Those who know me IRL (or those who have read some of my other reviews) know that I am a harsh critic and extremely hard to please. The next thing you should know is that I hate ‘shoot’em ups’ and other mindless button mashers. I’m a cerebral person and very much a cerebral/strategy gamer. Now with introductions out of the way. THIS GAME IS FLIPPING AMAZING!!!
Before anything else, I want to say that THE VIDEO IS VERY MISLEADING! it is NOT the action-oriented, gore-feasting, finger-dancing, war game that it looks like. Its much better.
Lets start with the bad things I can say about the game. (Just for those like me who want to know ‘whats wrong’ with it.)
== First of all, this game was NOT built for graphics, which doesn’t bother me in any two shakes. The characters, or ‘Pawns’ actually look like baseless pawns with no limbs. This is the case for just about every creature in the game.
== Second, this game uses an internal Monitored & Algorithmic RNG to determine what happens in the world. Again this isn’t a flaw, its a design choice and one that I fully support because it makes EVERY GAME a new experience and a brand new story. The problem is that every now and again, things will go wrong (which they are suppose to) … but they can go wrong after going wrong and sometimes you have no control over the situation. For instance one of my gardeners (my only gardener who had any skill or interest in such things at all) had a drop-pod come flying down and landed on his head… it crushed his skull. (lmao) I was NOT laughing then but its hilarious now. The game did not do it vindictively, it was completely random and the pod happened to land right where he was working.
Now on with the good… strap yourself in.
= This game is very true to its design. It’s more than a game, it’s a ‘Story Generator’ and it holds up to that title. As such, you can continue to play the game 100+ times and never have the same experience if you let yourself explore the options and the possible flaws of humanity.
= Humanity. I’ve never seen a game emulate the human factor so well (just my opinion) while simultaneously being a balanced and prominent factor to the game as a whole. Not everyone is amazing. Some people WILL suck, but some people WILL have ties to those others and so on. Min/Maxing in this game is not only going to hurt you in the interim but you are just denying yourself the chance to watch a story play out. Ever read a book where the heroes are perfect and they have no growth as characters? You ARE in control… mostly.
= MODS. I have never seen a developer be quite this friendly to his mod community. He fully endorses and urges you to mod your game to all unholy hell. There are so many mods I don’t even know where to begin, zombies, high-fantasy, dinosaurs, weapons, gear, further psychology, deeper tactics, pregnancy and child rearing, very QoL improvements [5 HOURS OF READING – REDACTED], different ‘story tellers’ (algorithms for the event RNG) and many many more. And he makes it SO easy to do, right through Steam.
= There IS an ending… and there’s simultaneously NO ending. I’ll give you a second to swallow that… … You can win, by getting your colonists off the planet, but the story will continue afterwards if you let it. You can lose and have all of your colonists die in a freak forest fire while trying to save your injured pet rhino (who you love using as a meat shield) and your colony leader who lost his left leg and right index finger in a battle with rampaging animals after your tamer off the whole herd of them and your beloved doctor has lost his damn mind because he’s in his 70’s now and his brain likes to do that some times and well F***… =D … but the game will continue… when the smoke clears the RNG will find a way to move the story forward again. It’s very well done. (pun not intended but gleefully accepted)
= Building is extremely easy, very important and best of all LOADS of fun to plan out and do. Collecting materials takes time, as does eating… and cooking… and sleeping… and drinking… and answering that radio call for help. Wait… we STILL don’t have a place built to store our food? Cr*p!
= Maintenance. Your gear and everything else will eventually wear down… and suck… and finally cease existing in any recognizable fashion. Building new gear or (with a mod) getting it repaired will take time and resources. Your colonists have their own needs, which may or may not conflict with the needs of the moment or your own designs/time table. And Eddy just started a freeking fire in the workshop because he’s a little twisted in the head. Ben decided to lock the door for kicks to teach him a lesson. Wait, I’m getting off track again… this is going to take some reworking/rethinking.
= Environmental Conditions. This game keeps amazing track of the environment of your colony. Each room, each hallway and what the average temperature is; the soil quality, the season, the weight tolerance, the walkability%, the cover%, the puke under our kitchen stove (STOP eating the meat before the cook COOKS it. Thats why your sick! – Thats it – NEW food policy!)
= Colony Control. You can actually program in when, how, where and why certain tasks are done (right down to when and what someone is allowed to eat.) Gary, I just KNOW i put you on the ‘No Booze’ list, why are you drinking? Youre liver already has problems. Yeah; its down to 22% now… are your trying to kill yourself?
= Details. The fun is in the details. every scratch, every scar, and point of skill is calculated in how well a colonist can actually DO anything. The best part is, those functions and formulas are all THERE in the game for you to enjoy and sink your geeky mind into.
I was bored to tears before I bought this game. Me and my wife play this game constantly, sometimes together and other times solo. I have never gotten bored with it and even on the rare occasion that I feel a bit burnt out on it after an 8 week binge of 10+ hours a day, I end up seeing a new Mod that re-spices the whole d*** thing again.
* Not a graphics game
* perfect replay-ability
* Loaded with details
* Very concept-heavy
* Excellent control and execution
* Extremely Mod friendly (recently had an update to make it even MORE Mod friendly)
* Unpredictably fun
* … worth every dime.
To the Dev, this bard sings your praises!