Eden Star, from developers Flix Interactive, is a Sci-Fi survival game currently in Early Access on Steam.
Dumped on an alien world with nothing more than a pistol and limited ammunition for defence, and a Hi-Tech multi-purpose space glove, the MATA-Tool, for resource gathering and construction. Your only goal is to create a base and survive.
Eden Star is a survival game, but not a procedurally generated one, no – in Eden Star your world is the same as everyone else’s, the only difference will be how you construct your base and position your defences. Personally I like this approach, while procedurally generated maps can add to the longevity of a game; a handcrafted map will always look and feel more natural.
Surviving the harsh landscape of Pharus 7 will require your Eden Kit, this remarkable piece of kit will form the foundation of your base, this will also provide a shielded area to start building a home and act as a power supply for your initial defences. During the day, it is relatively safe to wander the landscapes looking for resources to expand your base with. At night, however, the area outside your shielded base becomes flooded with radiation, attempting to navigate the lands will lead to a slow but inevitable death.
So what do you do at night if you cannot leave your base without the fear of dying? You stay and defend your base of course, night time in Eden Star acts more like a tower defence game, you construct a mixture of auto turrets, missile launchers, energy turrets and laser fences to defend your base and Eden Kit. The more days you survive, the more the native life takes an interest in the Eden Kit, which adds a nice touch.
Resource gathering is a fairly simple affair, as you wander around the floating islands of Pharus 7 you will find tree’s, rocks, and mineral deposits, which can be harvested by looking at the aforementioned resources and pressing the right mouse button. As you run around the landscape your HUD will tell you what can be harvested from the area, by pointing your cursor at that strange looking rock formation in the distance you can tell instantly what can be collected.
Your MATA tool is a very versatile piece of equipment, as well as resource gathering it can be used to create a kinetic blast to push away enemies and to pick up and smash the creatures around like rag dolls before launching them over cliffs (I spent a lot of time doing this…). The MATA – Tool can be upgraded, provided you have the resources, to make it collect resources more effectively, to deal more damage with the slam attack, to repair the damage your base has sustained over the night, and even add a Gauss Cannon for a little more offensive capability.
Around the map you will stumble across Hives, these Hives are important as they contain Teslinium, this is needed for upgrading the MATA-Tool, and powering your Eden Kit to allow you to respawn after death. Protecting the hives are Splinter Mites, relatively weak opponents on their own, but quickly become a handful if they manage to gang up on you. There is also the Ika, a flying creature, they have a habit of appearing above you and generally startling you into falling off a cliff face… maybe that’s just me…
Not all of the creatures wandering around the world want to pick your flesh from their teeth though, in fact most are easily spooked and run away the moment you get too close, well except for Swamp walkers.. They will stand their ground, eyeing you up until you get too close and give you a gentle tap with their whip-like tongue.
Eden Star is a gorgeous looking game, built on the Unreal 4 Engine, it also has a very impressive physics engine, trees topple, and rocks explode and crumble in a reasonably realistic way.
I like Eden Star, but I have a few gripes and niggles.
At this stage of development, the game feels empty. After you have constructed a base with defences good enough to withstand a night of assault from the native wildlife…. there is not much else to do except gather resources, or find another Eden Kit and build another base.
The Hives… difficult to take out, vital to continue playing. Pistols do not do a lot of damage; assault rifles do a tiny bit more, and the Gauss Cannons a bit more than the assault rifles.
The best way I found to take them out was to wait for the creatures to spawn, and then slamming them repeatedly into the Hive.. but this took a long time, too long for me to find enjoyable.
I would say that this is an Early Access game to keep an eye on, a few balance fixes, the addition of Multiplayer, and a bit more content will make this a superb survival game.
Lee Rand Writes
I play what could be construed as a disturbing amount of this genre of game and my gosh, there are many on the market these days. Why am I telling you this and more importantly, why on Earth am I crashing in on Gary’s cracking little preview here and talking about myself (again)?
Well, I bought the game because I cautiously felt that this game looked like it stuck out from that pack of roving sneaking survival games crowding the current Early Access market. Thankfully in many respects it does.
As Gary has stated above, all that is lacking is the next step, more tasks to do, more missions or objectives. As it stands, this is a really refined game in terms of not just graphics, but physics and action as well. Eden is slick, fast-paced, and great to look at and play. The polish is actually already there, now all it needs is the world to be expanded upon.
The combat is fast and frantic and adds a refreshing arcade feel that I haven’t experienced before in this genre. There’s no spit and bit fat gob full of polish, not just in terms of the engine being employed here, but the skill with which the engine is being utilized.