Saturday, March 7, 2015

The sandbox co-op greatness that is Planet Explorers

I am forever in the search of something awesome for online co-op. For a while we've been playing 7 Days to Die, but damn, they really messed up the zombie spawning with the latest patch - the game is still in alpha though, so I'm sure it'll get sorted in the near future, but now, the game is rather annoying to play. Not fun to actually see a zombie pop into existence in front of you. You can never clear an area of zombies and be safe, because if you turn around a new one will be right there ready to rip your face off.

Don't get me wrong, I am crazy about 7 Days to Die, and when it'll finally get fully released will be a glorious day, but that day is not now, I'm sad to say...

Things I like about it - survival, crafting, fighting, building, rpg, loot and most importantly, co-op. So, for now, my fix is coming from a rather overlooked gem that has been out there for quite some time - Planet Explorers.

Now, I haven't put in tons of hours into the game just yet (gaming time is preciously little these days), but the game is huge, and it has all of the above elements. Just last night my buddy and I played a game over the internet - at first I thought it's gonna take the usual 3 hours to get the game running, but I was extremely surprised that it took around 10 minutes to get going. And boy does it run smoothly over the net! It really felt like we were in the same room! No LAG (something that usually troubled us in 7DTD) and no game breaking bugs to speak of! It did entailed some port forwarding on my ADSL router, but after that, the game connected very easily!

So, more info about the game - I'll mostly talk about multiplayer co-op for this post, as I haven't played the single player a great deal yet (but I most definitely will!). It was just two of us, and we opted for a huge map - in the line of 40x40km! Our first task was to find each other, which luckily didn't take too much effort (you can see each other's coordinates)... Anyway, here's what we did:

1. Needed armor and weapons, so chopped down some trees to make tools (shovel and pickaxe)

2. Used scanner in the game to look for Copper, found some very close to our starting location.

3. Started digging and gathered huge amount of copper - side note: what I love about this game is it doesn't take FOREVER to get enough materials to make something - in a few minutes we both had over 500 units of copper! One hit with the axe easily digs up 20 or so pieces of copper - awesome!

4. Made a bow, and then some arrows because without the arrows the bow doesn't really work.

5. Wanted to make armor, but we needed animal skin for that - off to do some hunting...

6. Died a few times - the native wildlife can be quite powerful, especially the fireball spewing bears!

7. Finally get enough skin to make the armor, and we make the armor.

8. We are now relatively safe with our new armor and weaponry, so off we head to find even more precious metals to forge even better armor with...

9. We discover some silver, and mine some. We make better armor (after hunting some more animals for their precious hides that is!)!

10. After searching for another while we find a huge coal deposit and mark it on the map. Also Oil. And we find a small patch of gold - it's enough for gold armor, but we need steel to go with it. You make steel from Iron obviously, and wood. We go in search for the Iron.

11. Carrying on like this, we eventually end up with the Iron we need, and make the gold equipment.

12. My buddy goes into the in-game editor and starts fabricating a vehicle for us. Yes, you make the vehicle from scratch in this game, which is beyond awesome! Yup, the size, shape, where the lights go, the seats, pretty much everything!

13. While he's busy doing that, I go in search of Oil, which we'll need to run our car... I find some, and gather a whole bunch.

14. We see a red dot on the map, and find ourselves intrigued.

15. It's a giant spinning tentacle tower behemoth of a boss monster, and we quickly run away like that cowards we are - we barely escape with our lives. We make a note to not go near red dots on the map - they're bad!

16. The car is finished, but we struggle to actually craft it, and after some Googling we figure it out. I craft the car. It has two seats. And a HUGE freaking gun! We explore and find another biome. There are trees there that light up at night - it's beautiful!

17. We start searching for Aluminium and eventually find some. Why do we need the Aluminium you ask? We want to build a base of course.

18. My buddy says he needs marble to build the base, so I go mine some. We craft the necessary base units (power generator, storage area, repair bay, etc).

19. He builds the base structure - I build SENTRY GUNS. GATLING SENTRY GUNS. IT'S AWESOME!!

20. I lure all kinds of strong and strange animals into the line of fire and I laugh loudly as my multiple-barreled sentry guns make mince meat out of each one that comes too close.

21. Time to make some energy weapons - for that we need batteries - for that we need Zinc. We deploy our car again, and go out looking for the Zinc. We find some, and make ourselves some energy blasters.

22. That's it for the night.

Damn that was beyond fun! And to think, the game is still in alpha - I cannot believe what these guys have managed to create already. Yes, the game has a rather slow start, but damn, once it gets going it's just so much fun!

I can't wait for the final product, which they said will be this year (2015) some time maybe (hopefully!) - but the game is very very playable and extremely stable, and it has everything you want in a game - beautiful graphics, looting, vehicles (that you can make from scratch or download community made ones!), mining, crafting, gathering, building, dying, fighting, eating, sleeping, digging, driving around, flying around, building a colony (not fully implemented in multiplayer yet though), farming, planting, decorating. It's the perfect combination for an extremely good time!

Support them by Buying Planet Explorers on Steam

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