People might say to never play games in early access, but that’s far from the truth. Though with certain early access games, it’s easy to see why people may think that. For example, early access games may end up being dropped during development, or straight up broken after full release. After the pirate-themed MMO Atlas left early access and was released on Dec. 21, disappointed players viewed the game as only an asset flip of ARK: Survival Evolved, or rather re-purposed DLC. They have also criticized it as a non-playable experience.
It’s a good idea to wait with most titles, because something that looks amazing in trailers could wind up very disappointing. This doesn’t just go for early access either. Numerous games have released with either disappointing gameplay mechanics, story, or overall presentation.
But here, we hand-pick a select few games we’ve spent some time with. For any last minute Christmas gifts, expect these games to have some future promise. Not to say these games will be a whole lot better upon full release, or that they won’t still receive developer support. We are just here to pick through some of our favorites. Enjoy!
Raft – Early Access Construction Goodness!
In Raft, you expand, create, and survive! With your hook in hand, and the ability to craft, Raft makes for a fun game to pick up for both you and a friend. Some YouTubers have been able to build whole ships and towns using a mode that allows for endless creation within the game. Other gameplay elements include painting walls, planting crops, and lots of patience. Raft can be tedious with not a whole lot to do, but it has some future promise. It’s certainly the most fun with friends in co-op mode!
Breathedge – Crazy Space Antics
Breathedge is a game that starts with taking your grandpa’s ashes to space, their final resting place. Ultimately Breathedge is pretty silly, yet fun! You’re out alone in space, crafting to further venture outside the confines of your vessel. Also, pretty much anything can kill you in space, including the heat and the cold. The game is full of long-lasting fun; but unfortunately, it’s only single-player.
7 Days to Die – Lost in an Endless Sea of Zombies
7 Days to Die—one of this gamer’s favorites—allows you to craft and build up your own personal safe haven. While exploring and hearing the raspy sound of zombies, it feels terrifying. There is much more to this game than just survival; it also has co-op and competitive modes, with some RPG elements sprinkled in. Small quests and loot drops make exploring more worthwhile than most other games in early access. Survive the apocalypse by making your own food and building your own walls. Making friends is a guaranteed plus! The game is usually on sale for a good price, but even on full retail it’s worth every penny and more. While 7 Days to Die is still in early access on Steam, it’s available on PS4 and Xbox One.
Visage – Horror in VR Done Correctly
Visage is what P.T.—the demo for the now cancelled Silent Hills—could have been. It has such a creepy atmosphere, with lots of time seemingly devoted to just creating that terrifying tone. A phone rings, and you jump! Whenever something needs to be interacted with, you do not want to go near it. As an early access gift, your friend or significant other would hate you—but at the same time, their reaction makes for great comedy. It’s one of the very few games made in recent years that has implemented true horror. Gift to yourself or a friend! It’s single-player, so expect to play this alone, and have a clear path to the bathroom.
PC Building Simulator – Best Gift Ever!
For a real learning experience, PC Building Simulator will do. For a game that mostly relies on doing nothing except building and repairing PCs, it’s not bad at all. It will certainly teach you how to build one; but aside from that, there isn’t much replayability. Although, with recent and future updates, it almost looks like PC Building Simulator will never leave early access. This is because new hardware and software for computers comes out on a regular basis. So, that makes this game—based on the construction of PCs—potentially ever-expanding and never-ending.
Green Hell – Survival and Realism
With Green Hell, there is nothing short of a mental trip. Some of the worst fears in this game are not of the wildlife, but of yourself and native tribes. For every update there is either new content, or a hot fix for that content. Though currently single-player, there will be a future co-op or multiplayer mode added. This means a good amount of ideas for future content. The developer also makes regular updates, which can be significant enough to bring previous players back to investigate. Certainly a good gift for either a friend, loved one, or even yourself. Definitely one to check out when you have time.
Again, these are just some last minute gift suggestions in this digital age. If you are a Steam user, be sure to check out these games. There are risks with early access, but these games still get constant, regular updates. So, just take them into consideration.
Thank you for reading this article, which aims to help you with your final preparations for Christmas. We all know how hard that can be. Forget someone and it can be a dangerous beginning for the new year. Be sure to have a great Christmas Day and happy New Year!
See also: Christmas Specials