Data Realms made a name for themselves with Cortex Command. The game managed to garner more than 1.7 million downloads and it gave Data Realms a decent bit of momentum heading into the release of their game Planetoid Pioneers, which spent some time roosting in the Early Access section of Steam leading up to its February 8th release.
While the game received some strong feedback during Early Access from gamers who managed to get in some time with it, the graduation from Early Access hasn’t gone over quite so well for Data Realms and Planetoid Pioneers.
The full game is available right now for gamers to purchase over on the Steam store for $19.99.
The launch trailer is below.
While the game’s concept of escaping a planet themed around physics-based interactions seems cool, the major issue is that in practice it hasn’t quite turned out the way a lot of gamers expected.
You’ll notice that the current review quota shows a “Mixed” reaction from the Steam community, this is coming off a “Mostly Positive” reaction that gamers had to the title while it was still in development, indicating that it may have needed a few more months to cook in the oven of Early Access.
So what exactly is the problem with Planetoid Pioneers? It’s not quite a litany of issues, but there are complaints about a lack of content outside of the main mission planet, a lack of intuitive controls, and overall a lack of objectives.
User Nameless explains…
“This game took great steps in its art style, music and physics but took 10 steps back everywhere else. There is NOTHING after the main “game”.
[…] “This game is another Cortex Command but even more limited and boring. You can’t destroy the map, only entities. You can’t customize anything, you’re just told to make more stuff in the creator yourself by the devs. The final insult is that there’s no fun here.”
Now there are 10 or so mini-games included, but most state that they aren’t very intuitive or in-depth, nor do they add much to the replayability.
The developers didn’t agree with Nameless’ review, and objected to some of his conclusions, but nearly 450 other people found Nameless’ review helpful. So keep that in mind.
Nalyr_ complained about the controls not working, but also reiterated the complaints made by Nameless, stating that the game gets boring too quick since there’s nothing to do after completing the main game…
“Controls still don’t work, just like Cortex Command. Unlike Cortex Command, the game has no elements that make me want to keep playing. The enemies are boring, they just bump into you and swipe your gun. There’s nothing exciting in the beginning that draws me to keep playing. It’s just so unappealing.”
Freesider and a couple of others also had identical complaints, noting that the controls were difficult to handle and it made playing difficult, and that there were a lot of bugs they encountered, which dampened the fun…
“Cortex Command all over again but worse. Controlling the character is terrible, it just won’t stand still for a second. Every speck of dust on the ground makes you stumble and fall. The game progressed very slowly, with many bugs like tooltips never going away. 20 FPS max all the time on a 2D game with nothing happening on the screen. The physics is also terrible, everything is always bumping and jittering around.”
Just ahead of the game’s release, there were a few telltale signs that the launch wasn’t going to go entirely smoothly, as a few people made comments that while the game’s release date was nearing the Early Access version still felt incomplete. Many of the earlier Early Access reviews praised the game’s concept and possibilities, but drawing close to launch seemed to diminish any alacrity some fans had for the project.
Now this isn’t to say that everyone dislikes it. Some people are having fun with Planetoid Pioneers, stating that it’s a couple of hours worth of mindless fun with co-op and multiplayer functionality to keep things entertaining.
Maybe with a few patches and updates Planetoid Pioneers might be able to win over the gamers who still have mixed feelings about it. As mentioned, the game is available for $19.99 on the Steam store and on the Humble Bundle store.