Early Access

Road Redemption roars out onto Steam Early Access

Andy Chalk at

Road Rash was a fundamentally ridiculous game about hyper-violent motorcycle races in which victory could be achieved either by being faster than your opponents, or by pushing them into oncoming traffic at 120 miles per hour. That's a good description of Road Redemption too, a "spiritual successor" that blasted through Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight last year, and is now available on Steam Early Access.

Spacebase DF-9 to leave Early Access next month, future content development halted

Phil Savage at

Double Fine's Spacebase DF-9, the space-based base construction and management sim, will leave Steam's Early Access next month. Double Fine announced the release window alongside a a small list of planned features for the for the 1.0 update. A little too small, perhaps, as many were expecting the studio to develop more content for the game. That now won't happen, with the studio instead planning to release the source code to the community.


Spacebase DF-9 gameplay video — Early Access impressions

Tyler Wilde at

Shocking news today: I'm playing another game! This time I take a look at Spacebase DF-9, an Early Access game from Double Fine that I've already put about 10 hours into. The goal: build a sweet space station without everyone dying terribly.


Minimum gameplay video: our impressions of the minimalist team shooter

Tyler Wilde at

Minimum has, as its name suggests, a minimalist look, but it's not totally simple. In the main mode, two teams build base defenses, upgrade their weapons, and pop creeps to power up their Titans: giant robots that clamber toward each side's base for the win. It just left Early Access, so I jumped in to see what it was all about—watch me be a general nuisance to my team as I figure it out.


LA Cops gameplay video — Early Access impressions

Tyler Wilde at

LA Cops is a game with a badass title. It should probably just be the title of every game. LA Cops: Inquisition? I'd play that. Plus, the trailer made me think of Hotline Miami, which was more than enough to get me to download it and give it a shot. It's in Early Access, and the current version is a small part of its future whole, but I recorded my impressions of a couple levels for a quick look at what's there now.


DayZ's producer addresses community concerns about the game's development

Phil Savage at

Ah, DayZ. In many respects it's the architect for modern survival gaming, and, in many other respects, we still have no idea what its final form will even be. Neither the Arma 2 mod nor the standalone early access release are in a finished state, and that's led to some concern within its community. Brian Hicks, producer for DayZ, recently addressed these concerns in a forum thread titled, "has anyone else lost faith in DayZ?"


World of Diving is a multiplayer underwater exploration game, now in Early Access

Tom Sykes at

I'm getting serious Endless Ocean vibes from World of Diving, a multiplayer underwater exploration game now in Steam Early Aquatic Access for your consideration. It's a game about swimming around on the sea bed, discovering sunken treasure, and taking photos of all the weird and interesting stuff in the ocean. It's not a game about killing things, but I suppose there's still time for developers Vertigo Games to add killstreaks and gory, slow-motion takedown moves.


Maia 0.44 update reworks research, adds medical treatment and ugly molerat thing

Tom Sykes at

I haven't played Maia, maybe I will never play Maia, but I enjoy watching videos of Simon Roth explaining new and changed features, particularly when his game looks so relaxing and atmospheric. Update 0.44, among other things, rethinks the research component, while adding earthquakes, loads of new haikus, and "creepy herbivorous underground dwellers", like what your mum is. Sorry, sorry—they're a new lifeform that will "destroy your solar panels and ruin your day". There aren't too many hilarious patch notes to take out of context, but "Amnesia issue fixed. Colonists will try to remember what they are doing when the world changes" did made me chuckle a bit. Full changelist, and that video, below.


Galactic Civilizations III Early Access beta now available, see it in action here

Shaun Prescott at

Building, controlling and wreaking havoc on civilizations is an enduring video game occupation, especially on PC. According to Galactic Civilizations studio Stardock Games, the third installment will offer more nuanced ways to do this than we've ever experienced before. That much is evident if you watch the beta gameplay trailer below, or else you could give the beta a spin yourself. It launched today on Steam Early Access.


Wasteland 2 release is "pretty likely" to slip into September

Phil Savage at

Here's a news story you'll be familiar with: an RPG is being delayed. This time, though, it's not a big-budget slip from The Witcher 3 or Dragon Age: Inquisition, but rather the Kickstarter funded Wasteland 2. The reason is a little different, too. The game is likely to be pushed back a few weeks so that InXile can fulfil the physical side of their long-awaited sequel's release.


Prison Architect's Alpha 23 update adds remote access systems, AKA 'fun with doors'

Tom Sykes at

Prison Architect's latest update is a particularly important one, adding remote access systems to Introversion's prison management sim. As we know from movies and TV, no prison worth its salt would be complete without a big security room switch that opens all the cell doors at once. That's finally a possibility in Alpha 23, which will now allow players to connect doors to remote switches, or to set it so that they'll only open at a specific time of day, say 14:37. You probably have your own favourite time of day. CCTV has also been reworked a bit to fit in with the new system.


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.

Cult of the Wind creator: "It was a surprise when all that hype amounted to nothing"

Tyler Wilde at

Yesterday, I wrote that I'm disappointed by Cult of the Wind—not because it's a bad game, but because I can't play it to find out if it's a good game. It runs fine, but I didn't see anyone in the single official server all day. I was surprised: Cult of the Wind generated a lot of excitement on Steam Greenlight, so where are all the players? In an e-mail correspondence, creator Alex Allen tells me he's also surprised, and expresses concern about the effects of Greenlight and Early Access.


Unturned review (Early Access)

Andy Kelly at

Unturned is a DayZ-style survival sim with a Minecraft-inspired art style. I don’t blame you if you’ve already tuned out. PC is awash with DayZ and Minecraft clones. But Unturned is notable in that it’s currently the fourth most-played game on Steam, beating Football Manager, Skyrim, and Garry’s Mod by many thousands of players—and it was developed by a sixteen year-old. It’s an amazing story—the kind only possible on PC—but is the game itself actually any good?


Clockwork Empires set for "Earliest Access" launch on July 18

Andy Chalk at

Gaslamp Games is taking Early Access to the next level with an "Earliest Access" release of Clockwork Empires. It's pretty much exactly what it sounds like: Buy the game now, get upgraded to the Steam Early Access version when it's ready and then get yet another upgrade to the full version on launch day.


Wasteland 2 Early Access sales helped double the game's Kickstarter budget

Andy Chalk at

Early Access releases on Steam can be a bit dicey, the state of pre-release games always being something of a crapshoot, but there are sometimes big upsides, too. Wasteland 2 is one example of a game that was particularly well-served by its Early Access release late last year: In the most recent Kickstarter update, project lead Chris Keenan wrote that "every penny" earned through pre-release sales was put back into the game, which has helped double its initial Kickstarter budget.


Sunless Sea review (Early Access)

Andy Kelly at

Welcome to the Unterzee, a vast underground body of water that was once the city of London. Plunged into eternal darkness, this colossal, shadowy sea is dotted with islands, filled with secrets, and swimming with unimaginable horrors—and as a ship captain, it’s your job to explore it.


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.

Planet Explorers 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.

Planet Explorers made me appreciate the genius of Minecraft’s basic building block: the simple, 16x16 pixel cube from which flows an entire universe of creativity. Planet Explorers tries expand on the genre Minecraft created by adding more options, more granularity—more everything. Its potential initially inspired me to explore and create, but eventually taught me that Minecraft’s simplicity and comparatively limited scope are some of its biggest assets.

Lichdom: Battlemage review (Early Access)

Patrick Carlson 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.

Lichdom: Battlemage starts with a death—my own. But it’s just the first of many. I can’t avoid death, just accept it. It’s the hammer and chisel I use to carve out my own vision of what a battlemage can be.