Planet Explorers (Pathea Games)
It is not every day that an Early Access title comes along packing so many features that there is barely enough space to mention, let alone describe, everything in a short preview. Planet Explorers is exactly such a game and to say that we were impressed with what it has to offer would be an understatement.
The developers describe the game as an open world sandbox adventure RPG which is pretty accurate. The single player portion of the game is split into three types, Story Mode, Adventure Mode and Build Mode, each of which can suck you in for hours. In story mode, you play as a survivor of an Earth colony ship that crashes on a planet in the Epsilon Indi system. The other survivors are scattered across the alien planet and you have to explore, gather resources, fight hostile creatures and craft tools while uncovering the story. Despite the fact that the game is still in Early Access, the story mode alone already stretches across twenty odd hours.
Adventure Mode places you on a procedural map generated from a seed and tasks you with surviving the environment. You can do random missions, explore and fight bosses without the story holding you back. Build Mode, on the other hand has no enemies, but gives you infinite resources with which to build whatever you like. Considering the in-depth Creations Editor featured in the game the possibilities for crafting items are near endless.
Planet Explorers use an OpenCL calculated voxel system, which not only looks stunning, but allows you to craft all manner of items. The landscapes look beautiful and Pathea Games clearly spent a lot of time on crafting unique alien creatures as well. Currently there is about 70 different creatures roaming the landscape, ranging from the tiny to the enormous, and more than 30 are still planned. The currency used in the game is meat so be prepared to do your fair share of critter killing if you plan on becoming wealthy.
One of the many highlights of the game is the Creations Editor which allows you to craft anything from swords and guns to full blown vehicles. It looks a little daunting at first, but with some practice you can create some really awesome stuff. We will save an in-depth look at the Creations Editor for a full review, but suffice to say it is very impressive and very addictive. It is easy to just go crazy with the Build Mode and come up with all kinds of designs.
Planet Explorers is a huge game with many possibilities and even this Early Access version is a joy to play. The developers have some very exciting things planned, such as finishing the story (yes the story mode will have an end) adding a story editor, implementing a pet system and even adding missions to the moons! More objects are also planned for the Creation Editor and we are salivating over the prospect of creating boats, mechs and armor.
There is no doubt that Planet Explorers is an ambitious title, but from what we have experienced so far it looks like Pathea Games knows what they are doing. Main updates are spaced about a month apart due to the nature of the game, but comes with a lot of new content. If you are looking for an Early Access title that will more than likely keep you hooked until the full release and far beyond then try out Planet Explorers. A rather generous demo is available from the official website which will give you a good taste of what the game has to offer.