Spotlight on Greenlight, 9/3/13: Planet Explorers | PCGamesN

Diablo 3 Season 2 will begin as early as Feburary; patch 2.1.2 still in public testing

Evolve: Hunters Quest is a free-to-play match 3 companion app for Evolve

Life is Strange: Chrysalis PC review

Planet Explorers

Spotlight on Greenlight, 9/3/13: Planet Explorers

!

Welcome once again to PCGamesN’s Spotlight on Greenlight, our regular Saturday feature where we look at the best and the most interesting Greenlight games that are hoping to make their way onto Steam. We’ve already looked at dozens of other titles in weeks past, so do take a look at our back catalogue.

Remember how shooters used to be in vogue or how, once upon a time, we couldn’t move for flight sims? Now, we live in the age of the sandbox, the pixel playground. Planet Explorers is another game jostling for space amongst this ever more crowded scene, but this time around it isn’t all about blocks. Or, I should say, it isn’t so blatantly about blocks as there’s quite a lot more going on.

Planet Explorers is still a game about construction, about building things piece by piece using materials you’ve mined, harvested or scavenged from your environment, but it’s not as Lego-like as many of its peers. There’s much less of a Minecraft influence here and everything is certainly a lot less square, something that very much suits the alien and often uncomfortably organic world that you’ll find yourself in

But let me come back to the construction in a moment. First, I need to give you a comfortable grounding in the premise of the game, a safe landing, if you will.

Unfortunately, safe landing is exactly what you won’t enjoy as Planet Explorers begins. While the game has a free-form construction mode and also an “Adventure” mode (which is similar but which gives you set objectives to achieve), the main game is a plot-driven experience that dumps you on a hostile alien world. The colony ship you were travelling abroad is involved in a mysterious crash and suddenly a handful of survivors must make the best of the strange planet that has become their new home.

As you take your first steps on this new world, your first impressions won’t be of a game based around construction or sandbox play, but of something much closer to an MMO. Static NPCs wait patiently with stark exclamation points above their head and you quickly find yourself engaging in fetch quests, searching for characters or collecting X amounts of a resource to satisfy some slightly abstract command. It would be great to have company at this early stage of the game, but multiplayer is still on developer Pathea Games’ to-do list.

Bear with the game a while, gather a few resources and you’ll soon have the opportunity for a little construction, throwing up rudimentary wooden shacks or crafting simple tools to make your life as an off-world settler much easier. Planet Explorers uses the ever-popular Unity engine and while your construction icon might be a floating green cube that immediately suggests blocky, angular buildings, there’s plenty of scope for you to make your creations both smoother and, if you want, curvier. The one downside to this is that, at the moment, textures tend to blend together and when you plonk down metal blocks to shape a new building you can end up with a sort of homogenous, semi-organic base to your structure. This can give the impression that your iron fort is growing out of the ground and that you’ve morphed the environment rather than actually built upon it.

Still, it’s a welcome change to the the great quantity of Minecraft-inspired games out there and it fits with the unusual scenery that you’ll be exploring. Planet Explorers isn’t all about randomly-generated terrain, instead featuring carefully-designed environmental features that include mountains, caves and canyons, making for what is often a more coherent world. It’s absolutely packed with weird creatures too, most of which just seem to want to kill and eat you, though not necessarily in that order.

Unfortunately, combat’s currently pretty ropey and I spent a lot of time punching thin air, though forming a party alleviates this somewhat, since whoever you take with you inevitably proves to be a far more effective pugilist and this leaves you free to concentrate on other things instead.

The game’s only at version 0.52 right now and there’s lots that needs work, from the character creation options to the animation to the cheesy lift music, and it urgently needs multiplayer, from which I think it will benefit greatly. Nevertheless, it already gives you plenty to play with this alpha is completely free to try. It also has a lot of potential for expansion and I’ve tried to use the in-game designer create a few custom items but, I have to admit, I don’t quite have the skills to convincingly pull that sort of thing off. With a bit more practice I hope to be building my own assault course soon and then wooshing around it in my own custom-designed. Oh yes, there are vehicles too, as well as weapons and turrets (which you’ll find very useful indeed on such a packed, hostile planet).

Planet Explorers is the sort of ambitious, independent project that we should be pushing for on Greenlight and I’d encourage you to vote for it and to give it a try.

Login or Register
0
+0
-0
avatar
21

Now THIS is a sandbox I can get behind! Game looks awesome. Some nice vistas (it's no MDK, Outcast or Myst, but this is far more alien than most sci-fi games today. Stupid, homogenized, "gritty" and "grounded" art direction), and great creature designs. Looks like a lot more to do than your typical Minecraft and minecraft clone too - solid combat, monster hunting, tower defense, vehicles, etc. This is definitely getting an upvote from me. I'm glad this is on my radar now!

0
+0
-0
avatar
21

One note. Put the trailer at the TOP of the article. That way, you  can click it and have it buffer while you read, then skip up and watch the whole thing after you're done with the article.

Try these free to play games
?

These are affiliate links - clicking them and playing the games directly supports PCGamesN

Spotlight
?

Our Spotlight units plug content our journalists have made, that our advertisers want to promote. Sometimes the promotion is paid for, but the content they go to is always independent with no client oversight or approval.


Alienware - Game VictoriousTurtle Beach
Life is Strange: Chrysalis PC review

Life is Strange

Life is Strange: Chrysalis PC review

Closed: We’ve 650 Heroes of the Storm keys to give away. Codes will be sent out on Saturday

Heroes of the Storm

Closed: We’ve 650 Heroes of the Storm keys to give away. Codes will be sent out on Saturday

What do PC game developers want from Steam Early Access?

DayZ

What do PC game developers want from Steam Early Access?

The rise and rise of Wargaming: Part 2: It all kicks off

World of Tanks

The rise and rise of Wargaming: Part 2: It all kicks off

Blood Bowl 2 is clearer, better looking, and more violent than ever

Blood Bowl 2

Blood Bowl 2 is clearer, better looking, and more violent than ever

Hands on with Blitzkrieg 3

Blitzkrieg 3

Hands on with Blitzkrieg 3

The rise and rise of Wargaming: Part 1: Prelude to War

World of Tanks

The rise and rise of Wargaming: Part 1: Prelude to War

H1Z1 Early Access Review

H1Z1

H1Z1 Early Access Review

Sponsored: Six ways Alienware are rebooting the gaming laptop

Alienware

Sponsored: Six ways Alienware are rebooting the gaming laptop

Closed: We’re giving away a Geforce GTX970-powered gaming PC courtesy of Gameforge

S.K.I.L.L

Closed: We’re giving away a Geforce GTX970-powered gaming PC courtesy of Gameforge

The 100 Best Minecraft Skins

Minecraft

The 100 Best Minecraft Skins

Dying Light first impressions

Dying Light

Dying Light first impressions

Grey Goo PC review

Grey Goo

Grey Goo PC review

Topic of the Week: What do you look for in a remastered game?

Topic of the Week

Topic of the Week: What do you look for in a remastered game?

Grim Fandango Remastered PC review

Grim Fandango

Grim Fandango Remastered PC review

Making it in Unreal: flipping through the X-Files with extraterrestrial horror game The Hum

The Hum

Making it in Unreal: flipping through the X-Files with extraterrestrial horror game The Hum

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt hands on - playing 2015's most exciting RPG

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt hands on - playing 2015's most exciting RPG

In Dead Synchronicity, you mutilate a dead vicar. And then it gets even bleaker

Dead Synchronicity

In Dead Synchronicity, you mutilate a dead vicar. And then it gets even bleaker

Homeworld Remastered Collection revealed; Steam launch set for February 25th

Homeworld Remastered

Homeworld Remastered Collection revealed; Steam launch set for February 25th

Adventures in... Assassin's Creed: Unity - Butcher, or Benny Hill?

Assassin's Creed Unity

Adventures in... Assassin's Creed: Unity - Butcher, or Benny Hill?

How to get better at Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

How to get better at Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

ArenaNet unveils Guild Wars 2's first expansion: Heart of Thorns

Guild Wars 2

ArenaNet unveils Guild Wars 2's first expansion: Heart of Thorns

Weekend Deal Dump: Card games and road trips

Weekend Deal Dump

Weekend Deal Dump: Card games and road trips

How Paul Neurath is kickstarting an Ultima Underworld sequel, with the blessing of EA

Underworld Ascendant

How Paul Neurath is kickstarting an Ultima Underworld sequel, with the blessing of EA

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada has the best weaponised space cathedrals in gaming, ever

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada has the best weaponised space cathedrals in gaming, ever

PEGI won't censor Hatred in Europe. Here's why

Hatred

PEGI won't censor Hatred in Europe. Here's why

Looking back: why it's time to return to Far Cry 2

Far Cry® 2: Fortune's Edition

Looking back: why it's time to return to Far Cry 2

The devs behind Remember Me are making a smart WW1 vampire RPG

Vampyr

The devs behind Remember Me are making a smart WW1 vampire RPG

Chaos Reborn Early Access review

Chaos Reborn

Chaos Reborn Early Access review

Microsoft's plans for marrying Windows 10 and PC gaming: Xbox Live, DirectX, and streaming

Windows 10

Microsoft's plans for marrying Windows 10 and PC gaming: Xbox Live, DirectX, and streaming

How Company of Heroes 2 became Steam's biggest RTS

Company of Heroes 2

How Company of Heroes 2 became Steam's biggest RTS

Here are my impressions of Infinifactory, please trust them

Infinifactory

Here are my impressions of Infinifactory, please trust them

We’ve got 500 Heroes of the Storm beta keys to giveaway to EU players and PLEASE NO TRAMPLING

Heroes of the Storm

We’ve got 500 Heroes of the Storm beta keys to giveaway to EU players and PLEASE NO TRAMPLING

Accusations of StarCraft match-fixing against progamer San from betting site Pinnacle

Starcraft II

Accusations of StarCraft match-fixing against progamer San from betting site Pinnacle

Tomorrow, we start giving away hundreds of Heroes of the Storm beta keys

Heroes of the Storm

Tomorrow, we start giving away hundreds of Heroes of the Storm beta keys

Topic of the Week: What works and doesn't work in survival games?

Topic of the Week

Topic of the Week: What works and doesn't work in survival games?

Blackguards 2 review

Blackguards 2

Blackguards 2 review

The Big Interview: William Pugh closes the book on The Stanley Parable

The Stanley Parable

The Big Interview: William Pugh closes the book on The Stanley Parable

The best mods and apps for Elite: Dangerous

Elite: Dangerous

The best mods and apps for Elite: Dangerous

Making it in Unreal: can Elite dock with FTL for Kickstarted space sim Into the Stars?

Into the Stars

Making it in Unreal: can Elite dock with FTL for Kickstarted space sim Into the Stars?