Posts Tagged ‘Premature Evaluation’

Premature Evaluation: Kenshi

Every week we cast Brendan into the early access badlands in nothing but rags. This time, the hot mess of genre that is survival-strategy-city-builder-RPG Kenshi [official site]

You could call Kenshi an RPG, you could call it a survival game. Or you could call it a chaotic jumble of good ideas stitched together via a user interface that would make a Wurm player eat their keyboard in a blind rage. I mention Wurm Online only because this feels like the closest comparison. Except this isn’t online. It’s set in a single-player fantasy Japanese world of skeletal robots and bony animals of burden and it’s got a reputation for toughness. My favourite line in the trailer is: “nobody will help you when the fog-men are eating your legs”. A line both frank and representative. How would I fare in this hostile landscape? Let me tell you the saga of the Gurpson clan.
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Premature Evaluation: Production Line

Every week we send Brendan to inspect the factory floor of early access and scribble angry notes about the development carousel. This time, the conveyor belts of Production Line [official site].

Hello, discerning motorist. Set your eyes on the epitome of motorway luxury: the Safe Family Car Xtreme. It is our debut vehicle and comes complete with an engine and wing mirrors. You might think our car company is behind the competition because there is no air conditioning, no cruise control, and no means of listening to music while driving. But don’t worry, we have 16 of our best scientists working round the clock to come up with a CD player right now. There is no reason to be alarmed. No, I mean that literally. The Family Car Xtreme has no car alarm.
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Premature Evaluation: Rokh

Every week we send Brendan down to the rocky surface of the early access wastes. This time, the Martian survivalism of Rokh [official site].

I only lasted two hours on Mars. I didn’t die of radiation sickness, nor did I succumb to thirst or hunger. I didn’t get struck down by a wayward meteorite, or run out of oxygen and suffocate in my own spacesuit. All of these things are possible in this crafting-heavy survive-em-up. But my time on the red planet was brought to an end by a much more ordinary killer: tedium. Rokh is an absolute masterclass in how NOT to do survival games.
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Premature Evaluation: Dead Cells

Every week we decapitate Brendan and throw him into the early access dungeons, and somehow he always comes back. He must have learned that trick from the promising and punishing Dead Cells [official site]

Life is good when you beat a boss. I’ve been toying with Dead Cells for the past week, relishing its roguelite slashing and crunchy pixel art. It’s a tough game, often punching you in the gut with powerful enemies and sending you slithering all the way back to the start with each death. But every time you die, you get stronger, along with a chance to re-roll the dice of fate to see what vicious weaponry you can gather this time. It styles itself after Dark Souls but, really, you should leave those assumptions at the gate. Just there, next to the pile of beheaded corpses.

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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 »

Premature Evaluation: Veil of Crows

Every week we launch Brendan from a catapult into the early access fortress. This time, the haphazard RPG adventuring of Veil of Crows [official site]

I’ve just murdered four villagers. I was grumpy and I wanted their village, so I went in with eleven peasants and killed them and took their lumberyard. To be fair, they murdered four of us right back. Sadly, all the bodies now lying on the village grounds are practically indistinguishable – all the same greyish peasant corpse. I own a village now, but I am still grumpy. Is it because the kingdom who once guarded the lumberyard are now sending an army to take back their rightful land? No. It’s just because Veil of Crows is messy, buggy and not very fun.
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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 »