Posts Tagged ‘Early Access’

Premature Evaluation: Call To Arms

Every Monday, Rob Zacny calls out to the assembled masses of Early Access games but only a few are brave and hardy enough to respond to his summons.

Call to Arms [official site] has a lot to make up for. Its predecessor, Men of War: Assault Squad 2, was one of the most bitter disappointments I’ve ever had with a game.

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The Solus Project Casts You As Humanity’s Only Hope

Humanity no longer has a home. Earth has been destroyed, and all that remains of it is on a nomadic fleet of ships searching for a place to rebuild their civilization. In The Solus Project, you take on the role of a surveying team charting an Earthlike planet that may just prove suitable for humanity’s resettlement. Disaster strikes suddenly and you find yourself marooned on the surface of Gliese. Armed with only the most basic knowledge of the dangers the planet holds, you must set out to solve the mystery of the destruction of your ship, and contact your fleet for rescue.

The Solus Project could easily be mistaken for another sci-fi themed survival game.

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The Ship: Remasted Cruises Into Early Access

Poop poop! That is the sound of The Ship: Remasted [official site] sailing into Early Access. I assume. I have no idea what noise the actual ship makes in the game. Perhaps it’s more of a WHAAAAAAAAAAAP WHAAAAAAAAAAAP? While I try to research that here is some information on this Early Access development:

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Poop And Profit: Slime Rancher’s Fantastic Farming

Slime Rancher [official site] is the cutest game about selling shit ever made. Admittedly it’s probably the only game about selling shit ever made, but I don’t know for certain and googling “Shit­selling games” tends to bring up commercial flops like Bulletstorm rather than games that literally involve the flogging of faecal matter.

If you’ve seen anything of Monomi Park’s debut, which slithered onto Early Access a couple of weeks back leaving a silvery trail in its wake, then its love for excrement may come as a surprise. Aesthetically Slime Rancher is a thundering wave of colour, like a circus struck by a tsunami, and the eponymous slimes are so clearly designed to be child­friendly that it’s surprising to discover they have any orifices at all.

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Premature Evaluation: Scrap Mechanic

Please give a warm welcome to Rob Zacny, the new writer of Premature Evaluation. Each Monday he’ll be picking through the detritus of early access to separate the games might one day be assembled into something worthwhile from those which should remain on the scrapheap.

A confession: I think sandbox games are boring.

Which makes their popularity kind of ironic, considering that Jim Rossignol once wondered whether games might one day “banish the curse of boredom from our lives.” If you look at the great majority of popular Early Access games on Steam, you’ll find they are either about sandbox construction and crafting, or about survival, or both.

Entire worlds at our fingertips, all manner of heroes, explorers, and villains to choose from, and yet the surest way to players on Early Access is to leave them with a few building blocks, a lot of room to use them, and nothing else to do. So it is in Scrap Mechanic.

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GOG Starts Selling Early Access Games

In his final Premature Evaluation column on Monday, Marsh said of Steam Early Access: “Developers don’t know what they’re selling, customers don’t know what they’re buying, and I often don’t know what I’m reviewing – each week I play two or three games in the hope of finding one which is recognisable, even loosely, as a product against which even the vaguest expectations might be tentatively measured.”

Today, GOG have started selling early access games. They insist they’ll be “carefully evaluating” games before selling them, and will be kind with refunds. But who will we turn to now Marsh has evaluated himself dry?

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Premature Evaluation: Garbage Day

Keen RPS readers will probably have noticed by now that nearly every Premature Evaluation I’ve written has contained a not-terribly-secret second article in the alt-text, wherein I make a tortuous segue from the subject of the game to some matter of personal fascination to me: ancient phallic statuary, freaky Renaissance paintings, the unluckiest pirate to slap his naked bum in front of a naval officer. That sort of thing. Writing these alt-texts and seeing them being discussed further in the comments, often in much more scholarly detail, has been a true professional highlight for me. So thanks for that. This week, since it’s my last ever alt-text, it’s only right that the subject should be one inspired, not by the game of the main article, but by RPS commenters themselves: after including a glib comment about Oliver Cromwell’s bloody campaign in Ireland in one of my previous captions, one RPS reader suggested that recent research had rather redeemed him - and this (along with Pip Warr’s extensive Cromwell-knowledge) prompted me to make my way through Tom Reilly’s impressive work of investigation “Cromwell: An Honourable Enemy” which seeks to completely overturn the prevailing narrative of Cromwell’s calumny in Ireland.

Each week Marsh Davies descends like a hungry urban gull upon the reeking heap of Early Access, hoping to yank free a tasty treat without choking on a crinkled Space Raiders packet. This week, he’s been stuck in Garbage Day, a game that is nominally about replaying the same looping time period, again and again, until you piece together the mystery and escape your temporal prison. In its current form, however, it’s no more than a colourful but cramped chaos sandbox, in which you can kill and maim cartoonish inhabitants of a highly-smashable town in the knowledge that any consequences will be reset as soon as the clock strikes midnight. But does its eternal present suggest a plan for reaching a less frivolous future?

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