Platform - PC
Release Date -
Should you play this - Absolutely
The survival game genre has exploded since Minecraft arrived on the seen, since then we've gotten hundreds of games that strive to compete with it. ECO is unique in that it takes the best bits of Minecraft and a few other games to not only give us a fresh spin on the survival game but also teach us an important lesson; we need to care about the environment.
This game is unlike any other survival game I've played, period. A lot of us in the Tavern describe it best as a mix of Minecraft, ARK and Eve Online. The premise of the game is interesting because it has a clear and set end game objective, survive the end of the world. Once you start the game, you have a set of tutorials that give you starting gear that explains to you the very basic gameplay elements the game has to offer. One of the tutorials is to spot something in the sky. That something in the sky is a giant meteor in orbit around the planet, when you focus on it; the meteor has a countdown starting at 30 days. You have 30 days in actual real-life time to prevent or survive the impact, or die trying. There's a catch though; resources aren't infinite with an environment that is dynamic and alive. Meaning, if you cut down all the trees to make a sprawling city, you might die of lack of food and oxygen before the meteor has a chance to kill you. Everything in the world is part of an equation that keeps itself in balance. It's the circle of life.
One thing that I always loved/hated about survival games is buildings. I love building them, but they're almost always useless. In Eco though, buildings survive actual in-game purposes other than looking cool. For example, to get into masonry, you need to build a masonry table. For that table to function it has to be enclosed inside a room, a room with 4 walls and a roof. As you get into the more complex elements of the game, so do the building requirements for certain stations and machines. The only way to unlock the skills to use a profession is by spending skill points, which you only gain over time. The average time is about 24 skill points a day, or 1 skill point an hour. Yes, skill points attained through actual hours. You can boost this skill rate by keeping your diet balanced and by having a well-furnished house. Food is another feature this game does better than other survival games. You have to eat a mix of carbs, far, vitamins and protein to be at peak health, work efficiently and get the most skill points per day.
The game is still very much in the Alpha phase, so it seems like listing its flaws is a disservice to how amazing this game is. The game performance is buggy, but nowhere near as bad as other Alpha games we've played. The trade system needs a lot of work, and I feel that the skill tree could be fleshed out to be a bit clearer as to what each profession does.
I feel that the message the game tries to convey is simple but extremely important, especially in this day in age with rising pollution levels and climate change being ignored. The simple yet important message is, be responsible with your resources. The meteor showing up every day in the sky, getting larger as the clock winds down does a good job of giving you a sense of urgency and importance to what you're doing. Meanwhile, whilst also looking around you and seeing either lots of green or baren and empty fields. All in all, this is a game that I HIGHLY recommend you get if you're into the survival/building genre, game is only in its early stages and it’s only getting better.
Thinking of picking the game up? Already have it? Let us know in the comments. We're currently playing on a public server but are more than willing to start up our own private one if we get enough people interested.