(Written during Version 0.45)
Through making some poor choices, I've learned to be incredibly specious of Early Access games. I've purchased quite a few that have looked promising (and even WERE promising), only to find my initial investment squandered due to the developer(s) not following up on their initial design ideas, or, in two cases, all but abandoning their game completely.
To add to that anecdote, I never caught the "Minecraft bug." I'm not very artistic, so the idea of an open world where you just GO did not appeal to me. Terraria approached the middle ground that I could see myself enjoying, but this...
Signs of Life is my mecca.
There are some very unique, well thought-out aspects of the game that really lend to helping it carve out its own identity in the mire of "sandbox" games that have been popping up as of late. From the clever M.E.G. tool that you use to collect resources, to the trial-and-error method of discovering new items to craft, Signs of Life very aptly toes the line between being accessible to the player and patronizing them.
As you progress throughout the game, the developers have managed to create an atmosphere of discovery that is almost completely organic: the more you do and the more you explore, the more you will learn. That being said, there are a few aspects of the crafting system that aren't very intuitive (@Devs: perhaps a classification system for certain items could help new players to know what can and can't be used as fuel). This is, of course, where the Early Access part of the game comes in, and community involvement is a crucial part.
The developers are, thankfully, not at all like those mentioned at the beginning of this review. I have seen developer responses within the *HOUR* of an issue becoming known on the forums, and that in and of itself is one damned impressive feat.
+ Wonderful art design; color schemes are fantastic
+ The soundtrack is haunting, hypnotizing, and cathartic
+ Excellent flow in the crafting system, save for a few bumps here and there
+ The world is alive and makes you naturally want to explore
- Some clipping issues in the terrain (my head would get stuck in 99% of cases)
- Dodge / roll mechanic can be bothersome when trying to make minute adjustments in positioning
- Overlapping inventory system DRIVES ME ABSOLUTELY BANANA SANDWICH I WILL TYPE IN ALL CAPS FOR THIS
- (This last point isn't a negative, but it is because I want more story, please.)
For $10, you're making EXCELLENT use of your money.