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A quest to conquer an ever growing backlog of games.

Backlog Review | Core Keeper

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I think it’s safe to say that everyone’s survival skills have been put to the test at least once in their life, especially in the last few years alone! It’s just about figuring out what you need vs what you want and doing whatever you can to strike a balance, right? You gotta do what you gotta do. Whether it’s finding your happy place through meditation or fighting off a gigantic, glowing worm in a mysterious cavern, we’re all just out here trying to hit that survival sweet spot!

In case the “giant glowing worm” part didn’t confuse the heck out of you I was referring to playing Core Keeper. Where doing what you gotta do to survive is par for the course. This smash hit from Pugstorm and Fireshine Games has you buried deep beneath the ground all alone (or with up to 7 friends) where you must unlock the secrets of a mysterious core. Friends or not, there’s no one to hold your hand through this as you get plunged right into a shadowy, enigmatic adventure all about staying alive.

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The first thing that got my blood pumping when I booted up Core Keeper for the first time was the kick ass artstyle. I love good pixel art and this stuff is fan-freaking-tastic! The more I saw the more my mind was blown to smithereens, especially when I got a glimpse of the bosses. Then each one proceeded to crush me like a bug, but it’s ok. I always enjoyed the trek back to collect my adorable little gravestone and over encumbered inventory full of random stuff. Though it did usually involve me getting distracted halfway there, tunneling off in a different direction, finding something new and having to force myself to get back to the task at hand. Rinse and repeat until I finally bested the boss..

I really appreciate the attention to detail the devs have had so far from everything I’ve seen. And I don’t just mean the art work, but also the quality of life things that can honestly make or break a game of this style. Things like decent durability on weapons, the ability to repair armor, and of course, a wide variety of things to collect and discover to keep the game fresh even after having played for tens of hours. Or more, certainly no judgement from me there!

I can’t say I have much to complain about at this point other than I just want more. Which I guess really isn’t a complaint at all is it? But, seriously the game seems to be in a pretty solid and well thought out state so far and I’m very much looking forward to future updates.

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There was a surprising amount offered in this early release with apparently quite a bit more on the way. Each time you start up a map it is procedurally generated so you never quite know what you’re going to get each time. There’s also a good variety of biomes and enemies in each one. I think there is plenty of content available already that you could easily be occupied for a long time. Well worth the $13 currently being asked and I’ve no doubt it will be worth whatever they decide to ask upon final release – within reason of course.

Since it’s still in Early Access there is obviously a cut off point where you can’t progress any further, but everything up until that point is pretty much feature complete. I didn’t encounter any bugs or glitches on either of my playthroughs and the controls, whether you are using a mouse and keyboard or a controller are solid and thoughtfully mapped. Base building is definitely a little less efficient with a controller, but eh – c’est la vie.

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I will be eagerly awaiting the full release of Core Keeper with bated breath. These kinds of games are my comfort food and I know I’ll be back time and time again to replay it and see what’s new. I’d say to anyone who enjoys games like Minecraft, Terraria, Graveyard Keeper, and the like, this is a game worth sinking your teeth into. Wishlist and/or buy right now! It’s only getting better and it’s already pretty dang good.

If you’re interested in checking out Core Keeper for yourself, the Early Access build is available right now on Steam.