A bunch of us in the Keen and Graev Community Discord are really excited about ECO. We’ll be launching a server when it releases into Early Access on Steam.
Just a heads up, that’s in one week!
ECO is a game about community, survival — against both the elements and an incoming meteor — and social responsibility, or something.
What’s our hope and desire? Build a thriving civilization from nothing into something amazing.
ECO isn’t one of those “be all do all solo” games. You really can only specialize one way, and the skill points drive you towards picking one real profession. We’re starting to divvy up responsibilities and public roles for our server. Will you be a carpenter? A mason? A farmer? How will you contribute to society for good? Or …. bad?
We’re all hoping the game, despite its early access state, will be smooth and polished enough to provide the fundamentals of that core community experience. Definitely a good to keep you guys informed about if you won’t be joining us.
It’ll be $30 on Steam. Join us in Discord if interested!
Kingdom of Loot released into early access on Steam today. For only $6.74 I felt like I could abandon my “no more early access” rule. I was really, really looking forward to playing. Unfortunately, I really wish I hadn’t.
I don’t like to trash games. I know a lot of hard work goes into making them, bringing them to market, and supporting them. But I have to say Kingdom of Loot is pretty dang rough, even for early access.
Kingdom of Loot is a 2D modern 16-bit ARPG designed with the idea in mind that it wants to be a Diablo meets Secret of Mana. Unfortunately, it really lacks any coherent gameplay at all.
Starting with the controls, I think they’re broken. The use of a controller feels mandatory because of how all over the place the Keyboard/Mouse controls are, yet if you use a controller you’re still forced to use the K/M for some things. They feel delayed and wonky too like they don’t quite line up with the actions that happen in game.
Combat is abysmal from the start. Spam a single key in the early levels because you don’t have abilities yet, but it’s just whack-a-mole. And that one key is… spacebar to attack? Yeesh. I really hate the sounds of combat too. I had to turn them completely off so that my ears would stop bleeding.
Hitting monsters made no sense. I don’t know if it was a bug or what… but some monsters took no damage at all. I couldn’t even lower their HP. Others of the same level I killed in a few swings. I can’t make any sense of it either way.
The open-world / instanced locations idea of the overworld map is neat, but when you zone into the rooms it’s all the same every time. Mobs are just clustered in little groups and I feel as those the entire thing lacks purpose. It’s nothing more than a mob grinder.
The UI is pretty bad. The menus are access by moving your mouse to the side of the screen where they slide in. It’s tough to navigate since the cursor only works if you line it up with the options at just the right spot.
You can make the screen bigger with Shift+F, but this felt like a crummy scaling and not an actual full screen feature.
I love the graphics. I think they are charming. I think they are perfect for a pseudo-retro game and would happily welcome more games with these graphics.
I like how town is represented in side-scrolling vs. the isometric view.
The overworld idea works, but so far they’ve done nothing with it except for navigation. This may change later in the game.
The multiplayer aspect could be lots of fun.
Avoid it. I’m really saddened by just how bad it turned out. I might even do my first Steam refund. I don’t know. It was only $6.74, but at the same time I think it sends a message that I’m not okay with early access being this bad.
I only needed 35 minutes of play to form these conclusions, which is really quite sad. I’ll keep playing up until the point of being unable to refund the game. If I still feel the same, I’ll have to refund.
This episode rehashed a few topics from last week (hence the title) and touched upon the latest news surfacing about the Mini NES. Apparently Nintendo has decided to ship the last batch, stating the product was always intended to be temporary.
We chatted about the NES Mini's moddability as well. Graev brought up the Retropie which uses a Raspberry Pi to create a retro gaming system. Really cool.
The latest Nintendo Direct showed a lot for the 3DS, and a few decent titles for the Switch as well. Mario Kart comes out at the end of this month!
Graev shared his very brief and broad impressions of Persona 5 in response to a question from one of our listeners.
Keen is looking forward to trying Kingdom of Loot (impressions to come) and bemoans early access.
We round off the episode by talking about what's coming up in gaming.
I’m going to pick on Smed and Hero’s Song for a second. I don’t mean to be cruel, but these issues require the scrutiny.
Smed left (was kicked out) of SOE (or Daybreak, or whatever it is now) and started his own little studio (Pixelmage Games) to make games. The first game they worked on was Hero’s Song, an open world roguelike fantasy action RPG.
They tried Kickstarter, but cancelled after 1 week when it was obvious the game would not reach funding.
Then they proceeded to launch and Indiegogo campaign and seek funding that would be easier to grab quickly. It fell rather flat.
After a few months of development with not much more than hype, they went to their next stop: Steam early access. On November 7, Hero’s Song was on Steam and available for players to purchase for a whopping $20.
To the complete shock and dismay of those who purchased (I was not one of them), the game was far from complete. In fact, it was in a very rough state. A few patches came out, then Pixelmage went quiet on the updates.
Just 3 hours ago, Smed put the following on the Hero’s Song reddit:
Sorry for the lack of news or updates. To put it bluntly here part of being a startup means money is tight and funding is a major part of what we have to do as a startup. We’re working through some things and I appreciate your patience. Sorry for not being more transparent on this particular issue but the simple truth is sometimes there isn’t much that we can say. More info soon.
The Kickstarter failing was the first red flag. That should have been an indication to rethink your premise, marketing, and honestly the game you’re making entirely.
What irks me the most is that companies like this know they are going to fail. They know they won’t have the cash to properly finish the game, but they release it in “early access” on Steam in an effort to try and get enough cash to patch the game to the point where someone influential might say something nice about it to drive just a few more sales in order to keep the lights on. It doesn’t happen.
I feel that this behavior is akin to fraud.
The studios end up hemorrhaging what little talent they had to begin with — you know, because people like to know they’ll be able to feed their families when they suspect the next check won’t clear.
The whole early access and crowdfunded game movement wreaks of cash grabs and dishonesty. It’s exactly what the F2P movement was just a few years ago. I hope this too shall pass.
Portal Knights is awesome. It’s a sandbox RPG that reminds me a lot of Minecraft meets action RPG. The trailer will do a far better job than I come at showcasing the breadth of the game’s capabilities. Let’s watch and then I’ll fill you in on a bit of what we’ve experienced thus far.[su_youtube url=”https://youtu.be/yKInhAFkGGM” width=”700″]
Think Minecraft where you can break blocks. The “world” is broken up into fractured islands must be rebuilt with portal blocks. Traveling between them leads to different biomes with different monsters, items, resources, etc.
You can build bases/homes/whatever you want. There’s crafting for weapons, spells, armor, etc., too. Classes are Warrior, Mage, or Ranger with their own abilities and gear. Combat is real time but fairly simple.
So far Graev and I have reached level 5. We’re a couple of hours in and have established a little makeshift workshops/home in a level 3 world. We use that as our home and return after adventuring out through other portals. We gather up all our loot then come back to drop it off.
With the worlds each having different resources, we find ourselves bouncing around to gather up enough copper ore and coal. Certain monsters are only on certain worlds too so things like Scales (which are used in lots of weapons we can currently craft) become a hot commodity.
I’m taking some video that I’ll highlight for you guys. Graev and I are really having a lot of fun playing — it’s up to 4-player co-op Local or steam friends.
Portal Knights is available on Steam in early access. They are patching the game fairly often, including adding controller support and soon larger worlds. Totally worth the $14.99 I paid and really shining as a sleeper hit for me. I’m really looking forward to the bigger worlds and upcoming patches.