Volcanoids is a delightful first-person survival game with a lot of moving parts and rich veins of world building, development and artistry. This is a game I could see my friends and I losing hours on in the blink of an eye. I quite frankly cannot wait to see where this game goes with its full release, and here is why.
Watching the trailer of this game got me interested immediately. Opening with a volcanic eruption to hook you in, then keeping you there with the unique steampunk design of the world. I knew I had to play it, and I was not disappointed. The game opens with an extremely comprehensive cutscene explaining that you are a previous inhabitant of a now forsaken island overrun by frequent volcanic eruptions as well as robotic creatures known as COGs. You have returned to the island some time later with your grizzled captain in your badass steampunk submarine to reclaim your land.
Getting Started in Single-Player
I began my time on the island with the essentials: a wrench, a pickax, a revolver and some med packs. After some questing, new recipes for better tools, weapons and building schematics became available to me. I was even able to put turrets on my drill ship to help me protect my home from invading COGs while I was out resource gathering! How cool is that? Of course, turrets are not the only customization I had available to me, I also had the power to expand, customize and decorate my drill ship to my heart’s content. Placing customization items was a little tricky for me at first, as you can only place items in designated areas. However, Volcanoids does give you a handy little ghost outline of the items you are placing in customization mode so you can see how things will look once they are done, and for a visual person like me this made the feature much more attractive.
Unlike many other survival games, like The Forest, Green Hell, Ark, etc., the only thing you have to worry about here is keeping your health up and watching your stamina bar as you hurl yourself from one side of the island to the other, gathering materials and popping any COGs that are unlucky enough to come across you. This is something that I personally appreciate, as I can hardly keep track of my own body’s food and water intake, let alone my character’s. However the stress of keeping yourself fed and hydrated is replaced by the stress of an ever-impending volcanic eruption. Every half-hour or so you must return to your submarine or your drill ship and brace for the impact of the volcano’s magma fury, so try not to get too lost adventuring!
This game is currently in Early Access and was released January 29, 2019 on Steam. Volcanoid, the developers, are planning to keep the game in Early Access for at least two years and are continuing to rework it and add new content regularly. In fact, they have just recently released a massive update that enables four player co-op game play, so now you can navigate and reclaim your homeland with the help of a good buddy! Volcanoid’s co-op system is easy and intuitive. Once the game is loaded, simply click “New Game” and select from the three multiplayer options of Public Multiplayer, Friends Multiplayer or Custom Multiplayer and get started reclaiming your land and pilfering resources back from the COGs with your new crew!
No friends online, but you don’t want to play alone? Select the “Join Game” option and choose from a list of currently active multiplayer games. The in-game text chat makes it easy to communicate and make new friends as well as delegate work. The on-screen quest log allows you to see what your crew is working on and what needs to be done. When playing in multiplayer all resources, items and machines that are not currently in your inventory are available for use to anyone playing in your session, making it easy to split your team into hunters and gatherers, and defenders and builders.
Once you and your crew are ready, you must work together to fully upgrade your drill ship and travel to three separate areas of the map to destroy enemy drill ships at three separate lava sources before taking on the final battalion of drill ships within the core of the Volcano. As most survival games are, Volcanoids can be repetitive in nature. You gather resources, build and upgrade machines, defend your drillship from nefarious COGs, and burrow underground to survive eruptions. However, the world is incredibly open for exploration. Discover new areas above and underground to your heart’s content as you rid your reclaimed home of the mechanical varmints that now occupy it and rebuild your society one drillship component at a time.
Volcanoids is incredibly reasonably priced at only $19.99. And for the amount of love, care and hard work that has obviously gone into it, it is absolutely worth a try if you are into first-person survival adventures of any kind. The gameplay can become a bit monotonous at times as the game’s narrative is fairly single-minded. I would like to see more event situations throughout the game, or at least more variations of enemies and equipment for your character and not only the drillship. Another frustration of the game came with its multiplayer function. Matchmaking is still buggy, and disconnections are frequent while matchmaking. However, this is a symptom of any new update. Volcanoids does, however, have a unique story and setting for survival and is straightforward with its missions and end goal. Some more tweaking and updates and Volcanoids will surely become a survival fanatics favorite. As for now, my overall rating of the game sits at a solid 3/5.