Early Access review

Rodina review (Early Access)

Ian Birnbaum at

Alpha and Early Access reviews offer our preliminary verdicts on in-development games. We may follow up this unscored review with a final, scored review in the future. Read our full review policy for details.

Open-world games fixate on the size of their worlds. Fallout 3, GTA IV, and Watch Dogs all brag about the square kilometers you’ll have to explore in search of an actual plot. Enter Rodina, an open-solar system RPG. One star, four planets, and 45,000 asteroids wrapped in the soft blackness of space for you to explore. Square kilometers, meet cubic light years.

Invisible, Inc. review (Early Access)

Emanuel Maiberg at

Alpha and Early Access reviews offer our preliminary verdicts on in-development games. We may follow up this unscored review with a final, scored review in the future. Read our full review policy for details.

Invisible, Inc. proves that the logic of stealth games fits turn-based strategy conventions very well, even if it's a little too difficult to fully enjoy right now. Its most obvious influence is X-COM, as it put me in charge of a group of spies with 72 hours to prepare for a final mission. In the time I have until then, I choose between procedurally-generated missions from a global map, weighing the time they'll take to complete and level of security against the potential rewards, and deploy my agents.

TUG review (Early Access)

Emanuel Maiberg at

Alpha and Early Access reviews offer our preliminary verdicts on in-development games. We may follow up this unscored review with a final, scored review in the future. Read our full review policy for details.

The TUG described in its Kickstarter pitch video is a slight deviation from Minecraft's formula of crafting and surviving in a procedurally generated world. It promises future RPG elements and uses malleable voxels that make for rolling hills and round caves instead of Minecraft's fixed-size boxes. But there's a huge gap between what TUG wants to be and the terrible game you can currently buy on Steam Early Access for $10/£7.

Crawl review (Early Access)

PC Gamer at

Alpha and Early Access reviews offer our preliminary verdicts on in-development games. We may follow up this unscored review with a final, scored review in the future. Read our full review policy for details.

Step into the next randomly generated room of the dungeon, hear the click as the doors lock, and see the traps and summoning circles that await and you’ll know that death is haunting you. In Crawl, Powerhoof’s ‘co-opetition’ game currently on Steam Early Access, death isn’t just inevitable, it’s required. But Powerhoof has managed to take the classic dungeon crawler formula and make dying fun as hell.

Galactic Civilizations III review (Early Access)

Richard Cobbett at

Alpha and Early Access reviews offer our preliminary verdicts on in-development games. We may follow up this unscored review with a final, scored review in the future. Read our full review policy for details.

The galaxy’s not very civilised at the moment. Admittedly, when it’s shared with the likes of the Drengin, that’s probably not going to change any time soon, but in the new Galactic Civilizations III beta, you enter a universe where diplomacy literally doesn’t exist. It’s a somewhat odd experience when you play like I do—aiming to establish empires based on mutual trust, brotherhood, and backstabbing with a comfortable advantage. Here though, right now, if you see an alien ship, it’s guaranteed to go for the throat, so you have to hit it faster. Not literally of course; the game’s entirely turn based.

Secret Ponchos review (Early Access)

Emanuel Maiberg at

Alpha and Early Access reviews offer our preliminary verdicts on in-development games. We may follow up this unscored review with a final, scored review in the future. Read our full review policy for details.

If you’ve played Geometry Wars or Renegade Ops you know how to play Secret Ponchos: move with the left stick, aim with the right stick, and shoot. It’s a twin-stick shooter, but not just another twin-stick shooter: Secret Ponchos wisely tweaks and embellishes genre conventions to create something that feels more like a new type of fighting game. It's different and fun, but only if you play it with a good group.

Verdun review (Early Access)

Tyler Wilde at

I feel like someone’s expendable RTS unit as I dart through a muddy maze of trenches. My only goal right now is pathfinding: trudge from cover to cover on my way to the French line as they pelt the no man’s land between us. Trying to pick off entrenched riflemen might help a little, but I have to get into the trench to take it. I get into the trench, and get shot in the face.


SpeedRunners review (Early Access)

Emanuel Maiberg at

Alpha and Early Access reviews offer our preliminary verdicts on in-development games. We may follow up this unscored review with a final, scored review in the future. Read our full review policy for details.

SpeedRunners takes the fast, challenging 2D platforming from games like N and Super Meat Boy, throws in three other players via local multiplayer or online matchmaking, and lets them race one another. That idea on its own is lighting in a bottle, but there are a few other subtle things that SpeedRunners does to make every match exciting, funny, and always worth playing for just one more round.

DieselStormers review (Early Access)

PC Gamer at

Alpha and Early Access reviews offer our preliminary verdicts on in-development games. We may follow up this unscored review with a final, scored review in the future. Read our full review policy for details.

When I was getting ready to play local co-op in DieselStormers, I didn’t expect that I would need to refer back to the Steam store page for instructions, but I soon found out that this wasn’t the only thing absent from the $19/£14 game. The latest Kickstarter-funded project from Black Forest Games, creators of Gianna Sisters: Twisted Dreams, is a side-scrolling shoot-em-up that plays like a Metal Slug/Diablo hybrid. And while it has a unique gun-crafting mechanic and some great looking art, the current Early Access version falls short on everything else.

Habitat review (Early Access)

Christopher Livingston at

Alpha and Early Access reviews offer our preliminary verdicts on in-development games. We may follow up this unscored review with a final, scored review in the future. Read our full review policy for details.

The planet Earth, malformed and scarred from some unthinkable cataclysm, now sports a massive ring of orbiting space debris, some of it very unusual. Along with items you might expect to find floating around in a sci-fi game, like booster rockets, laser cannons, and abandoned space shuttles, you'll also find ferris wheels, hamburger restaurants, enormous buzzsaw blades, and the head of a giant mechanical fire-breathing Tyrannosaurus Rex. Your job is to cobble together this space flotsam to build bizarre weaponized space stations capable of supporting life and dishing out death.

Beasts of Prey review (Early Access)

Patrick Carlson at

Alpha and Early Access reviews offer our preliminary verdicts on in-development games. We may follow up this unscored review with a final, scored review in the future. Read our full review policy for details.

Beasts of Prey is for builders and I’m hard at work. I’ve already scavenged enough stone and wood to piece together a crafting bench and a furnace. With a good supply of lumber and a selection of metal ores smelting away, I’m making progress towards a home of my own. But I’ve also got self-defense in mind. I’ve been active on the game’s official PvP server for a couple hours already this session, and I have yet to see another player. Feeling secure in my solitude, despite the countless buildings that dot the hills, beaches and forests, I set out to stock up on resources.

Endless Legend review (Early Access)

Wes Fenlon at

Early Access reviews offer our preliminary verdicts on in-development games. We may follow up this unscored review with a final, scored review in the future.

Hexagons have never looked this good. Endless Legend paints a watercolor fantasy across its 4X strategy grid, and the pieces that fill those hexagons—distinct warring factions, indigenous races, fire trees and magical orbs and mysterious ruins—build a rich and deeply complex game world. Complexity is typically expected from 4X strategy games, but playing them before they're complete is not. And Endless Legend is definitely not complete.

Hack 'n' Slash review (Early Access)

Emanuel Maiberg at

Early Access reviews offer our preliminary verdicts on in-development games. We may follow up this unscored review with a final, scored review in the future.

Hack ‘n’ Slash looks like a Zelda game, but it’s a deconstruction, not a tribute. Rather than asking you to figure out how to match your growing inventory of tools to new enemies, dungeons, and bosses, it pokes holes in game design itself, exposing the basic programming that makes the game world and enemies inside it function.

The Golf Club review (Early Access)

Cory Banks at

Golf is not the sexiest sport in the world. It’s not glitzy or glamorous, and it doesn’t draw the kind of crowd that the World Cup gets. It does, however, often make for an interesting videogame, especially if you’re playing with a group of friends. Like the real sport, videogame golf should be technically interesting, social, and let you wear funny pants. The Golf Club accomplishes some of those necessities, and has the potential to be even better. But a couple of its design decisions might mean it’s not the golf game for you.


Broforce review (Early Access)

Wes Fenlon at

Early Access reviews offer our preliminary verdicts on in-development games. We may follow up this unscored review with a final, scored review in the future.

Broforce makes me ask some tough questions. Questions like: why is the devil in Vietnam, wearing a suit and tie? Why is Indiana Brones's whip so wimpy? Why isn't the only song in Broforce Team America's patriotic anthem "America, Fuck Yeah?" It's certainly the only song running through my head while I play Broforce. Broforce is basically a $15/£12 version of that song that you can control, using an army of ‘80s and ‘90s action movie heroes. As long as you're playing with friends, it's a blast.