Remember the "god game" genre? Originally popularized by Peter Molyneux with his Populous series back in the '90s, it's a type of game we don't see a lot of these days.
Well, until now, of course; in just the last year we've seen Molyneux himself return to the genre he helped create -- with mixed results -- but he's not the only one. No, one Simon Roth, an independent developer who previously worked on Kinectimals, The Outsider and Terry Cavanagh's retro puzzle-platfomer VVVVVV, has been beavering away on his own project Maia for a while now -- and it's finally ready to show itself to the world through Steam's Early Access program.
Maia was crowdfunded through a Kickstarter last year to the tune of £140,481 (about $230,000) and has been in development since. It's an explicit attempt to modernize the '90s-style god game genre, with particular influences being drawn from another Molyneux classic -- Dungeon Keeper -- and the bewildering Dwarf Fortress. It attracted a lot of positive attention from press, public and developers alike during its crowdfunding campaign, but we haven't heard much from it recently. That should change from today, though.
Maia makes use of a '70s-style sci-fi aesthetic, and includes deep and complex simulations of all the elements in the game world. You're tasked with managing a new colony on an alien planet, keeping your colonists safe, fed and happy. You'll eventually be able to play the game in several ways: as a sandbox-style game in which you simply attempt to survive and make your colony as self-sufficient as possible; as a scenario-based game in which you complete various challenges; and as a story-based campaign, in which you work your way through a series of missions with a common narrative thread.
We'll have a full preview of Maia once we've had a chance to sit down and have a good go with it, but in the meantime you can pick up a copy right now via Steam. This means that not all the game features will be present or bug-free from launch, but it will let you go hands-on with the game and rediscover the joy of making little computer people happy... or very, very miserable.