Astroneer | System Era | website | steam | twitter
Let’s be honest: saying that Astroneer is going to be huge is unnecessary. The game has attracted a large audience already, and there is no doubt is going to be a commercial success. Incidentally, this ambitious indie title effortlessly delivers most of features that are missing from No Man’s Sky. Multiplayer and terrain deformations are not just some minor cosmetics decoration: they are deeply woven in the fabric of Astroneer. The game is about surviving, exploring and building bases on alien planets. All aspects that Astroneer implements with an immersive, diegetic interface. From the music the to user experience, every aspect of Astroneer is crafted with love.
SHENZHEN I/O | Zachtronics | steam | reddit
As a long term fan of Zachtronics’ work, I had to talk about their upcoming new game. Following the unexpected success of TIS-100, the indie studio is building a more visually appealing title based on the same gameplay. SHENZHEN I/O belongs to the Read The Fucking Manual genre. The game provides you with no real tutorial or explanation, but comes with a proper technical manual. Much like working with real electronics, players have to discover how to connect and program the different components. Zachtronics also sells physical copies of the SHENZHEN I/O instruction manual. The improvements from TIS-100 are obvious, but it is unclear, at the moment how much deeper the game will be. I can’t wait to see what new features (and challenges) Zachtronics will offer.
Gladiabots | Sébastien Dubois | itch.io | twitter
If you’re interested in artificial intelligence, Gladiabots is definitely a title you should check out. The game is already available on itch.io, but compared to most Early Access titles, it feels very solid. Gladiabots provides an easy, intuitive interface to program fighting robots. A very effective tutorial makes sure that you understand the basic mechanics, and few AIs are already provided to get you started. Designing behaviours is a hard, yet rewarding task. And Gladiabots provides the perfect ground to study and simulate different conditions. The game also provides a multiplayer arena fight against other players. As impressive as it is already, I am eager to see which other types of tasks and challenges the final version of the game will present.