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DGA’s Early Access Corner (5/11/15)

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.

Basement – It has a lot of potential, but I’m afraid I can’t recommend it at the moment. It’s extremely bare bones, what with no menu, no tutorial, no tool tips, no save function, and no direction as to what it is you’re actually supposed to do (you’re creating and selling drugs, I think). I figured some of it out eventually and actually like some of what it does…the whole base-building underground reminds me of XCOM a bit, albeit a simplified version. If you’re fine with a game that’s missing a lot of core features and want to support the devs, then fine…though I personally recommend waiting for more content to see if the $9 is justified. I’ll revisit my recommendation later down the line as development continues.  You can find it on Steam’s Early Access program for $8.99.

Software Inc. – If you take “Game Dev Tycoon”, pump it full of steroids, and add little bit of “The Sims”, you’ll come up with “Software Inc.”.  In addition to creating software, games, engines, and taking contracts, you’ll be able to create a character, hire employees, customize your teams, see to your employees’ needs, build the office building from the ground up, buy/sell stocks, manage an insurance account, and more.  It all can be a bit overwhelming at first, but it’s totally worth checking out if you enjoyed playing the aforementioned game-maker simulator.  It has a few bugs, but nothing that will ruin the experience.  You can find it on Steam’s Early Access program for $11.99.

Mad Games Tycoon – Like “Software Inc.”, this game takes a lot of cues from “Game Dev Tycoon” in the sense that you’ll be able to make games and sell them on the market, reasearch and unlock new features to add to your game engines, hire employees, and more.  Unlike “Game Dev Tycoon”, you can build your own rooms (though not the building itself).  I also like the fact that you can sell game engines and set a market share…that is, you gain X% of the company’s profits on their game should they use your engine.  Finding the right ticks on the sliders can be frustrating (setting focus on graphics, gameplay, etc.) and you’ll often get bad scores until you get a feel of what each genre/topic calls for…though if you’ve played “Game Dev Tycoon”, you’ll be no stranger to this.  It’s pretty stable and looks good, making it an easy recommend.  You can find it on Steam’s Early Access program for $11.99.

Folk Tale – I’ve been following “Folk Tale” over the last few years and slowly but surely, it’s been making progress.  Gone is the scripted story and static building placement…instead, you now have a relatively free-form light village builder.  It reminds me a bit of “Banished”, but with a few differences.  For one, it’s not as harsh.  You can also loot enemies in the environment and equip things on your villagers (in addition to individually leveling them up). Combat is a bit bugged right now…that is, enemies will retreat and auto-restore their health to full making them hard to kill.  With that said, I’m enjoying the direction this game is taking.  It’s important to stress what I said earlier about the game taking a while to develop…this isn’t your “three months in Early Access then done” deal.  It entered Early Access sometime in 2013 and won’t be done till 2016 (per the game’s Steam store page).  Those seeking instant gratification and fast/regular updates may want to wait a while.  I’d recommend it for those who enjoy “Banished” or “Hearthlands”, though keep in mind that the resource chains aren’t nearly as complex (at least at the moment).  You can find it on Steam’s Early Access program for $24.99.

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