The very nature of Steam's Early Access program means that the titles available are often broken in some ways: missing features, certain aspects not fully implemented, bugs that would be unacceptable in a "finished" product proudly on display for all to see.
But even with this expectation, there's a certain baseline level of quality that's expected from Early Access titles. The game should at least be playable and should preferably not cause your system to catch fire and explode. Bugs should not break the fundamental experience of the game, and there should be enough things for players to do to justify the price tag.
While Earth: Year 2066 may not have set players' systems on fire -- so far as we know, anyway -- the rest of the experience was not a pleasant affair, offering a tiny, drab world map populated with enemies that appear to spawn from nowhere, a lack of anything to do except shoot said enemies and an overall lack of basic quality control that saw game critic Jim Sterling inexplicably catapulted out of the map during combat during his Let's Play video:
An organized campaign on Reddit sought to get the game removed from sale, believing it to be a "scam" -- and not the first time that the developer had attempted one. Accusations in the thread -- many of which were backed up with screencapped evidence -- included the developer editing negative comments in the forums to positive ones; the use of friends or alts to pad out the positive reviews; stolen artwork and photography; and, perhaps most interestingly, proof that the whole thing had clearly been thrown together in a matter of minutes -- the thread claims one Steam user managed to knock up almost the exact same game in an hour using popular game engine Unity and its stock assets.
Valve responded to the widespread complaints and reporting of the game with a post on the game's official community page.
"On Steam, developers make their own decisions about promotion, features, pricing and publication," said Valve's representative Chris Douglass. "However, Steam does require honesty from developers in the marketing of their games. We have removed Earth: Year 2066 from Early Access on Steam. Customers who purchased the game will be able to get a refund on the store page until Monday May 19th."
Earth: Year 2066 is no longer available for purchase, but its store page is still up for those who wish to claim a refund -- or those who just want to take a look out of morbid curiosity. Check it out here.