5 Of The Best Early Access Games - August 2014

Written by Jon Sutton on Sat, Aug 2, 2014 3:00 PM
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Early Games are often treated like the underdogs of the gaming world. These unfinished games can get a lot of stick for the very fact they’re unfinished, while some never see a final release at all. Buried beneath the hordes of Early Access titles on Steam are some total gems though, games which are worth investigating as early as possible.

Getting involved when a game first hits Early Access is a direct opportunity to provide some feedback and shape a game’s development, or even to get a headstart in the game’s multiplayer so you know its ins and outs at launch. Here we take a look at some of the best Early Access titles available to play on Steam right now.

Prison Architect

People have served entire sentences for murder in the vast abyss of time that Prison Architect has been doing the rounds, evidenced by the appearance of not one, not two, but 23 trailers for Prison Architect on the Steam Store. One for every alpha release of this hugely promising management strategy title.

Impressions of Prison Architect are almost without fault, but Uplink and Darwinia veterans Introversion Software can’t seem to stop adding more content. What is there already is a hilarious throwback to management sims of old, as you build and keep control of a bunch of rowdy inmates in a maximum security prison. Rowdy inmates with a penchant for shivving. Updates are absolutely constant for Prison Architect so this is a must-have for those interested in hopping into an Early Access.

Sunless Sea

It’s still pretty early days for Sunless Sea, but it’s difficult to argue that is a unique and visually arresting project. Tasked with taking the helm of your customised steamship, you must sail through the gothic universe of Fallen London. Lose your mind. Eat your crew.

While sailing across the brooding landscapes you must keep insanity at bay, hugging the light for fear of your own crew becoming cannibalistic savages. The combination of real-time and pausable combat opens the doors for some tight and factical nautical battles.

Developer Failbetter Games has in fact just released the first major update for Sunless Sea, which includes totally random map generation, additional landing spots and story elements, while a future update is scheduled to bring in a host of combat improvements.

Next Car Game

I’ve been plugging away at this since grabbing an Early Access code back in January, and this is sure to be a corker. From the team that brought you FlatOut and FlatOut 2, they’ve gone on to developer a next-generation physics and destruction engine that is truly a sight to behold.

Updates are a little on the slow side in Next Car Game and this little in the way of actual content yet, but for occasionally booting up and having a destructive blast in its absolutely mental destruction derby Next Car Game is second to none.

Up to 24 cars can get involved in the action which already runs butter-smooth, and the wreckage lying across the tracks during the traditional race events a sight to behold. Just making it to the end of three laps in one piece is challenge enough, let alone getting the chequered flag.

The Golf Club

In the absence of EA’s Tiger Woods series The Golf Club has stepped in to a clean up. Looking at the state it so far, EA’s loss could most definitely be HB Studios’ gain. The Golf Club is looking absolutely ridiculous from a visual standpoint, offering up a meticulous level of detail and greens so crisp you can see the individual blades of grass.

The Golf Club tops it all off by featuring a fully fledged and easy-to-use course editor, allowing you and your mates to create your own totally unique designs and share them, or use them for tournaments. In essence, it looks great, and a course editor totally beats forking out a $5 a pop for a ‘new’ course from EA. There's no official license here unfortunately, so if you want your own cigar-chomping Spaniard you'll have to get creating. 

Ultimate General: Gettysburg

It feels like daylight robbery picking up Ultimate General: Gettysburg for $10, but that’s how much it costs so there you go. Ultimate General: Gettysburg is a nod back to the strategy games of yesteryear, while bringing in some revolutionary new features, including some of the most complete contract mechanics seen in a strategy game and battles involved thousands upon thousands of units.

Much of Gettysburg is like the tactical battles of the Total War series, although detailed mapping and historical layouts mean this is one war that is as accurate as possible. Developer Game-Labs claim Ultimate general Gettysburg is very nearly finished, with the team just gaining a bit of feedback from players ahead of a full-blown launch.

Have you got any of these Early Access titles a go, what do you think of them? Any other Early Access greats we might have overlooked? Let us know below!

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01:54 Aug-04-2014

Where is Rust and Space Engineers? XD

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18:18 Aug-02-2014

What? Where did Unturned go?

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02:20 Aug-03-2014

ikr

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16:30 Aug-02-2014

What about robocraft? It's such a great concept with a lot of potential, and it's free to play with a very fair model that's not pay to win.

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15:06 Aug-03-2014

Except that the devs screwed it up with this last patch

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16:28 Aug-02-2014

The AI in Ultimate General is phenomenal compared to the Total War AI. It's made by the same person who made the Darth mod for Total War.

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16:06 Aug-02-2014

"24 cars can get involved in the action which already runs butter-smooth" not so butter-smooth when looking on intense action at the arena it drops to 45fps, and I got above average cpu (the arena is not really gpu demanding as other tracks

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16:05 Aug-02-2014

I know it's been released for a while now, but I think The Forest is an amazing early access game.

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10:09 Aug-09-2014

Yeah but theres so many other early access games you like the forest and even better. The forest sales are only becouse of pewds

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15:55 Aug-02-2014

what about kerbal space programe

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15:43 Aug-02-2014

What about Assetto Corsa?

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