DGA’s Early Access Corner (2/3/15)
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.
Distant Star: Revenant Fleet – Distant Star: Revenant Fleet reminds me of FTL but with RTS elements. To sum this up, you’ll jump from point to point and encounter various events (pirates, enemy fleets, dialogue choices, etc.). When docked at a friendly station, you can purchase new ships and/or upgrades for your existing ones. Unlike FTL, the action sequences are less crew specific and more about controlling 1-5 ships inside an arena-esque map and activating their individual abilities timely. Some things do rub me the wrong way: no difficulty setting, encounters/enemy waves tend to be too long, and the battles tend to be stacked against you to the point where you’re dancing and running constantly. I never felt like I was powerful enough to stand toe to toe with enemies in these events. The right click sound (when moving) is incredibly annoying as well. Still, $7 is a pretty good value for what the game has to offer thus far…though I’d personally play this more if the game had an easier difficulty setting or at least scaled in difficulty appropriately. I suppose we’ll see if this gets addressed throughout the course of development. You can find and support it via Steam’s Early Access program for $6.99.
Stranded Deep – “Stranded Deep” is a game that throws you into a life raft and says, “figure it out”. It’s similar to “Salt” (another game presently on Steam’s Early Access program), albeit prettier and thus nicer to look at. There’s no handholding and barely a tutorial to help you get acclimated to what you need to do to survive. This can be a positive or negative, depending on how you like your survival games to be. I personally prefer to have an in-game crafting menu as alt-tabing to view a wiki or guide can break the immersion. Crafting is done by throwing items on the ground and combining them together, a mechanic used by the recent “TUG”. “Stranded Deep” is pretty basic at the moment, though more features are planned. I’m personally excited for this one, though an in-game crafting menu/guide would thrill me even more. You can find and support it via Steam’s Early Access program for $14.99.
Particula – I like tower defense games, especially ones that try to do something different. In this case, the concept is pretty unique: “clear your mind” and “destroy negativity”…two things I often don’t see associated with a tower defense game. The visuals and soundtrack are pleasing, reminding me a little bit of “Osmos”. The game is advertised as a three-player co-op game, though you can play it in single player if you so choose. At the time of writing, “Particula” is very polished and ready to play (though more content is coming in the form of maps, achievements, and server improvements). It could stand to be improved in a few areas, namely the tower “update” system (less clicking, please) and the inclusion of a tutorial or in-game encyclopedia that tell you what the towers do before you build them. Hopefully these are issues that will get ironed out before release. You can find and support it via Steam’s Early Access program for $14.99.