Sunless Sea and its expansion Zubmariner make for one of the best Lovecraft-inspired PC games ever, and still contains some of my favorite writing in recent memory. In Sunless Skies, Failbetter Games is taking it's creaky neo-Victorian ships to space, and this time, they're letting players give them a test drive through Early Access on Steam.
Released today, it'll cost you $25 ($22.50 until September 6) to get access to the Reach, a fairly small section of the map meant to represent what the final game will play like. In a Kickstarter update detailing what's in the Early Access launch build and what's still on the way, Failbetter Games state the reason for starting small was "so we could give players a small taste of what the final game will be like rather than a big taste of an emptier, less representational world."
As for what you can do in that small slice, according to the same post:
- Explore the Reach in your locomotive
- Use your bat to scout for nearby ports
- Dock at 11 ports available in the Reach
- Interact with stories
- Engage in combat with sky-beasts and other locomotives
- Experience Terror, Hunger, and Heat mechanics
Even if it's meant to represent how the final game plays, there's still a lot more to come, including character creation and progression, spectacles, discoveries, legacies, trade, and more. If it sounds like mumbo-jumbo, go play Sunless Sea or read the update for details.
If you're set on waiting until the official launch like I am, the estimated release window is currently May 2018. But as is the case with all games, that date can change as swiftly as the solar winds.