Take on the role of a Junior Bureaucrat (Colonial Grade), sent forth to seek fame, promotions, and natural resources to feed the ravenous maw of Imperial Industry & Commerce. History is yours to seize for fame and fortune, for Science, and for the Queen and the glory of the Clockwork Empires!
User reviews: Mostly Positive (111 reviews)
Release Date: Aug 15, 2014

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Early Access Game

Get instant access and start playing; get involved with this game as it develops.

Note: This Early Access game may or may not change significantly over the course of development. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you may want to wait until the game progresses further in development. Learn more

What the developers have to say:

Why Early Access?

“Early Access is the single most influential tool we can find to receive feedback to improve the game. We've had tremendous success with doing this on smaller scales in the past with Dungeons of Dredmor, but with a larger game, especially a sandbox simulation game, more testing is dramatically more valuable. Early Access will make Clockwork Empires the best game we can possibly make it.

The benefits of Early Access for the players are, of course, early access to the game, and the ability to not only watch the game take shape but to help us shape it with suggestions on how we can improve systems, and be able to log in every month and see notable content additions and systems improvements inspired by your feedback.”

How long will this game be in Early Access?

“We have a list of features to complete which we've discussed in detail on our Clockwork Empires: Development Progress site. We'll release the game when these features are done. Current estimate for their completion is about 9 months, but the most important thing for us is that the features we've discussed and wanted to include in the project make it in.

We also provide weekly development progress updates with changlogs on the Gaslamp Games blog and through the Gaslamp Games mailing list.”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?

This our giant Development Progress Report page (as mentioned) which we shall keep updated with each major public release of Clockwork Empires.

In terms of how the full version will differ from the current version:

The full version of Clockwork Empires will have more monsters, more character interactions, more vehicles, more events, a much improved user interface (based on feedback), more biome diversity, multiplayer, and ... of course, we will be improving game performance and resolving any crash bugs that are found as we go. (If anyone sees any crashing, please report it to Gaslamp Games for immediate Purging).”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

“Upon loading the game, the player is set to the task of building a thriving colony out of a pile of supplies and handful of characters. Making sure they don't starve and aren't killed by monsters are the most important considerations. Your military will shoot monsters if given access to weaponry, and your non-military characters will get to work building houses and workshops, and tilling farms as the player gives them orders to do so.

If you haven't read the giant Development Progress Report page (which we shall keep updated with each major public release of Clockwork Empires), then we urge you to do so.”

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?

“No, we are not planning on changing the price. Price changes tend to be confusing for everyone.

Increasing the price upon release is contrary to the long-standing tradition of games getting cheaper as they get older. Decreasing the price upon release effectively makes people pay a premium to participate in early access. While we feel that participating should be valuable to you, we don't want to set that price as something other than what everyone would have to pay anyway.”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?

“The scale of community involvement is pretty heavily dependent on the size of the community.

To start, we spend time on our forums as well as right here on the Steam forums trying to answer questions directly, letting people know when we've logged bugs they find or responding to content or design suggestions. We've been doing this with our internal test group for the last few months, and with the Earliest Access players for the last month, which has benefited us a ton. At a some point, though, the community can get too big to guarantee that level of communication, at which point we might use other tools to answer questions. Reddit for direct conversations, strawpolls to gauge interest in different feature implementations, stuff like that which can help us hear everyone as effectively as possible. We're open to experimenting with this process to find out what works best, and we'll definitely listen to suggestions from players about how to better communicate with the community.

We have had a running development blog for Clockwork Empires since before we officially announced the project, and we will be keeping that up to date with our progress and changelogs for new versions. We will also keep our Clockwork Empires Development Progress report up to date with our monthly releases. People who want more information can visit the Clockwork Empires Portal to see the latest updates on our twitter account for the game, @ClockwrkEmpires).”
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Recommended By Curators

"Brits, clockworks and cthulhu monsters in a community management game. What could go wrong.. other than someone getting eaten by fishmen."

Recent updates View all (12)

October 22

Development Blog Update: Fight or Flight

In the dev blog post for this week, we explore the decisions made by characters when they're under attack, how we're balancing them, and what's involved. The whole post can be found here:



Colonists are fickle creatures. You must take good care of them or they’ll starve to death. Or join a cult and start murdering for Quag’garoth (as one typically does when left without supervision).

What I’m getting at is that we’ve got quite a challenge in making colonists act like little virtual people. Part of how colonists end up acting is up to how the player manages then, as it should be in this business of interactive media. But the larger part of the iceberg (to our perspective) is making this possible to say nothing of engaging in the first place, and that’s up to how we hook up the pipes behind the scenes to enable colonists to express varied, interesting behaviour based on stimuli which can be observed and often manipulated by the player.

A sprawling example I’ve been dealing with lately is how to make colonists respond to danger. Fight or flight, easy, right? Well …

0 comments Read more

October 21

REVISION 32A Now on Steam Experimental Branch

We bring you this urgent heliograph message to inform you that Revision 32A has been posted to the Experimental Branch of Steam. It contains a number of high quality crash fixes, and improvements to loading and saving!

Also, apparently, pies.

- FIXED: crash writing empty string to console
- FIXED: crash when a camera target is deleted
- FIXED: crash when a module is interrupted at precisely the last second of construction (this somehow managed to affect three people)
- FIXED: combo box now has correct behaviour in workshop menu
- FIXED: jobs are now correctly deleted from a very large internal table when they are aborted
- FIXED: removed unnecessary sqrt() from Proximity Query code for aurochs
- FIXED: potential errors in fishperson_attack_ranged.fsm (where it checks if target is dead)
- FIXED: potential errors in harvest.fsm
- FIXED: Obeliskians use correct "run" animation
- FIXED: possible scriptError when fishperson attempts to shoot dead target
- added pies & piemaking jobs
- added (placeholder?) NCO replacement event
- added upper class death prestige loss
- balance: lowered obeliskian hitpoints to 2/3rds previous value
- fishpeople and animals can interrupt jobs at 1s intervals
- added icon to hover over frontier justiced colonists
- added checks for potential scriptError in citizen.go (in makeFriendText w/ invalid friend gameobject)
- balance: combat job rebalancing and fixes (Thanks Samut, you're a madman! In the best way.)
- added additional error-checking to fishperson_butcher.fsm
- balance: decreased effect of hunger on "eat food" (as it would easily exceed "run away from murderous fishpeople")
- balance: increased utility of picking up bullets (soldiers would do literally anything but pick up bullets if there was anything else to do)
- stop. added new hammer sounds
- added landmine emote to fishpeople when they become scared of landmines
- slightly increased landmine damage
- added a little more randomness to flee target position
- made fishperson try to get slightly closer to target before using fishgun
- spelling fix: "ruins" -> "runes"
- MOB JUSTICE! (civilians may join in on Frontier Justice if they have certain traits.)
- smelting, distilling, and ceramics jobs now use the queued processing thing
- added some new animal behaviours, mostly involving running away from stuff

3 comments Read more
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“Victorian Steampunk at its finest”

“I have a feeling it’s going to be something rather special”

“Clockwork Empires makes me uncomfortable”
PC World

About This Game

Take on the role of a Junior Bureaucrat (Colonial Grade), sent forth to seek fame, promotions, and natural resources to feed the ravenous maw of Imperial Industry & Commerce. Build a prosperous colony, fill it with magnificent factories worked by oppressed labourers, and harness the awesome power of steam through fearsome machines invented by determined men and women of Science! History is yours to seize for fame and fortune, for Science, and for the Queen and the glory of the Clockwork Empires!

  • Colonists are simulated with individual personalities, memories, and will be happy or miserable depending on your management.
  • Free-form building: Design your own floorplans & arrange machines, furniture, and decorations as you see fit. (Or stuff everyone into bunkhouses.)
  • Mine ore, chop trees, farm cabbage, brew beer, tin weird caviar and try to keep your people from eating one another!
  • Weird horrible things: Menacing Fishpeople, cults, cannibalism, and more await your colonists.

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows 7, Operating System of The Lower Classes
    • Processor: Intel i5 Processor or Equivalent ("The Little Scrapper" model)
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA or AMD card capable of supporting OpenGL 3.2 Core or Above. INTEL HD3000 AND HD4000 GRAPHICS CARDS ARE NOT SUPPORTED.
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Hard Drive: 4 GB available space
    • Sound Card: Lord Palmerstoke's Sound-Reproducing "Old-Timey" Wax Cylinder Driver
    • Additional Notes: INTEL HD3000 AND HD4000 GRAPHICS CARDS ARE NOT SUPPORTED. The Ministry for Video Game Drivers would like to remind you: true Patriots of the Empire always install their latest Graphics Card Drivers before Enjoying A Bracing Video Game, lest the Blackness Consume Us All.
    • OS: Windows 7, 64-Bit Version (By Appointment to Her Majesty)
    • Processor: Intel i7 or above, fashioned of Stout Empire Tin and Burnished of Solid Pewter
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: A Big, Shiny NVIDIA or AMD Graphics Card With Lots of Fans Stuck to It. (Remember: More Fans Means More Steampunk!)
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Hard Drive: 8 GB available space
    • Sound Card: "His Masters' Voice" Novorusian All-Wailing Gramaphone Module and Borscht Dispensary
    • Additional Notes: The Ministry for Growth and Monitoring encourages you to buy a Really Big Monitor.
Helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
17.9 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Very addictive but super buggy. I hope they do a weekly update instead of a monthly update. Oh by the way, how is it possible for 68 raiders to attack my colony? The game's way of telling me that im f*ked? LOL
Posted: September 24
Was this review helpful? Yes No
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.1 hrs on record
Early Access Review
"We built this city on...CUH-THUL-HU
Don't you re-mem-buh
We built..."
Posted: September 26
Was this review helpful? Yes No
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
7.0 hrs on record
Early Access Review
It's like The Sims meets Age of Empires meets H. P. Lovecraft.
Posted: September 26
Was this review helpful? Yes No
4 of 6 people (67%) found this review helpful
2.1 hrs on record
Early Access Review
I have high hopes for this game upon its completion, and will change my opinion at that time accordingly. At the moment poor AI and a buggy UI combine to make the game almost unplayable, and certainly not enjoyable. Even for an early release title, in my opinion this game was released far too early.
Posted: October 11
Was this review helpful? Yes No
1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
0.4 hrs on record
Early Access Review
I like to build and manage, and this even has fish people that attack you! It is early access! There are bugs, and crashes and all that stuff you encounter when buying early access. Check the forums and keep on gaming sexy.
Posted: September 27
Was this review helpful? Yes No
1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
4.1 hrs on record
Early Access Review
This game still unstable and its clash every time during game so I suggest there should be a auto save function at least, I can see why the game crashed.
Posted: October 17
Was this review helpful? Yes No
3 of 6 people (50%) found this review helpful
0.4 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Bought this game 4 weeks ago, but it doesn´t run for a group of players including myself. I waited a few weeks before judging it but after 4 weeks without any indication the devs want to fix this, i want to share my experience.

I tried to run it on a laptop and a desktop (i never have issues running other games), mentioned my issue on the forum and i´ve send in bug reports. This game was approved for early access way to early if you ask me. Not saying every buyer will have this challenge in running the game but i noticed several people reporting the same problems. If you purchase this there will be a chance it will not work for you either.
Posted: October 12
Was this review helpful? Yes No
3 of 7 people (43%) found this review helpful
0.3 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Simply does not work. Every time i try to start a game it stops working.
Posted: September 27
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2 of 5 people (40%) found this review helpful
5.9 hrs on record
Early Access Review
A few hours ago I decided to write a review for this game. I bought Clockwork Empires because it looked like a cool project, a Dwarf Fortress kind of game - a game that could produce the fascinating situations that arise from the complex interaction between your colonists and the enviroment they inhabit.

I felt like I wrote a fair and balanced review, based on my experience with this game.

I decided to play it a bit more, research its mechanics and the basics of how this game works and its community. This brought me to realize I was wrong, my earlier review was not fair.

This game doesn't have any working mechanics, this doesn't have basic functions, this game is not just in the very early stages of development - Clockwork Empires isn't developing at all.

Nobody knows how this game works, not even the people developing it. I read the official forums, and
I see that the problems people are having, are not because of the bugs or them misunderstanding the various functions of this game. It is because there are no functions, there is no logic or reason to anything going on in the game.

It is chaos. No reason, no logic, no basics - nothing to rely on. It is an utterly incomprehensible mess.

The developers will at some point have to realize there is no way they can salvage this. Like other early access developers, there will come a point where they will be forced to abandon this project.


That is the link to the Clockwork Empires wiki. A place one goes to when you need a basic explanation of how something works in a game. The wiki contains no answers - no facts - no basics. Just rambling steampunk fantasy texts, but nothing in relation to how the game works, because it doesn't.


Don't buy this. This is just a fantasy project. This will never turn into a game and you will have wasted almost 30 Euro on absolutely nothing. It is steampunk fanfiction visualised into some kind of bizarre abomination of a computer program.

First I thought it might end up as a finished product, since the developers are so dedicated and obviously invested time and money into this. I get the feeling they put their heart and soul into this too. Sadly they built the foundation of their dream on top of quicksand, so no matter how much they work on this - it will inevitably sink down into the depths.
Posted: September 28
Was this review helpful? Yes No
2.5 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Been playing since before early access and it's great to see the game coming along. When I first picked it up I was a bit confused as most of my characters just starved to death, killed each other, and chatted about how they missed getting a good cup of tea. But after a little practice, the fate of my brave colonists is getting a bit better every time I fail horribly and have to restart the game.
Posted: September 25
Was this review helpful? Yes No
6.2 hrs on record
Early Access Review
The game is amazing. Its ultra hard & at the moment crashes alot but if you played it, even for 10 minutes you will know how great it will be once all those bugs are eliminated. Im a die hard civilization fan and Im loving this game so far. This could be the start of something great.
Posted: September 23
Was this review helpful? Yes No
2.0 hrs on record
Early Access Review
This early access game is fun and interesting, but there are definitely a few bugs that need to be ironed out before release. Apart from no audio during my first game (restarting fixed this), the actual gameplay seems to work pretty smooth - no gamestopping bugs. The tutorial did an ok job at explaining the basics, but it still needs more explanations on how the game works.

However the interface still needs a bit of work, where some buttons simply have no use, and some orders are kind of repetitive. Still, the interface works, and the game is playable already in this state. The biggest problem I found is how little you can see about whats going on in the colony. Colonists are ordered in work teams, but aside from counting them, there's no easy way to find out how many they are. And there's little visual distinction between them apart from their fancy names. This made it hard to figure out who was doing what, and micro-managing becomes extremely tedious.

The game is very flavourful, and there's lots to do. It's a hard game that plays quite differently each time. I can't really recommend getting this early access version, but I definitely think the finished game will be worth every penny!
Posted: October 21
Was this review helpful? Yes No
6.3 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Currently incomplete, but following the progress has been a joy for me and the bones of the game that it will become is decidedly there. The myriad interactions between colonists and fishmen and dark cults and the world at large is endlessly fascinating as you try to herd them (like cats!) towards some semblance of sanity.
Posted: September 28
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217 of 252 people (86%) found this review helpful
72.5 hrs on record
Early Access Review
My Hours Played don't reflect my actual play time; I've been loading this game directly from the .exe (which is a thing you can do, and which more Steam games ought to do, I'm looking at you, Skyrim). Also, sessions that crash apparently don't get added to your Hours Played. Expect crashes, this thing isn't even in Beta.

*edit* Apparently they do count!

This Early Access offering is a good example of the way Early Access should be done - the game itself is only nominally functional - there is currently no save function, for instance, there are still many bugs and crashes, and the interface is undergoing constant revision. Many planned features have yet to be implemented, and the game itself could stand some optimization.

*edit* I'm testing the 'internaltest-' build which has, among other things, a save function. It crashes more than it saves, but still.

The value of an Early Access game is the opportunity to participate in feedback that will shape the direction of the game. Submit suggestions, tweaks, typos, bugs and playability experiences to the Devs. They've shown themselves to be very responsive, and actively solicit player feedback (on the Gaslamp Games forums), and the whole development process has been the model of transparency, with weekly Dev Blog updates and a Twitter presence.

Clockwork Empires has a lovely aesthetic, and great potential, but it's nowhere near finished. Wait for full release (projected to be ~9 months) if you want it feature-complete and polished. I'm in it because the Development Blogs are great, the Devs are active, and I enjoy contributing my 2 cents worth.

This is a game on the same shelf as Dwarf Fortress, Gnomoria, Spacebase DF-9, et al. It's a city builder sim; there's no direct control of your citizens, who you direct largely by creating jobs and juggling priorities. The setting is a sort Victorian-era English colony; your soldiers wear red coats and wield muskets, your menfolk sport glorious handlebar moustaches, and your colonists (literally) gossip about things like the Monarchy. It's brass, elbow grease, laudanum, dodos, and cabbages everywhere. You already know if this stuff appeals to you or not.

Also appearing: fishmen, dark cults, insanity and ritual murder. Still in the works, tentacled horrors, secret geometry, and Lovecraftian modules for your Lumber Mill (!).

If you do get this game, get involved in the Dev side or you're missing a great opportunity; check out the blogs, read the forums, share hilarious stories about mass starvation and game-breaking bugs.

p.s. I forgot to mention cannibalism. Cannibalism is always hilarious. I don't know if fishmen count as cannibalism, but I'm pretty sure your fellow colonists do.

p.p.s Read the system requirements.
Posted: August 15
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70 of 83 people (84%) found this review helpful
38.1 hrs on record
Early Access Review
UPDATED: REV31: A very nice push from the devs has paid off and they have fixed a ton of bugs and crashes not to mention allowing save games. While there may be some that still are present they continue to bash them out with the help of the community. Many new features come in this build including further depth in cultists, fishpeople attacks, military improvements and much much more. Even included is a brand new play area complete with giant beetles and chickens! :D

There is much more to be done but it is a start, and a very good update considering the monthly schedule, these guys work hard, and it is definitely a worthwhile investment if you like your products being worked on and not sitting around for a while ^^

While this is Early Access.......very very early. I have to say that this game has huge potential. The developers are keen and very open and the game itself is the perfect management game for those who loved traditional city builder games crossed with a bit more things to do such as combat, defence etc.

It is based during the Colonial-Early Industrial period and already the developers have nice features set out. The game itself does have a sense of humor thrown in and the like such as having to fight off Fish people and all sorts of creatures. In future they plan to add bandits and all manners of factions and allow you to ally, trade and conduct diplomacy for your newly starting colony. There is also a map set out what looks like it will be a sort of campaign style base in which you choose where you would like to set out your next adventure for the Empire and start to form new colonies.

The artstyle in my view fits perfectly along with the current mechanics which are currently implemented it really does look and function well. If you play it you will see just exactly what this game could offer in the near future and even now.

The game is one of a kind and unique in so many ways. If you don't mind investing in such games then by all means take it into account but if you want a finished product then you will have to wait. I would say another month or so and this game will get better and better......hopefully :) It really is up to yourself but I can say this certainly. If you decide to invest your money in this EA game.
You will not loose out. The Devs are like PA Devs in that sense but even better. They are constanly interacting with community to fix things, release experimental build updates pretty much from 2 days-1 week. Really are making significant progress and fast.

EDIT: And I was correct when i said a month or 2. Saves are practically on the table with loading now as are basic defences. Many fixes and performance improvements to allow smooth running of the game and ruled out majority of crashes. Now they can finally give it a few weeks, start working on the games mechanics and content more rather than bug fixing. For now anyway :D

On that note: The team plan to adopt a monthly update schedule which will release major build updates to the public. If you would like to assist in testing or just mess around with it early then they have an opt in "experimental branch" which as it suggests is "experimental" but enough to keep you playing. I can see the team relating to Prison Architect in that sense as they always keep the community interested and up to date and these guys are constantly fixing and addressing issues with their game so very active :D

As I am constanly testing the Experimental builds which are updated regularly with new things to check out and suggest, I will be updating this throughout each build, or when I can :)
Posted: August 17
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60 of 76 people (79%) found this review helpful
37.6 hrs on record
Early Access Review
The world's finest cabbage farming simulator.

I'll say up front that at this time (8/15/14) it is still rather bare as a game and there are still engine bugs to be worked out. If you are wanting a polished full featured game hold off on buying this. However I've been involved since closed testing and have seen wonderful improvements and the foundation laid for many exciting game features over the last several months. The developers are passionate, experienced, and active in the community. Getting in now will let you help shape this fabulous game, and of course let you enjoy it now.

Many games hype what they hope they will be and have to scale back often leaving fans disappointed and skeptical about any games previews. Gaslamp Games have been hyping what already exists in Clockwork Empires. Many of the features are rough around the edges and a number are not included in the current public build (8/15/14) because they are not yet ready for prime time but they do exist. The talk of colonists having personalities and memories isn't smoke and mirrors. Once all the pieces are polished and come together Clockwork Empires will delight and horrify you.

It is a gem, rough and unpolished now but full of promise. And the developers release rapidly and responsively so you will not be waiting months for news. One week in closed tested we had 7 days that saw three full new versions (with significant changes) as features came together and they responded to tester feedback. While that was a very busy week they have a track record of consistent and fast updates.
Posted: August 15
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51 of 65 people (78%) found this review helpful
2.1 hrs on record
Early Access Review
I'm voting this up only because the gameplay is actually really good. But I have to stress this game is bugged to hell. It crashes every 10 - 15 minutes, you can't save, so you basically always lose your progress, and if you pause sometimes the workers don't recover from it. A long way to go before we can call this a working game. I've logged a few tickets, but the game is good in terms of gameplay.
Posted: August 16
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231 of 364 people (63%) found this review helpful
1.6 hrs on record
Early Access Review
I had no food so everybody ate eachother.
Posted: August 18
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27 of 33 people (82%) found this review helpful
0.9 hrs on record
Early Access Review
This game is smashing fun and a tasty treat if I may say so! Jolly great fun!

My first game was like this:
I had a food problem until I toggled on hunting on for all work crews, the bison herd of 10 got turned into bloddy bits and eaten raw by the starving hungry people rather fast. Quickly ran out of food and had to provoke a fish people attack by stealing their egg to get extra food in the form of fish person steak. It was a success at the cost of half the colonys brave people, but the remaining colonists fed well in cannibalistic feasting on their dead fellow colonist so that helped with the food problem. The last 13 people was 40% solders so it might have been possible for me to have had a food industry based on fish people flesh. But sadly the game crashed as I tried to cram 8 beds into a small house. Great fun! Its shaping up to be a tasty treat if I may say so!
Posted: August 15
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69 of 112 people (62%) found this review helpful
0.6 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Really not yet (at least as of 18 August 2014). Really not for this price.

Gameplay is very similar to Towns. You have the same basic DF-lite build-your-production-engine-even-though-you-don't-directly-control-anyone kind of experience. There are what appear to be enhancements to the Towns model in the social class system and the work crew composition, as well as an interesting improvement in the way buildings can be customized and extended. There's no third dimension, which may prove to be a terrible mistake or may prove to be a brilliant simplification. There's also no documentation or tutorial, so you're sort of left to figure out what all of this stuff actually means yourself. It's also sluggish and prone to crashes, the UI's full of TBDs, and you can't save your game.

The style is engaging, the artwork is promising, the gameplay seems like it will eventually be tunable into something both fun and challenging. It's worth keeping your eye on this game. But it really only works sometimes, if you don't look at it too hard. And it's not a real game yet.

You can't blame them for turning to the Early Access model. I mean, that's money you don't have to pay back after you ship, why wouldn't you do that if you could? But the 30 dollar price point's going to generate a lot of buyers' remorse.
Posted: August 18
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