Empyrion – Galactic Survival

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Empyrion – Galactic Survival on Steam (Early Access)

MSRP: $17.99

Platforms: Windows

Release: 8/5/15


Normally, I try to avoid posting too many Early Access reviews, and truthfully, from buying too many Early Access games, because it’s too easy to get burned by it.  But I’ve been closely watching Empyrion – Galactic Survival, and when Steam offered up a free weekend (and a 40% discount), I figured this would be the perfect time to try it out.

Steam’s Early Access is really a gamble – there are probably more abandoned Early Access games than there are ones still in active production.   This one is definitely in active production, with multiple updates per month. The early access period is expected to last quite a while longer (please note that the game is still currently in Alpha), with the price steadily increasing as more features are added.

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In it’s current state, Empyrion – Galactic Survival is better than just playable; it looks fantastic. Sure, the UI could be a little cleaner, the unobtrusive tutorial could be, well, a little more intrusive, because I know that I made some incredibly dumb mistakes on my first two world seeds.  Of course, even once I figured out how to use the tutorial, I managed to screw things up by just not reading it closely enough. If you’re going to play, hit F1 early, hit it often, and actually READ all the text it provides – there’s information you need in there.

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There are two game modes available – survival, which is the main mode where you have to forage for resources, and creative mode, where you can just build to your heart’s content.  I barely dabbled in creative mode, but it looks like you can just spawn whatever you need for your buildings, which is very neat.  I did spend over an hour in survival mode, and here are a few things I learned:

  • Despite what we’ve learned from Jurassic Park, most dinosaurs aren’t immediately hostile. My first death was a result of “ARGH, DINOSAURS” which led to me trying to shoot the hell of them, missing often, and having no idea how to reload my gun. (Reload is R but in my panic, that didn’t occur to me).

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  • O2 generators must be placed partially in the water in order to function. While this is good information and it’s a good habit to get used to placing your base camp near to water, if you choose Akua as your starting planet, the atmosphere is breathable.  However, once you put something down, there doesn’t seem to be any way to pick it up, so there’s an abandoned planet out there somewhere with an O2 generator just chilling, non-functionally – on the land.
  • You can store stuff in your crafting machine. You want to do this before you go out gathering, because dear god, the player inventory is awfully limiting in the beginning, and a lot of things don’t stack because they have spoilage timers.

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At least initially, this is not a fast-paced game.  It is a slow, methodical, resource-gathering, base-building, exploration, gathering & crafting game. It’s not quite pretty-Minecraft-in-space-with-dinosaurs. And it’s very definitely not finished.

I’ve had a mighty urge to build stuff lately, and Empyrion – Galactic Survival is scratching that itch quite nicely.  I’m definitely going to pick it up while it’s on sale, because I can’t forsee any reason why I won’t get my $11 worth of entertainment out of it in it’s current state.  I am optimistic that it will continue to improve, but the that’s the practical reality.  I’m not buying it for what it might be, I’m buying it for what it is right now.

The free weekend on Steam lasts until 10am Pacific on Sunday, May 15th if you want to try it out for yourself.

One thought on “Empyrion – Galactic Survival

  1. […] worth trying to hunt down a demo if there’s one available.  I’d been following Empyrion – Galactic Survival for awhile, but when they had a free weekend, I found I liked it enough in its current state to […]

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