Tagged: Early Access

Prison Architect Pardoned from Early Access on October 6th

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My god, it’s finally happening: Prison Architect is going to be a really real, for-real final released video game as of October 6th. This year! Prison Architect always looked really great but after being burned by Don’t Starve and its early access changes in 2012 I kept my court-ordered distance for a while.

I eventually got Prison Architect for about $8 on a Summer sale or in a bundle and fairly quickly logged 40 or so hours with it. But I never got too attached to my prisons because I assumed they’d be broken by an update or wiped completely when I came back to them. Such are the tribulations of getting in early. I last played the game almost a year ago now so I’m sure the “wealth of new content” promised in the upcoming release version will be immense. Gosh, has it really been nearly three years since I first saw the game? Crazy.

Ahead of the release, you can get a look at the game’s new content as Introversion takes center stage at the upcoming EGX gaming event in the UK on Saturday, September 26th.

Asteroids is back and it’s definitely a modern PC game

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Asteroids is coming back in 2015 but not at all like you’d expect. Actually, take a look at the current PC game landscape and you could probably guess exactly what Asteroids: Outpost is going to be. Stop me if you’ve heard any of this before:

  • Open world
  • Resource gathering
  • Crafting
  • Survival
  • Base building
  • Massively Multiplayer
  • Early Access

I was fine with it up to those last two points. Like Rust, you’ll constantly be under threat from other players. Sure, you can probably forge alliances and work together with friends but all I picture is another non-stop grief-fest. And Early Access means it’ll be broken, unreliable and ever-changing for the first year. I’ve had my fill of this stuff.

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There’s at least one cool bit that isn’t quite like any other game of this kind: frequent asteroid showers will pepper the landscape with new resources to gather and threaten to destroy your base. Judging by the few images we’ve got it looks like those bases may be hard to miss; that thing looks massive with solar panels, entry ramps and towers.

Atari, you almost had me! For now I’ll just sit back and hope some of the podcasters I follow get into it and relay their exploits.

Of 2014: The ‘You Beta believe it’s not yet a game’ List

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I’ve tried to stay away from betas and early access games but nowadays you can’t help but stumble into them. Maybe it’s a marketing promotion or a free key passed around by friends. Maybe you get an invite for being an Xbox Gold or PlayStation Plus member. Maybe there’s just a good (pre)sale on Steam. Despite my efforts I wound up playing more of these than I expected to in 2014. Here’s a little about each.

 

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Beta: It’s just another word for ‘Timed Demo’

The Crew beta
Ubisoft blew it! A free-form racing game across the United States with no loading from coast to coast; and they gave it all away in the beta. All I ever needed out of this game was to recreate the Cannonball Run, and I did, and then I was done playing the beta. The actual game seems neat as well but the emphasis on multiplayer spoils it for me.

Destiny beta
I managed to get into the beta for both PlayStation 3 and Xbox One and the difference between them was a surprisingly minute amount of fidelity. They both played identically and ran just as smoothly with only higher resolution textures making a difference. This was the closest I got to being swayed by a beta into buying the full game but I was already bored by the time I got to the moon.

Titanfall beta
I love the world, the acrobatic gameplay and the giant mechs slamming onto the battlefield. It’s the playing that bums me out. It’s just another tiny arena where you mindlessly, endlessly shoot other people. I tried to explore the space available but some people just don’t care about architectural appreciation.

 

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Early Access: Play the game you just paid to help finish

Neo Scavenger Early Access
I played the demo of this game endlessly and finally bought into the Early Access version when it was in a bundle. I’m rubbish at surviving this game’s hardcore, hard science world but like any good randomized roguelike it only makes me want to try again (and again and again). It’s still not “finished” but what is there is substantial, I actually had to make sure it was even still Early Access.

Nom Nom Galaxy Early Access
I love the idea of focusing the resource gathering and crafting of Terraria on a larger gameplay mechanic. It’s all about streamlining the production of soup to beat out the competition. It’s the kind of mundane excitement that I can really get behind but like most of these games I’ve only dabbled until it’s farther along.

Prison Architect Early Access
Another pre-sale bundle buy, this is the one beta/early access game I’ve spent the most time with; around 30 hours to be more precise. Being a simulation game makes it easier as I’m building everything from nothing and not exploring already built content. It’s missing some core motivational features (campaigns, progress, Achievements, etc) but the basics are there to instill loads of stress and accomplishment.

Starbound Early Access
A sci-fi Terraria with interplanetary travel? I was sold the instant I heard the description and it’s still one of the few games I’ve backed. I’m still waiting for it to be more Final but I did jump into the beta build a few times. I’ve kept up with the development blog and though people seem to think the game has stalled I’m happy to wait. It just doesn’t make for any interesting stories to write in this recap.

Viscera Cleanup Detail Early Access
There is something supremely clever and oddly appealing about being the janitor that comes in behind the rampaging sci-fi hero. It wasn’t a kickstarter thing but I put down money as quickly as possible to pre-order this one. A year and a half later and I’m still waiting for it to be final before I put my heart into mopping up ludicrous gibs.

 

 

Minigolf goes to Columbia in Vertiginous Golf

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“Vertiginous Golf is a physics-based, first person exploratory mini-golf game, set in an alternate, steampunk-infused world where life on the ground is enveloped in permanent smog, constant darkness and never-ending rain. Players chip and putt their way around courses floating high above the clouds with complex machinery and Victorian-era décor, as they slowly discover what the hell is going on in this peculiar place.”

That’s a helluva thing. While the big news is Vertiginous Golf’s “community driven” debut on Steam Early Access, all I care about is the “exploratory mini-golf”, Burnout-style aftertouch control, and gilded automaton hummingbird. I’ll pass on it for now but I’m keeping my eye out for the “final release” headline.

What’s the deal with golf anyways? It’s the one genre of games I never tire of being completely terrible at.

Children of Liberty isn’t dead, louder than ever

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Following a game as it goes in and out of the IGF year after year is a funny thing. I have a hard time keeping up with the games and their developers in the intervening 11 months so I usually end up assuming the game has completely burnt out. And if it doesn’t run again the following year? Oh, forget it, total disaster; complete implosion.

That’s where I was at with Lantana Games’ Children of Liberty. After watching it grow over the course of two years I expected the worst when I didn’t see it entered again for the upcoming Independent Games Festival. So I was more than surprised to see the news yesterday announcing a slew of familiar actors lending their voices to the game’s up-til-now placeholder cast.

Ashly Burch (“Borderlands 2,” “Hey Ash Whatcha Playin’?”) as Sarah; Sarah Elmaleh (“Skulls of the Shogun,” “Gone Home”) as Ally, Margaret Gage, and others; Sean Chiplock (“Dust: An Elysian Tail,” “Freedom Planet”) as Doug and William Dawes; and Chris Rando (“Dance Central 3,” “Codename Cygnus”) as Joseph, the Lieutenant, and others.

In addition, the game includes Ed Mace (“Heroes of Newerth,” “Tiny Thief”) as Samuel Adams; Chris Ciulla (“Fallout: New Vegas,” “Dissidia 012: Final Fantasy”) as Benjamin Church and others; Cyrus Nemati (“Quest for Infamy”) as Royal Governor Thomas Gage; Billy Nichols (Structure Gaming) as Samuel Prescott; and Geoffrey Campbell (Captain of the New England Patriots Endzone Militia) as Paul Revere.

I admit, I don’t know many of them by name but those credits are mighty impressive. I’m also happy the game didn’t explode and even happier to hear that it’s coming to Steam (albeit in Early Access) this Spring. A quick primer on the game itself: it’s a 2D stealth adventure in a 3D world set in Colonial Boston just before the American Revolution. Ya know what, here, this probably requires some visual explanation.