Posts Tagged ‘Early Access’

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 »

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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