The good news first, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds will exit Steam’s Early Access program in four days on the 20th (or 21st depending on your time zone) of December. The 1.0 release will have the new desert map, Miramar, among many other changes.
The Xbox One version of Battlegrounds is also out on that platform’s Game Preview program for $30, which is similar to Steam’s Early Access, but word is that performance is miserable and the port is extremely buggy to start. That’s not unheard of for a game that isn’t finished yet, and it won’t have the new desert map or reach 1.0 this year, but Microsoft is making a big deal out of the release. It’s the first thing you see on the Xbox.com website.
Eurogamer’s Richard Leadbetter:
In terms of first impressions, PUBG is borderline horrendous – an assault of low quality artwork, jarring pop-in and disappointing performance. Input lag also feels off – whether that’s down to deadzone issues on the analogue sticks or the variable frame-rate remains to be seen (it’s something we’re looking into) and in this respect at least, it’s the same story whether you’re gaming on a standard Xbox or the X.
This is one of the few exclusive games Microsoft has this year, and while supposedly the developers have been aided by Microsoft, it isn’t clear yet what is going on with this Xbox port. It’s worse than the original Windows version in Early Access.
Of course it’ll get better over time, but this could be worse than what most console players expect.
The extremely adorable Slime Rancher has exited out of Steam’s Early Access and is available on Steam for Windows, macOS, and Linux as well as on the Xbox One where it’s currently available for free to anyone who has the Xbox Live Gold subscription. Otherwise it’s $20, except for right now when it’s on sale for $13.39 on Steam.
According to Steam I’ve put in a little under 5 hours of collecting Slimes and their poop and I know that I’ve enjoyed my time with it prior to release, it’ll be fun to come back and see how it has changed.
Everyone loves games with a retro aesthetic. Even if that aesthetic isn’t very authentic, an older art style makes it possible for an indie game developer to communicate their gameplay ideas without spending all of their resources on art.
Many games choose a lo-fi art style for that reason, sometimes it’s pixely, Geneshift is another breed. Nik Nak Studios’ Ben Johnson instead chose to start developing Geneshift 8 years ago with an overhead perspective borrowed from Grand Theft Auto 2, before that series went third-person and open world.
Geneshift borrows a lot from GTA 2, the cars, the art style, and the perspective, but it also borrows from Diablo and other action-RPGs to have a single-player story alongside multiplayer. I haven’t been able to get into a game, but there appears to be a fairly large community of players on the game’s discord server.
I’ve put some time into the single player and it is clearly still early on, but it brings back some fondness for GTA2 and the game’s development is an inspiring story.
Geneshift is $10 and out now in Early Access for Windows and Linux.
Games with pieces in them similar to tetrominoes aren’t usually my thing. I like them stacked up at a similar height until they’re removed. Wacky tetrominoes that don’t clear lines or have wacky physics applied to them are even worse. You think you’re better than Alexey Pajitnov? Nah, keep trying.
Robots In The Wild, from Heatbox Games, is a kind of spin on Rampart’s strategy. Instead of overhead castle building, you’re playing the side-game. Building up structures out of tetrominoes to survive and fight back. Different combinations of tetrominoes turn into energy robots, or laser shooting robots, or lanterns for night missions, and so on. Keep the heart of your base alive for multiple nights and you’re on to the next planet with a new twist.
The whole intro sequence involves the menu talking. A talking menu. Like Talkie the Toaster but without the aggravation.
I’ve played a bit of it, and enjoyed what I’ve played so far, but not enough to give it a full review yet. It’s one of the few games that aren’t Tetris and uses those tetrominoes well.
Robots In The Wild is in Steam‘s Early Access program now for a tenner on Windows and macOS.
Developed by one human, House of the Dying Sun is a tactical space shooter in the spirit of Freespace 2 and Tie Fighter mixed with a bit of Warhammer 40k styled lore. I love killing traitors to the emperor!
It’s only available for Windows, currently, but does support the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift in addition to regular monitors. You can buy it directly from the developer’s Humble widget or on Steam. Either way it’s 2 bucks off until the 14th of June.