Steampunk survival game Volcanoids finally gets co-op play

Volcanoids is a first-person "steampunk shooter survival" game in which players explore a rocky island, build giant drillships to tunnel through it, and deal with explosions caused by a hostile race of robots that uses the nearby volcano as an energy source, and who apparently don't take too kindly to your mucking around with it. We lamented the inability to actually drive the drillships around when it was announced in 2018, but even so it looked "pretty darn cool," particularly since it promised to support co-op and PvP play as well as solo survival shenanigans.

Co-op play wasn't supported when Volcanoids went live last year, but as of yesterday, it's there

"The most requested feature of all" was finally rolled out in an update that went live yesterday. "From now on you will be able to crew up with up to 3 other friends to commandeer drillships, scavenge, build, fight and survive together!" developer Volcanoid said. "Apart from the new co-op mode, there are also new worktables, bunk beds, items, and other improvements we made based on your feedback."

In co-op play, one person will serve as the host and "crew captain," while others will connect through the "join game" screen at the startup menu. In-game quests are fully synchronized through all players, so everyone can take part in group activities including running the drillship, gathering resources, or fighting the COGs—not the Gears guys, but the enemy robots.

Currently, the crew can only own one drillship, although that's planned to be expanded in future updates, and since the game runs entirely through the host, the crew captain is the only one who can save and load games—and if the captain ends the game, everyone else will be automatically disconnected. Crew members can log off intentionally by using new bunk beds, which will safely store your inventory while you're "asleep," and if you're accidentally disconnected your character will remain in the game for around five minutes, giving you an opportunity to reconnect and pick up where you left off—although your unmoving meatsack will be defenseless against misfortune, so don't dawdle.

The update also makes changes to player deaths: After being killed, players will now respawn in either the submarine or a drillship, if you own one, while their inventory is left behind in a backpack. It can be retrieved, but rather like your disconnected corporeal form, it can also be destroyed by an eruption or swiped by a robot, so you'll want to be quick if you want it back.

To celebrate the release of the big update, Volcanoids is on sale for 25 percent off until May 27, dropping it to $15/£12/€13. The full update notes are below.

Main Features:

  • Co-op multiplayer
  • Quests are synchronized within all crew members
  • Player respawn (Single and Multiplayer games)
  • Refinery and research worktables
  • Schematics (different way of upgrading production in drillship)
  • Front drillship boiler (new default device)
  • Bunk bed (log out location in multiplayer)

Other Features:

  • Players drop backpack with inventory upon death
  • Recipe items (dials, gun powder, alloy, bullet casings)
  • New scrap recipes
  • Multiplayer screen for managing players in-game (kick/ban)
  • Custom logo accessible from the main menu

Major Changes:

  • Players no longer have one life, they respawn either in drillship or submarine after death
  • All production stations now allow queue for crafting
  • Changed submarine interior to contain only starter technology (no modules)
  • Changed starter drillship interior to contain only starter technology (no modules)
  • Changed tech tree
  • Updated questline
  • Engine upgrades no longer require Core upgrade of the same level to be installed
  • Changed loot spawned in COG drillships

Other Changes:

  • Adjusted audio throughout the whole game
  • Player now takes one stack of item from online storage by default (no longer taking whole coal storage - Shift = 1 item, CTRL 5 items, CTRL+Shift All items )
  • Updated research icons to better show what is crafted and from what - Suggested by TheFireDragon on Nolt
  • Updated scrap recipes to better reflect what happens with the item
  • Scrap metal and destroyed modules can be picked up without the need to use the pickaxe to mine them (press E)
  • Increased chest storage size
  • Increased front drillship storage capacity
  • Increased storage capacity in T2 and T3 Storage modules
  • Pickaxe is mining slower
  • COG respawn tube has higher HP

Bug Fixes:

  • Optimizations at all levels
  • Fixed navigation issues in quests
  • Chests and devices are now properly saved on the submarine
  • Players can't accidentally downgrade their drillship anymore
Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.