Aground (PC) Review
• Release Date: August 8th, 2018 (Early Release)
• Developer: Fancy Fish Games
• Platform: PC, MAC OS, Linux
• Price: $9.99
Is your idea of a good time being stranded on a deserted island surrounded by hostile wildlife and (of course) mysterious human inhabitants with unknown agendas? If so Aground is for you. Aground is a progressive world builder with deceptively simple gameplay. Despite appearances, it isn’t just a building or crafting game. It has building, it has crafting, but also throws in some RPG elements just to spice things up. Since the Early release version was turned loose last August it has earned rave reviews and according to Steam 2.5 million players. Let’s take a look and see if it lives up to the hype.
I was not optimistic when I first looked at Aground. My first impression was that it was yet another crafting game. I was expecting a Terraria clone with the cast of Gilligan’s Island added because the developer has an insatiable Mrs. Howell fetish.
But appearances can be deceiving behind the clichéd retro graphics, and familiar art style lurks a well-designed game of surprising depth. In this game you will need to do more than shake-down chipmunks for acorns to survive, you’re going to work a bit and run into some fantasy and science fiction elements as you go.
Aground is played on a 2d side scrolling stage and has a simple, straightforward interface. It makes up for this simplicity with a surprisingly deep progression in crafting and exploration. At first, you are only gathering sticks trying to keep the rain off, and pretty soon you’ve met other survivors of the same “crash” that brought you to the island, each with a specialty; builder, farmer, miner, etc. They will guide you along by presenting proposals for whatever building they think should be constructed next and telling you what they need to get started. As you explore you find additional survivors and exciting things to do. I won’t give too much away, but this is where the fantasy and Sci-Fi elements come into play. As you progress, you will develop new technology and travel to new Islands as you try to find your way home. It also plays the story close the vest, doling out information in bits and pieces allowing you to think you’re doing your own thing but keeping you subtlety locked to the linear story.
The fact that the game is in early release shouldn’t scare anyone off, the completed portion is well worth the price. On top of this, you can try it out for free via the demo before you plop down good coins.
Bottom line, it’s a very well designed and thought out game that is suitable for mega gamers and casual types as well. I will be waiting when additional content is released.
• Surprising depth.
• Minor occasional control issues.