When I think of procedurally generated survival games like Farworld Pioneers, a few standouts immediately come to mind. Of course, Minecraft is the big one that is a household name, with games like No Man’s Sky and Terraria just a little behind it.
However, with some insanely dedicated communities, those games have soared, and with that, we have some outstanding games that have taken inspiration from those and spun off into their own thing—specifically Starbound. Taking the Terraria formula of a 2D sprite-based survival game with more focused adventure with goals, making a finer point to flesh out a story, and mixing in the ability to explore space, it was a wonder when it released in early access in 2013 and its final release in 2016.
Farworld Pioneers looks to be that next evolution to the procedurally generated survival game. This time we will explore all corners of outer space, visit alien planets, try to thrive, and build up a colony of pioneers. This can be played either in online multiplayer, PVP, or single-player. All my experiences and thoughts will be expressed through the lens of someone playing it single-player, as I am sure Farwolrd Pioneers would play much differently with friends.
With an incredible amount of talent behind it, the team over at Igloosoft Games has quite an impressive history, with some of the team working on games like Ultimate Chicken Horse and RimWorld, Gnomoria, and Starbound. So when I saw that paired with the gameplay of Farworld Pioneers, I was ecstatic. Games in this 2D survival genre are my happy place, so needless to say; expectations were high.
Farworld Pioneers drops you into a tutorial right when you start to help you learn the mechanics of building, crafting, and ordering your fellow pioneers around. It caps it all off by giving you the knowledge that there is an in-game tool tip that, when clicked, you can ask what to do next. It is a very well-thought-out tutorial for the majority of its newer systems. However, my biggest issue is that it expects the player to have more than a base knowledge of how these survival games work. Farworld Pioneers wants an extensive background in them.
Almost immediately, you will get flashing notifications that you have a colonist needing a bed and food. I was nearly an hour in before I found out how to make a bed, and to this point, I do not understand why it tells me that my colonists are hungry if they automatically go to the cold storage and grab some food. It is an undue stress put on players while they are trying to explore and figure some stuff out on their own. This is a tip for Farworld Pioneer’s new players: Check your crashed ship because you have a gun, ammo, and a knife.
“This is a tip for Farworld Pioneer’s new players: Check your crashed ship because you have a gun, ammo, and a knife.”
This will help when after the first day, you might get hit by raiders and have a bunch of knocked-out colonists with no idea how to help them. Or when these giant slug worms start attacking spawning colonists who just happen to be too close, and they start chasing you and ultimately diminishing your health. This is partly due to the game’s overly clunky moving system. It never feels as good or smooth as other games in this genre, like Terraria or Starbound. During the opening hour, the aiming of what I was trying to mine or hit was off just ever so slightly. This could be because it is more physics-based than other games like this.
A glaring issue with the game’s UI is that it needs to be cleaner. There is so much happening at one time in Farworld Pioneers that I found it hard to be able to hit that groove you get when you turn that corner into understanding and overcoming your obstacles. To add onto that, there almost seems like there may be too many systems trying to butt up against each other to make it a good experience for a solo player.
“There is so much happening at one time in Farworld Pioneers that I found it hard to be able to hit that groove you get when you turn that corner into understanding and overcoming your obstacles.”
Having to deal in real-time with giving mining commands, crafting commands, building commands, and farming commands while simultaneously dealing with hunger, sleep, and an ever-crushing raider force, I always seemed to be fighting with each of these systems instead of finding the one that works for me. Not to mention there is a sort of levelling system for your colonists as they get better at carrying out tasks when they keep at the same job for so long. Now if it’s meant to be that you only need to choose one system to focus on instead of spreading yourself thin, then I wish that was communicated better.
That being said, there is something that is always very exciting about blasting off into space and landing on a new world. Is it enough to save from the rest of the mechanics? No, but it covers up a lot of hurt.
Ultimately, Farworld Pioneers was a big upset. I was let down between so many systems clashing up against each other and a less-than-stellar feel of movement and combat. Other games in this genre sometimes take a few updates to really find themselves, and I hope the same will be said for Farworld Pioneers. However, I am still holding out hope for the console release.