Posts Tagged ‘Steam Early Access’

Premature Evaluation: Stormworks – Build and Rescue


Premature Evaluation is the weekly column in which we explore the wilds of early access. This week, Fraser’s trying to run a successful ocean rescue service in Stormworks: Build and Rescue by building the greatest helicopter ever invented.

I don’t get seasick. I get sea hungover, but that’s really my own fault. The wave of nausea that slammed into me as I piloted my tiny bouncing boat towards a nearby island came as something of a surprise. Between the exaggerated physics and frequently foul weather, Stormworks’ ocean is a vomit-inducing nightmare.

It’s my job to fight it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation – Hunt: Showdown


Premature Evaluation is the weekly column in which we explore the wilds of early access. This week, Fraser’s living out his dream of being one of the handsome boys from Supernatural by hunting down demonic beasties in Crytek’s multiplayer shooter, Hunt: Showdown.

Hunt: Showdown never has any silence to break. It’s always noisy. Every groan, gurgle and scream, even the rustling of leaves — they all echo across the swamp, exploding out of invisible amps. After awhile, it becomes a low, menacing drone; an ever-present threat that you just get used to. The trick – I can only assume, as I’m quite terrible at this bounty hunting malarky – is to cut through the background din and pick out the real dangers. The closest roars. The loudest footsteps. The bullet whizzing right past your head.

Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation: Rise of Industry


Premature Evaluation is the weekly column in which we explore the wilds of early access. This week, Fraser’s hawking his wares to the ravenous consumers of Rise of Industry, a tycoon game about growing berries and other less important things.

You’ve got to give the people what they want. Booze, sex, tasty little berries harvested from a local plantation and driven straight to the farmers market – these people have needs, and for the last week I’ve been spending my evenings with Rise of Industry trying to fulfill them. Well, the need for berries anyway. People go nuts for them – but they don’t care for nuts – and I am the Berry King.

Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation: Eco


Premature Evaluation is the weekly column in which we explore the wilds of early access. This week, Fraser’s joining a civilisation and facing down a meteor in environmentally-conscious sandbox Eco. But mostly he’s building a terrible house.

The worlds of crafting and survival games are big balls of resources waiting to be exploited. Normally. Not so in Eco, where the world is a vulnerable, reactive globe that requires respect and nurturing. And only a wee bit of exploitation. It looks like a pretty Minecraft, but while it shares most of its fundamentals, Eco is as much simulation as a crafting sandbox, complete with an ecosystem that can be irreparably destroyed by human interference.

Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation: My Time at Portia


Premature Evaluation is the weekly column in which we explore the (well-tended agricultural) wilds of early access. This week, Fraser’s taking a break in My Time at Portia, a crafting sim with shades of Harvest Moon and Stardew Valley.

Tirelessly exploring early access games takes its toll, so this week I’m off somewhere relaxing: a post-apocalyptic town. Portia is more Ghibli than Fallout, thankfully. It’s a brightly-coloured, charming place, surrounded by vast green fields and gargantuan ruins from the time before the cataclysm. A perfect spot for a holiday, then.

Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation: Forged Battalion


Premature Evaluation is the weekly column in which we explore the wilds of early access. This week, Fraser’s making his very own RTS faction in Petroglyph’s Forged Battalion.

The drones swoop in first, dropping gas bombs on top of unsuspecting mech pilots. The rest of the horde soon follow, announcing their arrival by launching toxic grenades that slowly corrode their victims, accompanied by the traditional wall of missiles. Anti-tank mechs tear into the defending artillery while buggies with rocket launchers strapped to them round up the stragglers. The base is torn down. These are my babies.

Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation: Mashinky


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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation: Mesozoica


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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation: They Are Billions


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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation: Empires of the Undergrowth


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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation: Tannenberg


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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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


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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation: Bermuda – Lost Survival


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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Divinity: Original Sin 2 Now On Steam Early Access

Divinity: Original Sin 2 [official site] launched into early access today, less than a year after wrapping up its Kickstarter. The fantasy RPG’s initial release is quite small, and waiting for the full version before even thinking about touching it is certainly a reasonable idea but, y’know, maybe Adam’s raving has got you pumped. Original Sin 2 “improves almost every area” of the original, he said – and it was no slouch.

Read the rest of this entry »

Game Freak’s Giga Wrecker Now On Early Access

Game Freak, the studio who brought you little games like Pokémon, have a new game out this week on Early Access. It’s a 2D action puzzle’em up called Giga Wrecker [Steam page], in which you take on the role of an aqua-haired cyborg lady exploring a world invaded by a host of malicious robots.

Read the rest of this entry »

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?

Read the rest of this entry »

How To Survive 2 Hits Early Access With Online MP

Celebrate the impending doom wrought by the zombie apocalypse with friends, seems to be the message I’m getting from How To Survive 2 [official site]. Oh, and Louisiana looks nice. How To Survive 2 has shuffled its way onto Steam Early Access in search of brains, online multiplayer, and a new camp system for the action-RPG. Focus your cross hairs on the launch trailer below.

Read the rest of this entry »

Between Me And The Night Spooking Early Access

Nothing takes me back to those good old days of childhood more than a video game where televisions are basically spiders and our protagonist inhabits a Cronenberg shadow world. Between Me and The Night [official site], oh what a beaut’ this is. A surreal action adventure about a kid on the edge and the mysterious house that he lives in.

The project’s makers at RainDance LX have brought the game to the people for a bit of feedback, launching it on Steam Early Access on Friday. Video after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Can’t Catch ‘Em All: Undead Labs Dropping Moonrise

I’m almost done catching up on news I missed over the long holiday weekend and, aw, this last bit’s bad news. State of Decay creators Undead Labs are planning to close their pocket monster battling game Moonrise [official site] without ever officially launching it. Moonrise launched on Steam Early Access in May, selling $15 and $20 bundles of creatures and virtuacash and whatnot. It was supposed to turn free-to-play when it launched but, well, it won’t launch and they’ve pulled it from sale.

Read the rest of this entry »

Is Early Access A Good Thing For Players Or Developers?

Early Access games are here to stay, but is that cause for concern or celebration? We gathered to discuss whether early access benefits developers or players in its current state, and how we’d make it better. Along the way, we discussed the best alpha examples, paying for unfinished games, our love of regularly updated mods, Minecraft and the untapped potential of digital stores.

Read the rest of this entry »