Posts Tagged ‘Early Access’

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 »

3 years on, The Forest is beautiful and terrifying by turns

The Forest [official site], a pretty-but-harrowing singleplayer survival/crafting game, has been traipsing through the Early Access woods for three years now, and it impressed us even in its earliest days. I’ve yet to have the pleasure of butchering turtles or being savaged by cannibals, but with The Forest back in the charts and well over a year’s worth of development under its belt since the last time we looked at in earnest, I decided that now was the time. Time to live on a steady diet of squirrel kidneys, in a log cabin adorned with severed heads. Beats reality, right?
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Hand-ski into VR Early Access game Lucid Trips

Lucid Dreams

One of the games fresh out of the Steam oven (well, sort of still in the oven because it’s in early access but you’re allowed to start eating it now) is Lucid Trips [official site]. It caught my eye because of its dreamscapes and sense of motion suggested by the trailers I saw. It’s a VR project though, and I don’t have access to any of the RPS VR sets currently so trailers and screenshots are all I have to peer at. Read the rest of this entry »

Welcome to Pip’s Astroneer base!

Astroneer

Astroneer [official site] is so lovely. It’s a really pretty game with this fondness of geometry and at the moment, in its early access phase, it’s forgiving enough that I can potter in my sleep-deprived state without getting confused. There are also ace caves to explore and weird plants and ribcages and hostile fungi to find. To explain what I’ve been up to in the last day or so I’ve made a video explaining some basics and showcasing my base! Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation: Virtual-O

Every Monday we abandon Brendan in a forest with a map and an early access game. This week, the hardcore orienteering of Virtual-O [official site].

“These rocks are definitely the correct rocks,” I think, as the sun glares down through the trees of a Czech wood. A flock of birds passes through the sky in the distance. Grass and twigs rustle under my feet as I look around for the control – a small orange and white square that serves as a checkpoint for this countryside time trial. Ah, there it is. I run towards it, feeling relief that I am not as lost as I previously thought. The checkpoint buzzes with disdain. A message flashes up. “Wrong control,” it says. I frown and look helplessly at the forest. The rocks lied to me.
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Astroneer is survival and crafting without the cruft

I drive the short trip back to my base, park my truck close enough to one of the buildings for the cable to attach, and offload the red blob from the back of my buggy. It looks like a thorned vegetable and I plug it into my research station, which is receiving power via cables from the solar panel on the back of my truck. When the research is complete, I will have the knowledge of which resources I need in order for my 3D printer to create a drill head, which I can then attach to a vehicle and use to cut paths through the fully deformable terrain.

Astroneer [official site] is a survive-and-craft game like many others, but it throws out a lot of the cruft and grind. I played it and suddenly it was five hours later, the intervening period a blur of pretty landscapes and achievable goals.

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Premature Evaluation: Another Brick In The Mall

Every Monday we fire Brendan and force him to take work in a vast early access shopping centre. This week, the tendrils of mass consumption take hold in Another Brick In The Mall [official site].

Welcome to Dead ‘n’ Fried, the premier fast food restaurant of our modern age. Open from 9am-7pm. The only cook, a 56-year-old alcoholic called Teresa, seems to have the place under control at a comfortable 94 dollar loss every day. Worried about food poisoning? Don’t be. There’s a pharmacy next door. Pills 4 Ur Broken Body is run by a head cashier with a strong stomach. It says so in his character traits.
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My Summer Car Veers Into Early Access Next Week

My Summer Car [official site], the drunk cousin of Jalopy, is coming to Steam Early Access next week. It’s a driving game and life simulator about building, fixing, and driving your own car, while also larking about and trying not to die in Finnish countryside of 1995. So sure, you can take your car apart and fine-tune it to win races, and you can also find a job to pay for beer then get smashed and die drunk in a ditch. That’s the full spectrum of ’90s Finnish rural life as I understand it. Read the rest of this entry »

Serious Sam VR Is VR At Its Most Stupid & Most Brilliant

I guess I don’t feel entirely comfortable saying that a game about nothin’ but shooting restored some of my damaged faith in VR, but what the hell: yee-haw! In my fond imagining, VR was going to take me to brand new places, not strand me in the blood-strewn alleys of modern videogaming’s norm. There’s no avoiding it, though: Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope [official site] feels so damned good. This is Time Crisis steroidal and unrepentant, eschewing both gimmick and complexity in favour of finger guns and laughter.

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Premature Evaluation: SHENZHEN I/O

Every Monday we send Brendan to the special economic zone of early access and task him with increasing the productivity of the people’s republic of videogames. This week, the brain-breaking electronics of SHENZHEN I/O [official site]. Some spoilers included.

Zach Barth of Zachtronics, who is previously responsible for games like SpaceChem and Infinifactory and who is also definitely a robot, unfurled his new electronics-em-ep this month. In SHENZHEN I/O you play an expert who emigrates to China to work for Longteng Electronics Co. Ltd. That means you’ll be building circuits, wiring microprocessors and writing bits of code for a range of increasingly unusual and complicated devices. But you’ll also be learning about your co-workers and delving into an unnerving industrial future that probably already exists.

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Stellar Overload Hits Steam Early Access

Cubical Drift’s Stellar Overload [official site] looks a whole lot like Cube World or Minecraft, though it looks slightly better than either of those games, at least in the aesthetics department. Kickstarted under the name Planets3 in 2014, the game and its cubic planets finally arrived on Steam Early Access this week, so it’s ripe for the trying. Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation: Empyrion – Galactic Survival

Every Monday we jettison Brendan into the uncharted quadrants of early access and demand constant progress reports. This week, he makes himself a new home in the tropical forests of Empyrion: Galactic Survival [official site].

There’s something making noises out there. It’s growling, or they’re growling. I’m not sure. It’s pitch black in the jungle tonight and the noise is definitely not normal jungle noise. Not the same sounds that I heard during the daytime – whoops and whistles and insect chatter. No, there’s something else out there. And if it’s dangerous, I need to kill it. Because I don’t even have a shack to hide in. I’m just camping here beneath the canopy, next to some crafting contraption I barely know how to u–

Shh! The growling, it’s closer. They’re here.

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Boot Up: TIS-100 Dev’s SHENZEN I/O Hits Early Access

The creator of SpaceChem, TIS-100, and Infinifactory is back with another making-things-work puzzle game. Zachtronics last night launched SHENZHEN I/O [official site] onto Steam Early Access, letting people have a crack at building circuits from electronic components then program them by writing in an assembly language. Easy peasy! Zachtronics say Shenzhen I/O is already “highly polished and would be perfectly acceptable to release in a traditional fashion” but they’re again turning to early access for feedback to make it even better – maybe from you?

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Offblast! Endless Space 2 Hits Steam Early Access

Endless Space 2 [official site] is not out. If you want the full and fancy 4X space strategy experience, you might need to wait another six or so months. However! If you want to play something of it, any of it, and you want to be a teacher’s pet and maybe help shape the game, you can now have a crack at a chunk on Steam Early Access. We’ve played a bit ourselves and it’s… clearly not finished, but you knew that because it’s not finished yet, yeah?

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Battlerite Distils MOBAs To Action-Packed Teamfights

If you’ve ever enjoyed a teamfight in a MOBA, I can guarantee you’ll get a kick out of Battlerite. That’s a bold opening statement, but Battlerite distills those clashes into tense, 10 – 15 minute matches where knowledge and reaction speeds are equally vital. Even if you wouldn’t touch a MOBA with a ten foot barge pole, this might still be for you.

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