Klei quietly began the open beta for Hot Lava during E3

The trailer for Hot Lava is something else. It's a five-minute homage to Saturday morning cartoons complete with theme song and an ad break for "the Mount Vile Gauntlet Trial playset". The actual game it's a trailer for is, like that playset, an elaborate obstacle course where—just like we pretended as kids—the floor is lava.

Hot Lava is what Klei have been working on alongside Oxygen is Not Included and new DLC for Don't Starve. In the middle of E3 fever during the week, they quietly launched it into open beta on Steam, meaning that you can play it right now.

They've clarified that this is not part of Steam's Early Access program, however. When games go into Early Access they get a chance to be featured on the front page, go into the recommendations algorithm, become eligible for user review, and generally become a part of the greater Steam ecosystem. Klei don't want this version of Hot Lava to go through all of that. They've had open betas available through their website before, and did something similarly stealthy for Oxygen Not Included. It means Hot Lava will be available on Steam without being visible to people who aren't specifically looking for it.

Apparently the plan is for an Early Access release to follow when Hot Lava's ready for it, but if you want to get in earlier than Early, here's the Steam page.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and Playboy.com, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.