan Sylvester has said. It’s a game that one could keep adding to forever, he says, but after five years of development he’s ready to draw a line in the sand and call it ready. Sounds fair, really. He still plans to work on it, mind, but it will officially be finished. Additions and tweaks coming with v1.0 include reworking caravans, a water-driven power generator to make rivers useful, and improved loading times for mods. Read the rest of this entry »

Retro FPS Dusk strafes into early access

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Here’s a (partial) list of the things that explode in the early access trailer for David Szymanski’s retro FPS Dusk: demonic cattle, soldiers, cultists, wizards, skeletal moose and a zombie ghost farmer. As in, a farmer that looks like a zombie ghost – I’m not sure what he spends his time farming. Souls, probably.

Dusk released on early access last night. Dominic Tarason reports that the preview builds he’s played have excelled at scratching his old-school shooter itch, so this may well be one worth checking out.

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Premature Evaluation: Mesozoica

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Premature Evaluation is the weekly column in which we explore the wilds of early access. This week, Fraser’s doing his best John Hammond impersonation by caging up dinosaurs and displaying them in exchange for tourist cash in dino theme park sim Mesozoica.

This summer, Frontier plans to launch Jurassic World Evolution, a licensed dino-park sim. I can almost understand, then, why I’m already playing Mesozoica, another dinosaur-themed management sim. Absent a big license like Jurassic Park, developers DreamInCode B.V. and Squadron Interactive might be keen to beat Frontier to the punch. This early launch is not likely to have the effect they intended.

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Premature Evaluation: They Are Billions

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Premature Evaluation is the weekly column in which we explore the wilds of early access. For the first foray of 2018, Fraser’s been trying to save humanity from hordes of peckish zombies and other undead beasties in survival RTS They Are Billions. It’s a classic New Year tradition from a simpler time.

They Are Billions, at first glance, looks like it might have been the result of a night of video game Mad Libs. It’s a survival strategy game with hints of tower defence, a steampunk aesthetic and waves of zombie enemies. It’s a grab bag of video game tropes and genres slammed together that suggest there might be clumsiness in the way the whole thing hangs together. Thankfully, once the undead hordes start pounding at the gates, that suggestion is eradicated. And so, quite often, is humanity.

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Premature Evaluation: Empires of the Undergrowth

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This week’s Premature Evaluation gives Fraser the highly coveted job of mucking around in the dirt while managing an ant colony in creepy crawly RTS Empires of the Undergrowth. It gets really dark down there.

“The ants were weak and confused. We should start again with another colony.”

Like so many nature documentaries before it, Empires of the Undergrowth looks like it’s going to be an informative delve into the animal kingdom — specifically the tiny world of our pals, the ants — but instead unfurls into a cruel reminder that nature is terrifying and spiders are dicks. And even here, in this RTS set in a formicarium, the real villains are humans. Awful, awful humans.

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Premature Evaluation: Dustwind

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This week’s Premature Evaluation dumps Fraser in Dustwind’s isometric wasteland, forced to murder other players in grisly real-time tactical brawls. Also it has dogs.

I’ll admit it — I decided to take Dustwind for a spin primarily because of one line on the Steam store page: “Play as a dog.” In post-apocalyptic battle arenas that evoke Fallout and Wasteland, no less. And we’re not talking about your run-of-the-mill, hangs out in dog parks defecating everywhere kind of dog. No, Dustwind’s pooches are battle-hardened terrors, capable of covering the battlefield in mines or manning a vehicle’s turret. How could I say no? How could it go wrong?

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Premature Evaluation: Tannenberg

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This week’s Premature Evaluation sees our early access conscript, Fraser, flung into the nightmarish Eastern Front of World War I in multiplayer FPS Tannenberg. It’s a companion game to Verdun, but the weather is worse and and there are a lot more angry men with guns.

A man sprints out of the woods just in front of my hiding spot, screaming as he jumps over fallen trees. Before I can even figure out if he’s friend or foe, there’s a flash and a scream as he’s sent hurtling through the air, the latest victim of the enemy’s mortar. He lands in the mud right next to me, where he moans and gurgles as the life slowly seeps out of him. It’s a noise I’ve become very familiar with in Tannenberg.

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SpyParty is coming to Steam early access after 8 years of development

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The first time SpyParty was mentioned here was in 2010, and we’ve not written about it since 2015, so you could be forgiven for forgetting that it existed. But it does indeed still exist, and after eight years of development, it’s coming to Steam early access. There’s a new trailer below that breaks down the simple but seductive premise.

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Premature Evaluation: Deep Sky Derelicts

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This week’s Premature Evaluation sees Fraser exploring rusty spaceships and beating up robots for cash in sci-fi tactics RPG Deep Sky Derelicts.

My first crew, The Fun Time Club, got deep inside an ancient space wreck without too much trouble, but overconfidence breeds recklessness. A fight with a trio of psychotic robot janitors exhausted them so much that they couldn’t get back to their ship. They died forgotten in some unremarkable corridor. Their successors, The Revenginators, didn’t even get that far, failing to live up to their awful name by immediately getting turned into lunch by some ravenous space worms.

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Kick doors with friends in Door Kickers: Action Squad

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Door Kickers is a tense, precise tactics game that turns SWAT team interventions into real-time-with-pause puzzles. But what if it was more like Broforce? That’s Door Kickers: Action Squad — infiltrate buildings as part of a SWAT team, and then make everything explode. It’s on Steam early access now. Read the rest of this entry »

RimWorld’s beta adds swamp biomes and ‘story combat’

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RimWorld has left its awkward alpha stage, blossoming into a beta with update 18. It’s called A World of Story, but the update really dabbles in everything, from crazy weather to orbital super weapons. Hitting beta also means that it’s in the final stretch, says developer Tynan Sylvester, and there won’t be any “major” new additions like entirely new systems before launch, though there will still be future updates.

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Premature Evaluation: Bermuda – Lost Survival

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For this week’s Premature Evaluation, we’ve tossed Fraser into Bermuda – Lost Survival’s unfriendly ocean, where he’ll have to survive on whatever he can steal from the water.

I have, over the last couple of years, misplaced a yacht, crashed a yacht and fallen out of a yacht. You might say that Poseidon and I have a troubled relationship. I just want to go sailing, but he has other plans. I’ve got some experience with nautical misadventures, then, which is why I expect that Bermuda – Lost Survival will be a walk in the park, albeit a very soggy one.

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Premature Evaluation: Sunless Skies

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This week’s Premature Evaluation sees Fraser hurtling through the cosmos inside a space-faring locomotive in Failbetter Games’ eccentric early access space sandbox, Sunless Skies.

Narrative-driven games aren’t normally a comfortable fit with piecemeal early access development – it’s harder to offer a compelling vertical slice of a story that’s meant to be viewed as a whole. This isn’t Failbetter Games’ first rodeo, however; the studio has already had one successful early access game in Sunless Sea. Like its predecessor, Sunless Skies has another advantage: it’s a game about making and experiencing your own story through evocative vignettes and quests, rather than following a prescribed narrative.

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The Colonists is a settlement building game with cute robots, coming to Early Access

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Cute robots are the most dangerous kind of robot. They trick you into thinking they’re harmless and friendly and then before you know it they’re cutting your face off with a laser. Why do they even need lasers!? I’m immediately suspicious of the otherwise pleasant-looking settlement building game, The Colonists, because it’s off-world colonies are being established by – you guessed it – cute robots. It’s coming to Steam Early Access on November 9.

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Premature Evaluation: Airport CEO

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This week’s Premature Evaluation sees Fraser putting on his nicest suit and running an Airport in tycoon and management game Airport CEO [official site]. Please don’t arrange any flights until he’s finished. RPS does not endorse his airport.

I spend an inordinate amount of time in airports, and I loathe them with every fibre of my being. The huge crowds of people willing to sacrifice their humanity if it means getting on their flight in time; the constant, unrelenting announcements and security warnings; the forty different meaningless passenger classes; the endless, illogical queues — I’m getting a stress headache just thinking about it.

So of course I’ve decided to make my own airport in Airport CEO. I mean, how could anything I run be worse than one of these travel prisons? Frankly, I expect to do such a great job that I’m wondering if this Premature Evaluation is even going to be interesting to read. Sorry.

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Sociable Soccer kicks off in early access

Inclement digital weather saw the match called off last week, delayed with only a few hours’ notice, but Sociable Soccer today started its pre-season fixtures and launched into early access. It’s a new arcade-y ball-kicker made by Sensible Soccer co-designer John Hare and the Combo Breaker squad. They expect to launch the full version early next year but, if you really want to get kicking now and don’t mind missing features, you can now take to the pitch. Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation: Holdfast – Nations At War

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We’ve been sending Fraser off to explore Early Access games. He keeps coming back. This week, he’s been standing in a neat row with new friends while 18th century Frenchmen shoot at him in Holdfast: Nations At War [official site].

During my sojourn in the Napoleonic era, I have seen some terrible things. I watched as an officer yelled at his troops to stand in a neat line, not realising that they’d all been killed by artillery. I witnessed 20 bold soldiers charge across a tiny bridge, all slaughtered before they got the other side. From my hiding spot behind a tree, I saw my allies cut down by screaming Frenchmen who burst out of the darkness, sabres held high. And throughout it all, I drummed.

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Premature Evaluation: The Guild 3

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This week, Fraser’s the one being offered up as a sacrifice to the cruel gods of Early Access. He’s been flung back through time to live his best serf life in GolemLab’s medieval sim, The Guild 3 [official site].   

Being a freelance video game man, I suffer from a great deal of existential dread, and it’s proved to be too much for me, so I’ve packed it all in to start fresh in The Guild 3’s recreation of 15th century London. In my new and improved life, I’m Carlton Bloomer, a rogue, a pickpocket and a feckless ne’er-do-well. Join me as I try to rise to the top of medieval English society using my quick fingers and juggling skills.

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