The survival genre has grown a lot in popularity over the past two years, and ROKH takes that concept to Mars. Its sci-fi approach can now be enjoyed through Steam’s early access program, which we used as the basis for this preview.
What we know
The team behind ROKH features the talents of Viktor Antonov and Randy Smith, whose credits include Half Life 2, Dishonored and Thief. It’s a very different type of game though, as the focus of ROKH is on multiplayer survival in a hostile and new environment – as you try to create a thriving colony on the surface of the red planet.
Featuring high quality visuals powered by the Unreal Engine 4, the game also prides itself on a certain degree of scientific accuracy, but a lot of these aspects (such as the intricacies of growing food on Mars) won’t be visible until later in the early access phase. For now, base crafting seems to be the most well-developed part of the game.
Later on, we should also see combat mechanics and hacking being introduced, which should make the gameplay a lot more diverse in this open and persistent world where players can cooperate and/or work against each other.
What we saw
We played the game’s early access version, which received several updates in the weeks following its launch. In recent weeks, the updates have been less regular – but this could be due to the fact that it’s summer. Another reason why we’re now (in early August) playing a version that’s about a month old is that technical issues required a rollback to a previous game version and a re-shift in focus by the team – on which we’ll touch more below.
What we thought
It feels as though we’re way too early in ROKH’s development to form an accurate opinion on the game. A lot of game elements, although promising, aren’t there yet – and technical issues are too frequent to fully enjoy the base building portions that are included. Stability problems have been reported by a lot of players, especially when trying new things or venturing into new areas. Luckily, this has been addressed by the team behind the game, who are now focused on fixing the elements they have in place instead of just expanding the experience.
Unfortunately this means that ROKH did not make a good first impression on the community in its first weeks, which is a shame seeing as how the team’s goals are so ambitious and the visual style and quality is certainly appealing and stands out within its genre. As first impressions tend to linger, in hindsight it probably would have been better if ROHK had been launched a few weeks later.
The base building is fun, intuitive and the end results can be gorgeous – it’s also a challenge to figure out which parts you need to install and where in order to ensure your survival and ROKH has a great modular system in place that makes sure you’re not just randomly stacking blocks and building some kind of LEGO tower. But these are just the starting blocks of the grand scale of a game we haven’t seen yet. ROKH’s definitely a title to watch though, and the team behind it seems intent on making sure its currently unfulfilled potential is all realized. If they do, then this definitely deserves a second chance.