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Steam Early Access

Prison Architect photo
Prison Architect

Prison Architect is going to full release this October


And you've got TIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIME
Jul 31
// Joe Parlock
Prison Architect is bloody brilliant, and it isn’t even done yet. It’s a Tycoon-style management sim with a firmly tongue-in-cheek sense of humour, and it’s been in early access for almost three whole years...
Armello photo
Armello

Armello's got two new characters, ready for full release on September 1


Fur-nal Fant-fur-sy Tactics
Jul 29
// Joe Parlock
Armello, a game that Dale North described as “Magic the Gathering meets Final Fantasy Tactics”, is finally graduating from Early Access on September 1 in all its Redwall-esque glory. Along with the news of the fin...
Steam photo
Steam

I miss Monkey Ball, so I'll probably play Polyball


Watch the trailer
Jul 27
// Jordan Devore
I miss Super Monkey Ball so much. Granted, I still have my copy, and I'm into Monkey Target now more than ever, but a proper new console game would also be nice, y'know? If it ended up being junk, I could always just return t...
Energy Hook photo
Energy Hook

Grappling hook Tony Hawk-like Energy Hook coming to early access on August 13


I'm the king of the swingers oooh
Jul 27
// Joe Parlock
I love grappling hooks. I don’t need a roof over my head, or a warm meal, or a loving boyfriend with whom I feel I can tell anything; all I need in life to be happy is a sick-as-fuck grappling hook, a big city, and a d...
Zombie Playground photo
Zombie Playground

Zombie Playground shambling onto Early Access July 28


It's back from the dark depths of 2013
Jul 23
// Joe Parlock
Back in the foggy past of early 2013, a game called Zombie Playground hit Kickstarter. Being inspired by a popular piece of art by Jason Chan (as seen above and also here), the game promised to feature kids caught up in the z...
Steam Early Access photo
Steam Early Access

Remember Pang? The Bug Butcher sure does


Calling all Buster Bros.
Jul 20
// Jordan Devore
Capcom's good old bubble-popping shooter Super Buster Bros. (Super Pang outside of America) lives on as the inspiration for The Bug Butcher, a newly-released game on Steam Early Access. As the butcher, you'll avoid attacks an...
Subnautica photo
Subnautica

Writer Tom Jubert (FTL, Binary Domain) to write the story for Subnautica


Just do Help! I'm A Fish!: The Game
Jul 16
// Joe Parlock
Despite a little bit of wee coming out whenever I get too deep, I really do like Unknown Worlds’ early access survival game Subnautica. Until now, the development team have been debating over how exactly they'll ha...
Broforce Update photo
Broforce Update

Broforce Freedom Update adds pointy objects, flexing


That's a sharp helmet
Jul 02
// Nic Rowen
Just in time for Independence Day, the testosterone soaked, uber-patriotic Broforce is getting a synthoil injection of content by way of its “Freedom Update.” Featuring two new bros to mangle commies and protect ...
Bombernauts photo
Bombernauts

Bombernauts makes me miss Bomberman


Baseball bats and bombs
Jul 01
// Jordan Devore
I probably can't take the day off to play Super Bomberman 2, so I'll pass along word of Bombernauts instead. It's almost ready for us. Ahead of the game's July 31 release on Steam, here's a refresher. Bombernauts is about bo...
Early axis photo
Early axis

Nintendo considering its own early access system


Early axis
Jun 29
// Steven Hansen
Early Access. Everyone's doing it. Microsoft just announced the Xbox Game Preview at E3. Nintendo's Damon Baker told Polygon, "We don't have anything to announce, but I can say that we're certainly exploring options and capab...
Windborne photo
Windborne

Hidden Path ceases development on early access game Windborne


You get some free stuff as an apology
Jun 18
// Joe Parlock
Hidden Path has announced via its Steam Community Page that it will be ceasing development and shutting down its 'social sandbox game' Windborne, which has been in early access since early 2014: “We’ve been tryin...
Early Access photo
Early Access

Xbox One Game Preview lets you play games still in development


Early Access
Jun 15
// Steven Hansen
Xbox One will allow you to "buy and play a selection games while they're still in active development" with a system similar to Steam's Early Access. Unlike Steam, Microsoft mandates each game on the service has a free trial s...
Ark Live Stream photo
Ark Live Stream

Come hunt some dinosaur strange with me in ARK: Survival Evolved


LIVE on the Internet
Jun 08
// Jed Whitaker
[Update: You missed the stream! Turns out ARK is really just about taking poops in other people's huts.] You know me, Dr. Dinosexual, I love a hot prehistoric lizard from time to time, and this is one of those times. Com...
BIOS photo
BIOS

Who put racing in my FPS?


These guys did!
Jun 05
// Vikki Blake
Former Far Cry 2 developers Julien Cuny & Louis-Pierre Pharand have formed a new studio to release their new take on first-person shooters... by adding racing into the mix. The Montreal-based developers describe the...
Don't Starve multiplayer photo
Don't Starve multiplayer

Check your library for a free copy of Don't Starve Together


Assuming you own the original PC game
Jun 03
// Jordan Devore
With more people comes more mouths to feed, but I think I'll take that responsibility over crushing loneliness in Don't Starve. A paid, work-in-progress version of the standalone multiplayer expansion, Don't Starve Together, ...
Killing Floor 2 photo
Killing Floor 2

Killing Floor 2 teases gameplay changes and new weapon


Barbecue some Zeds
Jun 03
// Zack Furniss
Despite being in Early Access, Killing Floor 2 has been the multiplayer title I've returned to any time I get a chance. While everyone is alternating between kids and squids and skids and quids, I've been dissecting Zeds...
The Forest photo
The Forest

The Forest's latest update has sleepy mutant cannibals


Mutant needs its blanky?
Jun 03
// Joe Parlock
The Forest is a game where you’ll wear armour made out of lizards you’ve beaten to death while friendly cannibals leave piles of dead rabbits in your camp because they think you might be hungry. It&rsquo...
LEGO Worlds photo
LEGO Worlds

LEGO's answer to Minecraft is here


(On, ugh, Steam Early Access)
Jun 01
// Jordan Devore
Warner Bros. and TT Games have launched LEGO Worlds -- an open-ended building game with procedurally-generated worlds, rideable creatures, and vehicles -- on Steam Early Access today for $14.99. It's expected to remain there ...
Midora photo
Midora

Midora will have a pretty hefty Early Access build


Five areas available
Jun 01
// Chris Carter
Midora looks pretty amazing -- and it's not just because it looks a bit like Minish Cap. Developer Epic Minds is chugging along with development, and it looks like it will hit Early Access in the near future. When it doe...
Darkest Dungeon update photo
Darkest Dungeon update

Darkest Dungeon update adds two new characters, fresh terror


So good I almost had a heart attack
May 29
// Nic Rowen
Darkest Dungeon is my jam. I've been playing the hell out of the early access build and while I've had an absolute blast, I was reaching the bottom of the barrel in terms of current content. So it should come as no surprise t...
Dirty Bomb photo
Dirty Bomb

Dirty Bomb is hitting open beta on June 2


It's not quite Brink, but it could be
May 28
// Joe Parlock
I’ve mentioned this on Destructoid before, but I’ll be damned if I’m missing the chance to mention it again: Brink was a great game, people were wrong about it being bad. I bring that up, because Brink devel...
Shooters photo
Shooters

Assault Android Cactus looks like the next solid twin-stick shooter


And there's co-op!
May 27
// Jordan Devore
Assault Android Cactus? Didn't that come out ages ago? No, that was merely the initial Steam Early Access build. Some of us -- myself included, now that I've seen this latest trailer -- are waiting for the finished release t...
Killing Floor 2 photo
Killing Floor 2

Killing Floor 2's latest map is in... Switzerland?


No neutrality here, mate
May 27
// Joe Parlock
Early Access gore-'em-up Killing Floor 2 has received its latest update, adding the new Volter Manor map to the roster. Set on a cliff in Switzerland, Volter Manor really does look like something you’d find in an A...
DiRT Rally photo
DiRT Rally

You can fly off Pikes Peak in DiRT Rally


Ignore the signs
May 26
// Jordan Devore
The new DiRT game is coming together piece by piece, and today's morsel has me reminiscing about a certain scenic climb in Colorado. Today's update for DiRT Rally is a big one, and centers on Pikes Peak (both its "full fat m...
Lethal Tactics on Steam photo
Lethal Tactics on Steam

Lethal Tactics brings its intelligent gameplay to Early Access


Like Frozen Synapse, but with graphics
May 25
// Patrick Hancock
Lethal Tactics has recently popped up onto Steam's Early Access program and will immediately look familiar to anyone who has played the brilliant Frozen Synapse. The gameplay is, at its core, the same: click to assign o...
Moonrise photo
Moonrise

Moonrise is like a real-time Pokémon, and is coming to Early Access


Remember Spectrobes? Me neither
May 22
// Joe Parlock
I really don’t think Undead Labs was thinking too far past State of Decay when coming up with iys team name. Especially now its latest game, Moonrise, is absolutely nothing like it, and there’s not a zombie in si...
Windward release photo
Windward release

High seas loot RPG Windward is out today


ArrrrrrPG
May 12
// Darren Nakamura
I'm not sure why, but there was a deluge of games out today. The big story was obviously for the Witcher, which doesn't release for another week, but there was also Color Guardians, Lost Orbit, and Action Henk on the docket....

Review: Vertiginous Golf

May 06 // Brett Makedonski
Vertiginous Golf (PC)Developers: Kinelco, Lone Elk CreativePublisher: Surprise Attack GamesReleased: May 6, 2015Price: $14.99  It'd be short-sighted to say that the developers' intent for Vertiginous Golf isn't worthy of a modest golf clap. There's no question that it would have been perfectly appropriate for them to design some wacky obstacles, slap on some ground-based golf physics, and call it a day. Instead, they opted to invent sprawling, labyrinth-like holes, and take an earnest stab at crafting a story about oppressive industrial-era society. Heady stuff, to be sure. Unfortunately, neither works as well as one may hope. When Vertiginous Golf first transplants the player from dingy street-side shop to above-the-clouds links, it's a sight to behold. It's almost as if BioShock Infinite had a mini-game smack dab in the middle of it (the classist undertones parallel holds up, too). The holes look complex, almost with a Rube Goldberg-ian quality about them -- except different parts aren't dependent upon one another in any way; they just present several unique challenges all within one hole. In the early going -- when the game is teaching the player the ropes -- this works fantastically. Lengthy as the holes may be, they're never too excessive in scope. It's always apparent where the cup is, and what potential routes there are to get there. That doesn't last long. [embed]291071:58441:0[/embed] Once Vertiginous Golf  has the player comfortable with the mechanics, it quickly broadens everything so that nothing is digestible. From the tee box, the player is met with a mess of obstacles, all of it just as dense vertically as it is horizontally. Walls often obscure any long-range view, so it's nigh impossible to go into the hole with a game plan. Just hit the ball with some degree of power and pray for the best. The developers obviously foresaw this as a potential problem and added a feature to help mitigate it. Always accompanying the floating golf club is a metallic hummingbird which can be controlled to fly around the course and get the lay of the land. However, it's mostly rendered useless as so much movement can happen on any given shot that it's often still impossible to predict where the ball may go. That isn't the only concession that Vertiginous Golf's creators made. There's also a rewind function (effectively a mulligan) which can be used sparingly in the likely event of an ill-advised shot. Drawing from the same pool of resources is the ability to guide the ball ever-so-slightly in any given direction. If that weren't enough to frustrate mini-golf purists, there's also a pitching wedge that's available almost all the time. Often times, the best way to traverse Vertiginous Golf's unforgiving terrain is to simply bypass it all through the air. Aim for a spot, hope you picked an apt shot power, and don't worry about all the randomness that comes with the ground obstacles. While effective, implementing this strategy feels a bit like missing the point. However, the wedge can't be used to completely game Vertiginous Golf. The latter part of most holes are in a sort of walled-off container where using the club is banned. Not coincidentally, this is also where the game is at its very worst. Whenever near the walls of these areas (a frequent occurrence), the camera will line up outside the structure, forcing a putt toward the hole with an obscured view. It's barely manageable if there's a straight shot; in the event that there are moving obstacles or a raised cup, resign yourself to taking even more strokes. As the golf portion of Vertiginous Golf is lacking in execution, the story similarly comes up short. In fact, it's actually detrimental to the golfing experience. There's a narrative about a raging class war in a dystopian society, and -- well, it's all very difficult to follow. That's because the plot is only told through audio logs, which are mandatory checkpoints on the golf course. Once these are hit, the talking begins. This falters because each audio log consists of approximately 30 seconds of overwhelming dialogue. To fully take it in means to put down the controller and listen. Given that there are usually four on any given hole, that's a lot of listening and not a lot of playing. This is at direct odds with the action-oriented golf. The narrative and gameplay are so dissonant from one another that it's nearly impossible to enjoy both at the same time. Really, it's the developers' ambition that weighs down Vertiginous Golf. They took a simple, beloved concept and tried doing too much with it. As a result, the course design is rarely rewarding and the elaborate story is poorly presented. No matter how far above the clouds this game is, it landed in the rough.
Vertiginous Golf review photo
'Golf,' and other four-letter words
Golf has a centuries-old reputation as being a maddening game. It's simple in premise, but that simplicity is always lost in transition from theory to execution. "Put tiny white ball in tiny cup" sounds easy enough, but after...

Black Mesa Early Access photo
Black Mesa Early Access

Half-Life remake Black Mesa now on Steam Early Access


Finally, a way to pay for a mod
May 05
// Patrick Hancock
Black Mesa, the loving recreation of the original Half-Life, has just entered Steam's Early Access program with a price point of $19.99. There had been a countdown on the website leading up to today, and many speculated that ...

Space Beast Terror Fright is still my favorite Aliens game

May 04 // Rob Morrow
[embed]291473:58423:0[/embed] It's a nicely balanced starting point and does a very good job at maintaining a creeping sense of uncertainty each time you board a ship, while ensuring you have enough tools to stay alive for the time being. Battery life, motion tracker capability, and ammo count appear to be constants at the beginning of each run; however, the one inconstant I've noticed is the required number of DataCores you'll be tasked with finding and downloading. The required number changes for most every new run -- sometimes the number is as few as six, at other times it can be as many as 20 or more. At the beginning of each run you'll leave the security of the ship's airlock and enter into the infested vessel. You'd do well to stay on your toes from the very outset in SBTF, as you never know when or where the first wave of bloodthirsty killing machines is going to spawn. I've had rare experiences where I was blindsided within a few moments of exiting the airlock and I've also played through sessions where I didn't get my first contact until several minutes into a run. In some instances the alien spawns feel triggered by the player's proximity, in others, they give the impression that they may be set to occur after a certain amount of time has passed. As such, the spawn points and spawn times feel strikingly unpredictable, which helps a great deal to ensure that every run feels different from your last. I've mentioned the basic tools the game starts you off with, but one of the most useful assets in increasing the odds of your survival is the ship itself. Its numerous hatches can be sealed off strategically to prevent attacks from the sides and the rear, as well as to create multiple layers of security by locking down several hatches in a corridor; however, it should be specified, these are only temporary lines of defense. Once the hoard begins attacking your hatches you'll need to start planning your escape route as the aliens will quickly cut through the barriers. Alongside the sealable hatches, the ship also features powerful, AI-controlled turrets, which can be found scattered throughout the map. Once activated, these can be incredibly helpful allies in a firefight as well as competent sentries that will stand watch over sections of the map. As touched upon earlier, the central mechanic to progression in each run is the collection of the downloadable DataCores that are randomly spread throughout the floor of the ship. These serve two purposes. The most obvious is that they provide a framework for measuring your progression in the level and the second is that they are the means with which you'll be adding vital upgrades to your suit and equipment. The rewards for downloading DataCores are selected at random. You could luck out on your first download and pick up a helpful map that displays the layout of the floor you're exploring or you could get something relatively minor, like a slight increase to your light's battery. However, if you're really fortunate, you might get one of the most helpful upgrades you can have early in a run, the DataCore Pathfinder. Even without a map, this powerful upgrade is incredibly helpful for efficiently directing you to the nearest DataCore and is much better than the primitive positioning technology you start out with. Even if you don't get one of the better drops at the beginning of a run, more often than not, you'll get something fairly useful when downloading a DataCore. Whether it's a marginal but useful boost to battery life, an increase to the rifle's ammo carrying capacity, or an incremental upgrade to the suit's download speed, something usually drops to maintain the feeling that the character's abilities are improving. As you explore the ship and begin collecting the required DataCores, your HUD will alert you when breaches are detected and when sealed-off doors are compromised. While the information won't give you an exact fix on where your foes are located, it is a very helpful early warning that trouble's not far away. Your basic motion detector can also help out when enemies get close to your position. While the stock version of the detector won't show the aliens' precise location, it will tell you roughly how many meters away from you they are; so, by checking each of your possible exit points against that information you can make an educated guess which doorway might be your best bet for escape. The most beneficial upgrade to have in these stressful situations is the one for your motion tracker. If you happen to have that installed, enemy movement will be displayed on the map as pulsing white blotches, giving you a very good idea on where they are, where they're going, and where you should be moving next to avoid them. Once you've collected all the necessary DataCores, your positioning system will switch over from locating them and begin guiding you to the ship's reactor. Hopefully by this point you've acquired a good deal of the game's more helpful upgrades, because getting the reactor shut down and making your escape can be the most difficult part of the run and every little advantage you acquired up until this point will be needed. After locating the vessel's reactor, you'll need to activate a switch so that the protective walls surrounding it will begin to rise, exposing the four control panels necessary for disabling the system. At this point in a run, things usually start to get dicey. While you're preoccupied with deactivating the panels, this gives the space beasts that have spawned throughout the ship ample time to make their way to you, so be prepared to hold your position and keep the panels deactivating. If you move away from one for even a moment, you'll have to start the process all over again. If you've survived long enough to deactivate the four control panels, the ship will start an anxiety-inducing countdown timer letting you know how many seconds you have left to shoot your way through the hoards as you race back across the ship to the airlock. It's an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride of a finale and feels tremendously satisfying once you finally make it to the extraction point alive. The Early Access build of Space Beast Terror Fright is everything I loved about the original demo and much, much more. Since coming to Steam the game now sports local 1-4 player local co-op (online is currently in the works!), new level styles, adjustable muzzle flare brightness, and a slightly less ball-crushing game mode to ease in the newer players. Space Beast Terror Fright is priced at $14.99 and is available for PC.
Space Beast Terror Fright photo
I got 99 problems but a breach ain't one
[Disclosure: The developers put my name in Space Beast Terror Fright's random name generator along with a bunch of other people who showed interest in the game early on. As always, no relationships, personal or professional, ...


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