Buying any Early Access game is a bit of a gamble. On the one hand, you get to experience the game development process, and experience the game sooner than you would normally. Although depending on how far into Early Access the game is, the game you’ve spent money on could be very buggy and in some extreme cases borderline unplayable. Rise of Man is a survival civilisation game developed by Darkcross Games currently in Early Access. I thought I’d jump in and take a look.
The basic premise of the game is that you start off with four prehistoric people. My knowledge of pre-history is severely lacking so I can’t tell you which period exactly, but they have enough knowledge to gather and forage. There are two men and two women, and they each have five energy points. This energy is used to perform actions, such as gathering wood, stone, food or building. The energy is replenished by eating or sleeping.
The biggest threat you have in the early game is starvation. If there’s no food, your people will die, if you lose the ability to reproduce (i.e. lose all of one gender) then the game ends. So make sure you have enough food.
One of the first problems I encountered in the game is that the usage of energy is a little off as far as balance goes. You can perform five actions for each person, before needing to sleep. Each action can take a long time to perform depending on where they are going. Incidentally, you can’t control where they go for resources and it’s not always the closest place. So, you assign them, and then find that there is little else to do except click on fast forward till they come back. Some balancing of the energy points would certainly increase the playability here. Maybe introduce a system where energy refreshes, after all sometimes all you need is a nice sit down.
The game advances almost by way of your settlers conducting research. By dedicating resources to the various areas, you can start to unlock things to move your village from a nomadic experience to a more settled one. Stone tools, farming and building for example. With tools, gathering resources becomes a little easier, and farming reduces the chance of starvation. Then as time goes on more and more advances are opened up to you. It would be nice if you could go all the way to the nuclear age with this but that would be a pretty big development commitment.
The game premise itself is a sound one, and although the details in regards to which era are a little inconsistent, the game still holds promise. At this stage everything is just a little slow, and there just needs to be a bit more thought into the overall speed of the game.
There are also a number of bugs that definitely need to be squashed. For example, if I lose and have to start again, I can’t build the first resource building in the new game. I have to quit the new game and restart for a second time. There was also a point where after a sleep, both of my females were locked in the sleeping position and were sliding around the map and won’t stand up again.
As I say, it’s Early Access and the developers have been very quick to squash bugs and provide updates at very regular intervals. If you think Early Access games are a good way to get full playable games earlier and cheaper then Rise of Man is not for you. If you believe in the Early Access process as a way of helping dedicated developers in achieving the potential of a game, then follow Rise of Man carefully, because Darkcross Games are interested in your opinions and I suspect there’s a great game waiting at the end.