In light of the recent update, it's necessary I update my review with it, to maintain accuracy. The original contents are below.
The layout of the game lobby has improved dramatically. I was actually able to start a game through Single Player mode, fairly independent of the multiplayer lobby. That doesn't mean I actually had any idea how to play the game at that point, but it was a start.
I received comments that the issues in my previous review were resolved; they weren't. Not the main ones. I need to say, the lobby still doesn't seem user-friendly enough for newbies to join right in. The major unaddressed problem was the absence of documentation or instructions for the lobby, and now that I can start a game, a lack of game rules or a tutorial came into play too. If there are rules available somewhere, they aren't visible enough for me to find them. (If there are instructions on the Spring site, link 'em to me please.)
With the new update, the game has really upped its... game (snort). It’s much improved, but only relative to its ease to start with. There are legit unresolved problems that even the new update didn’t address, and are probably keeping the more inexperienced off of their doorstep. It's difficult because I really want to give this game a shot- but I've spent over two hours messing around with the game and lobby settings, and haven't even been able to blow anything up. I really need some direction for me to recommend this game, but for now it's too undeveloped for me to stick a “yes” on it.
I'm holding true to my promise that I would update this further.
So, this review has been getting reviewed pretty good. It attracted enough attention that even the developer came to my page! (This was my initial impression, before realizing that every negative review on the game was downvoted by this individual.)
To start, the first thing even close to help I received was the developer finding my review and labeling me as “not using my noggin” when dealing with in-game commands. I'm not holding grudges, our issues are resolved. However, nothing is laid out, and the service I've received by a helpful community member (and only a community member, that is, someone not responsible to the game itself) has been the only clarification. The lobby is scary, in-game less so, and it's all expected to be figured out by the player, as made evident by the developer. Apparently it was not just me who wasn't able to build something so simple as generators, which was seen as obvious and common sense during development and doesn't require explanation (however, the developer did design a very helpful piece of video tutorial, just for me, that can be found in the comments or here: http://www.twitch.tv/evolutionrts/b/524601270
– I feel loved).
So the service is garbage, if I can sum it up.
Shout-out to Paladin, for the help I did get. :)
--ORIGINAL TEXT-- 4/8/14
Note: This is not a review of the gameplay itself, and you'll find out why in a second.
The download for the game is simply a download for a game lobby.
OH GOD WHY.
I hung around for around 25 minutes trying to figure out how to just start a game. The Terms of Service for the Spring Engine lobby were easy to read, props for that. Other than that, there was no documentation/instructions for getting you familiar/set up/started, and the layout of the lobby featured tabs and whatnot that remained completely unexplained because of it. Apparently I needed to downoad game files from an obscure site location to start a game. I found this out after I made a feeble attempt at starting a match. DENIED. What's even worse is that, for some reason, you have to join a multiplayer game to get the downlaods available to you. If this all sounds vague, it's because it was.
I chatted with another equally confused player (probably from Steam as well) who was just about to head out when I beat him to the door.
Granted, I would need longer to experiment with the lobby and learn how to start a game, but that was time I didn't have (a LOT of time I don't have). I instead spent my time writing a review. So there.
Overall, gameplay not included, this is not designed for casual gamers who do not posess preobtained knowledge of how game lobbies work. This game won't be worth it to me until the setup is unobscured and clarified.