DGA’s Early Access Corner (12/23/14)
DISCLAIMER: The title “Early Access” means that the product/game is still under development. As such, the content featured below is subject to change. This includes any opinions I may have at the time of writing, as Alpha and Beta builds sometimes change their core mechanics on a whim. It’s important to stress the word opinions, as I find it unethical to review something not yet released in its final form. In other words, don’t take anything you see here too seriously. You can view all of the articles of this series by clicking the “Video Games” tab, located on the top of this page.
StarMade – A bit overwhelming at first but I’m slowly getting the hang of the interface and constructing ships. I love the idea of being able to build a ship and travel to other planetary bodies. The idea of building around your “core” block is an interesting one as you’ll need to come up with designs that protect it from enemy fire. There’s a lot here for ten bucks (though the price will increase later on as development continues) and is an easy recommend to those who enjoy open world sandboxes. You can find it on Steam’s Early Access program for $9.99.
theHunter: Primal – The ambiance and scenery are nice, though they could admittedly be a bit better and more realistic. At present there are only three dinosaurs with two more coming…not exactly a wide variety. In addition to more dinosaur types, I’d like to see a survival element added to the game (hunger, thirst, etc.) that could be toggled on or off since some hate mixing and matching hunting and survival. The stamina bar runs out a bit too quickly for my taste as the average human being can sprint longer than say, two to three seconds. With all of that said, the idea of hunting dinos is a rather appealing notion and I can’t wait to see what else gets added over the course of development. The price will increase at launch, so either buy it now or wait for a sale if money is tight. You can find it on Steam’s Early Access program for $19.99.
TUG – While I’ve played countless open-world survival sandbox games, “TUG” looked too pretty to ignore, reminding me a little bit of “Creativerse”. At first glance, I thought I’d be thrust into a caveman-esque survival fest…it turns out I was partially right. In this case, you’re actually a Seedling: “a race of humanoid beings with special crystals on their hands enabling them to interface with the strange energies and ancient secrets in the world around them”. Like a caveman (or woman), you’ll start with only the basic of tools and work your way up. While there is PVP, folks will be happy to learn that you can play single player in either “survival” or “creative” modes, just like in “Minecraft”. This is truly one survival sandbox game to watch out for! You can find it on Steam’s Early Access program for $9.99.
Hearthlands – If “Caesar IV” and “Banished” had a baby, “Hearthlands” is what it would be called. It’s like them in the sense that you don’t actually control any of your subjects…you build structures and watch them go about their daily lives. Hey, don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it…there’s a reason why purchasable “ant farm kits” are a thing. With that said, there’s quite a bit of resource and city management involved. I suppose there’s a little bit of “Age of Empires” in their too, what with the ability to build armies and manage diplomacy. All in all, great for folks who enjoy “Majesty”, “Settlers”, or any of the above aforementioned games. You can find it on Steam’s Early Access program for $19.99.
RUNNING WITH RIFLES – Take EA’s “Battlefield”, give it a top down view, make it incredibly hard, and you’ve got “RUNNING WITH RIFLES”. I suspect that the game may have been named “RUNNING WITH RIFLES WILL GET YOU KILLED” at one point, though I can see why the former might be a bit more catchy. Like “Battlefield”, you’ll have to control key points on the map in real time. One or two hits will most likely kill you, so staying behind cover and utilizing your teammates is a must. Those with very little patience may not enjoy playing this game, though any sort of frustration you have goes out the window when you respawn, pick up a weapon off the ground, and blow through enemy lines like a champ. Easily recommended despite it’s hard difficulty (though there are sliders available to make certain aspects easier). You can find it on Steam’s Early Access program for $14.99.
Subnautica – I gave “Farsky” a lot of praise in my review, and why not? There’s just not a whole lot of games out there that feature underwater exploration in an open-world sandbox environment. Like “Farsky”, the game puts you in the shoes of someone who has wrecked at sea (this time it’s a spaceship, not a submarine) and is tasked with surviving. While both games have multiple ways of killing you, “Subnautica” features quite a bit more in terms of crafting recipes, including the need to drink filtered or disinfected water. The crafting system is fantastic in that it gives you all the recipes and tells you what you’ll need in order to make them..in other words, very user-friendly. There are also a few different vehicles too! I honestly can’t wait to see what else will be added to the game as it continues to develop. Be warned however…at the moment, the save feature doesn’t appear to be working. You can find it on Steam’s Early Access program for $19.99.