I'm an explorer at heart. I derive a vast amount of pleasure from wandering around game-spaces, experimenting with mechanics, and generally seeing what trouble I can get into and hopefully get out of. Some of my fondest memories of being a digital explorer come from the should-have-been-revolutionary Outcast, a '90s PC title that sees the protagonist stranded on a bizarre alien world.
Now I can relive some of the wonder I experienced in that classic in a new voxel-based sandbox title, Planet Explorers. It's still in alpha right now, and recently got a Kickstarter campaign. Developer Pathea Games is asking for $100,000 so that it can complete its colony builer/exploration adventure.
I've been messing about in the alpha for a wee while now, and while it's still very rough around the edges, I've been loving every minute of it. The story mode sees a human colonization attempt end in disaster, and the survivors find themselves trapped on an inhospitable alien world with limited resources. There are RPG elements with quests and rewards, but its hook is the vibrant planet ripe for exploration and adventure.
Players can construct a colony, create a farming community, work on perimeter defenses to ensure that the colonists are protected from the increasingly dangerous alien threats, or they can just strike out on their own and see what the world has to offer. The story mode has an actual ending, so there are set goals and a mystery to uncover.
The crafting system is extremely robust, with all manner of tools and weapons available, from primitive things like spades and wooden swords, to science-fiction gear and customizable firearms. Eventually, with appropriate blueprints and resources, survivors will be able to make their own vehicles, traveling around by land, sea, or air -- there are even mechs.
While players will be able to enjoy the various modes -- including an adventure mode with a procedurally generated planet -- on their own in single-player, there are also a variety of multiplayer options being developed. Some of these multiplayer modes will mimic the single-player ones, but there will also be versus battles and tower defense.
Planet Explorers is pretty much my dream game, and even at this early stage I find it extremely hard to put down. If you want to check out the alpha, it's currently free, and you can download it here.
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4:00 PM on 09.16.2014