Preview: The Kindred
It’s really no secret that colony management or base survival games are a ton of fun and they’re very clearly becoming more and more popular. I would say that is pretty evident in the fact that RPGs are even starting to include that aspect as part of the bigger game (See Fallout 4 and the various insanities people have managed with that system for reference).
The Kindred does not entirely present a new concept, however, it does a great job of doing things that differentiate it from the other games currently available in the genre. I’m all for what this game is doing for the most part but with it still being in early access, a lot of the mechanisms are still in the bare-bones phase. That said, I can see this game has clear potential and I’m going to do my goddamn best to relay the kind of work the developers down at Persistent Studios (fitting) are putting into it.
Firstly, let me get into the mechanics of the gameplay. The game starts you up with a voxel generated world where you control little humanoids called Kin which basically run your bidding. Things like building, mining, even sheparding are included with tools required for certain tasks and a leveling system indicated by a little grid on the character sheet which helps you decide who’s best suited for what. The world itself can be played on one of three difficulties (easy-hard) which determines the amount of resources you start out with initially. You also get a pick from 5 world sizes before you can translocate and start your colony.
The main menu has a “Getting Started” dialogue box which operates as the basic tutorial with information on the controls and available tasks you can overlook in the game. Once you actually start up the game, the only direction you seem to get is a little check list on the right side of the screen with advice and in-games items you need to complete. There are also little boxes that pop up on the top left to indicate what might be missing or hindering your colony. Now the reason I went into detail about this a little in particular is because it is one of the main discrepancies I have with the game. While there are veterans in this particular game type, thrown into the game in that format without prior knowledge of how it works, in my opinion, makes it a lot less accessible. Having to pop back to the main menu every now and then just to check what you can cover or even just the controls can present a bit of an issue. You’re basically stuck with a number of idol Kins and a ton of confusion till you click around enough to figure out the game menu or you pop into some helpful screening of gameplay.
The game itself contains a number of great concepts as I previously mentioned that set it apart from the rest including the electricity generation mechanism and the first person mode (which kind of turns it into a little sim game partly). The aspects of it that are still being update it include the mining, farming, crafting, building and power generation systems which leaves you currently with little do besides terraforming and building a sustainable base. This doesn’t diminish from you having fun with the game but the more interesting aspects that truly will make this game shine are still being updated. That along with the fact that the interface itself is a bit basic and doesn’t work for the convenience of the player as of yet, gave me a bit of a rough start with the game initially. Some of the things I enjoyed, even if they weren’t entirely flushed out yet was the ability to create things like farms, the character connections, the food crafting system and the day cycles which factor in the character behavior.
Even though the game is still in early access, it is pretty darn beautiful and this is despite me straight up pointing out that I’m not the biggest fan of voxels and the epidemic they’ve started. The game still maintains a rather endearing color spectrum and decent visuals even if you play on the lower graphic options. The land generated itself is pretty dynamic with you either lurking out with a level field or a more multilevel landscape that you would need to work on more. The various trees, plants and creatures are basic but have their own little characteristics that set them apart. The characters even have speech boxes that provide a cute little extra thing to add to the attachment.
The music is nothing revolutionary but definitely enjoyable. The best thing I can compare it to; is RPG inn music combined with mobile app farming games. It’s great and it works, I don’t feel the need to mute it, so there’s that.
One of the best things the developers do however with this game isn’t entirely tied to the concept itself but rather the way they interact with the community. Patches and dev diaries are littered all over everything, including the main menu and the dedicated game wiki page they have set up. The interactions on the steam forums are thorough with feedback is taken into account. This works especially well for this game as the number of people in the early access as of now seems to be substantial enough to give pointers on the direction they would like to see the game develop. Highlighting aspects such as the auto-pilot systems of the Kins that they would like to improve on or things that can be added within the existing mechanisms. You can very noticeably see the direction they intend to take and complexity the game is thriving to.
I can definitely see myself taking this game up like it’s a career choice once it’s closer to completion and I’m all around very excited to see how the devs take this as well as how much of the community input they decide to include. I would not suggest this game (yet) to people who aren’t already big on the genre with a developed understanding of how things work. On the other hand, if you want to invest in the early access as support, that is a very sound decision. That aside, if you happen to already have the knowledge under your belt, by all means, jump on board, have fun and watch this game grow. I highly recommend it.
The Kindred was previewed using a PC Early Access code provided by Persistent Studios.The full version of the game will include more building materials, several options for power generation, more farming options (crops and livestock), unique biomes, predators, Kin families, health, medicine and much more. You can support the Kindred team by getting instant access and start playing in the Early Access when purchasing the game on Steam. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published.