First Looks// Eden Star

Posted 9 Apr 2014 14:59 by
If you build it, they will come. Or so Kevin Costner was told repeatedly in Field of Dreams. Now while Kevin was building a baseball diamond for ghosts, Flix Interactive are building an entire world for people to shoot aliens in, via Eden Star.

This is a survival-building game, a genre that was made most famous by Minecraft, only built using the Unreal Engine 4, so it's a damn sight more attractive.

Set in the far flung future when Earth's natural resources are depleted to the point where humanity must find a new home, Eden Star is a colony ship that sets out to terraform new worlds, far from the now dying Earth. The player takes on the role of a pioneer who is charged with maintaining the Eden Kits that litter a planet's surface as it undergoes transformation. These kits are under threat from the indigenous creatures of the planet and it is up to the player to prevent the destruction of terraforming devices.

At the player's disposal are pre-defined constructs that can be built using the raw materials that litter the planet's surface. These are absorbed by the player and fed back into the Eden Kit. This then turns it into a resource that can be used to build walls, turrets and other defence systems that are used to protect the Eden Kits.

The game's interface uses the standard WASD+mouse set-up with two modes of interaction: combat and construction. Combat allows the player to manipulate and destroy the environment and creatures within it. This varies from a simple pulse to a continuous beam and the picking up of objects and then slamming them against something very hard. This last method of destruction was a personal favourite of mine as I found it to be terribly satisfying to slam robots against walls and watch them explode into tiny pieces as a result.

Like all survival/building games, Eden Star throws waves of enemies at the player and they must juggle building an impregnable fortress with farming for resources. I found that Eden Star seems to strike a good balance for this and at no time during the session I spent with it did I feel overwhelmed by what I had to do.

This is something I have found other survival/building games tend to suffer from as they throw a wall of options for constructing things at you.

It can get so bad that it gets to the point where the player just does not know how to prioritise anything and they end up dying a horrible death while trying to build a canoe out of a banjo. With Eden Star, the presence of pre-defined programs to build things streamlines the game experience and gets to the nub of survival.

The demo being shown at EGX-Rezzed 2014 is little more than a technology test to show how the core of the game works. None of the aliens described previously were present as the level being shown was a simulation of what the player will face on the planet's surface.

Additionally, the multiplayer aspect of the game wasn't functioning. That's promised to be a very much a cooperative system. Finally, there are plans to expand the abilities of the player via a series of unlocks that allow for complex combat combos to be executed, which will be a must in order to defeat some of the more formidable foes.

Eden Star is schedule to appear sometime later this year on Window PCs.

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