When I was a kid, there was a magic about trying new games that I believe has been lost over the years; not because I’ve gotten older, just simply because we know too much. With all this Facebook-twitstagramming, it’s nearly impossible for games to maintain any air of mystery. Hell, it seems that before a game even comes out, the gameplay has been torn apart by critics.
As I was perusing the shelves of Easy Video in 1998, I didn’t have any preconceived notions or biases towards any of the games in front of me. Before a game was released, I hadn’t seen anyone play it. There was always this excitement about the discovery… and that’s just how I feel about Early Access Games on Steam.
It’s an exciting and magical journey through game development— one that keeps me coming back for more. Here’s my list of five Early Access games on steam worth purchasing. Want to see some gameplay? Skip to the end and watch the video instead!
When we think about Early Access games, we often think of games that are unfinished or horribly broken. Although not terribly broken, Stranded Deep is probably the most glitchy game on this list. However, that didn’t stop it from completely sweeping me away from reality. This first-person survival game begins after your private jet has crashed in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. You awake alone on a raft in a conclave of islands, putting you directly in the shoes of Tom Hanks in Castaway. To survive, you must reap the islands for what they’re worth and make the most of the resources at your disposal. No need for Wilson here. With an endless number of islands to explore, and an ocean filled with sunken ships and dangerous sea life, you’d be surprised just how excited getting stranded can be.
1st glitch encountered: Got stuck in a ship even though there was a clear port to get out and was forced to alter the save file to reset my location to the island. On another one of my streams a whale swam right through my island, destroyed the hut I built, and got stuck there... so we named him Wilson and kept him as a pet.
Don't Starve Together
It seems like every time I check the new releases tab on Steam, there’s another survival/horror-type game available. Don’t Starve and its expansion, Don’t Starve Together, are a refreshing and pleasantly strange spin on the nearly over-saturated genre. The 2d survival co-op basically screams Tim Burton, with a touch of Courage the Cowardly Dog.
There’s a cast of several oddly unique and quirky characters to choose — like the manic young girl with a lighter she can’t keep in check to the strongman with a fancy mustache and an insatiable appetite. The animals and monsters are just as appealing. Between the Beefalo, the Gobblers, the smallbirds, and the tallbirds, it almost feels like you’re traversing a twisted Dr. Seuss storybook.
Resources in the game must be maintained and thought out, and there are crafting elements too. If you spend too much time looking for berries and run out of wood, you might just die to whatever monsters lurk in the darkness.
Darkest Dungeon is a grueling hybrid genre game that blends elements of roguelikes and dungeon crawlers with the battle system of a turn-based RPG. This game is not for the faint of heart, and can only thoroughly be appreciated by a true masochist. Stress management is a big part of the mechanics in the game, which is funny considering how much stress will be inflicted upon you in a boss fight. Speaking of boss battles, don’t think you’ll escape with your party unscathed. You are likely to die early, and then die again. Persevere and the victory will be sweet, but the tears will be salty.
Let me tell you about the flying death machine I created in Besiege. It’s essentially an airborne boom-cube with several rows of bombs built inside of it and multiple propellors on top. I keep it a little lighter in the back and slightly heavier in the front so it flies towards whatever doomed structure lies in front of it— then BOOM! That, my friends, is Besiege in a nutshell. It’s a construction based game about the art of destruction. You build gigantic flying war machines and armored vehicles laden with blades and saws to pillage villages and and cut through waves of tiny soliders and herds of sheep— cute little sheep that pop like blood-filled balloons upon impact. The only problem I encountered with Besiege is it sometimes has trouble rendering very large or complicated designs. Aside from that, it’s a hysterical good time and solidly worth $6.99, which happens to be cheaper than my lunch today.
Before I give you any details about the gameplay here, it should be know that in January 2015 this Early Access game surpassed 3 million copies sold. That’s more than so many fully finished game make in a lifetime. How does an Early Access game riddled with hackers and an unfinished map accomplish this? BECAUSE IT’S AWESOME. Was that too simple? Well it’s fact.
Mod-turned-game, DayZ is an MMO open world survival horror game set in Eastern Europe where most of the population has been turned into dangerous zombies. Honestly, zombies are the least of your problems. It’s the players you have to worry about. Among the many stressful PvP encounters you will have, bandits (players that kills other players to loot them) are among the worst. Beginners tips: stay off the roads, stay out of PvP zones, and if you hear gunshots … just run away because you’re probably not prepared to handle whatever is going on.