There are free games like Factorio

Unfinished, but good: ten early access games that are worth it

Minecraft was the first. Then came The Long Dark, Darkest Dungeon, Dead Cells, Kerbal Space Program, PUBG, Subnautica, Slay the Spire, Rimworld, Factorio, Hades and thousands of other games that have been revered by millions of players. They all have one thing in common: You could play them before they were finished. Early Access is - by and large - a successful model that has many advantages for players and developer studios.

However, it is also a fact that business with the leap of faith is also often played a shame. The following early access titles are already worth their money; simply because they provide hours of fun even when unfinished. An early summer tour of the ten most beautiful games construction sites.


Is it that simple? The big Factorio has made industrial factory production fun, Satisfactory(Windows, 29.99 euros) relocates the concept in chic 3D and donates a fairly large (but, apart from resources and monsters, rather empty) open world as an all-round expedition room. No, it's not that simple: Satisfactory is quite independent despite all the obvious comparisons, and the third dimension, the vertical construction, topography and a multitude of own ideas make the very obvious permanent comparison for 2D inspiration quickly forgotten. Until you get to the endgame, which admittedly still lacks content, every hour with this game, which only appears at first glance, is an aha experience for Factorio fans and newcomers.

Among trees

Do survival sandboxes always have to be grim and deadly? Among trees (Windows, 15.99 euros) proves that relatively peaceful walking, collecting and building huts in the wonderfully atmospheric low-poly forest can also be a nice activity for peace-loving people. Before the dilapidated hut in the idyllic forest has become a presentable place to stay, lots of mushrooms have to be collected, sticks carried and screenshots taken to remember this virtual nature experience. You should only avoid the bears - or you can activate the Zen mode to ensure that this danger disappears as well. Among trees is The Long Dark for harmony addicts.


A classic top-down hardcore role-playing game with gorgeous nostalgic 16-bit graphics, modern operating convenience and the cruel heart of a rogue-like - that offers Stoneshard (Windows, Mac, 14.99 euros). This spring's Russian EA surprise success is nowhere near as complete as the free prologue would lead you to believe, but the potential of this deceptively small game is enormous. There is still a lot of screwing and hammering going on at this construction site, but after the first hard months of development, the community is firmly convinced of the potential of this rough diamond - the widely criticized Save system, for example, has already been defused. Quite a fascinating game for a special audience with a sense of toughness.

Curse of the Dead Gods

You can steal from great role models, especially if you do it well: Curse of the Dead Gods (Windows, 14.99 euros) is a stylish rogue-lite that can be seen in the great instant classic that also covers the last few meters in Early Access Hades oriented; only that here not the Greek, but a Central American mythology and aesthetics adorns the constantly changing temple ruins. Very stylish cartoon graphics that follow the striking comic look of Darkest Dungeon oriented, and makes a handful of original game mechanics borrowed from this same role-playing classic, such as curses and sacrifices Curse of the Dead Gods in connection with the solid action gameplay for the already highly motivating summer fun.

Wrath: Aeon of Ruin

Nostalgia is all well and good, but revisiting old favorites often ends in disillusionment: I loved THAT so much back then? All the better when new games revive the aesthetics and core of old classics while still taking modern tastes and conveniences into account. Wrath: Aeon of Ruin (Windows, 20.99 euros) is like first-person veterans the great 90s classic Quake remember: fast-paced, raw, varied and no frills. The shooter forefathers of 3D Realms have taken the classic, splattery horror shooter under their wing. Wrath is retro action for a modern audience.


Noita (Windows, 16.99 euros) is Finnish and means "witch", and the game's pitch is really reminiscent of witchcraft: every pixel is simulated here and subject to physical laws, which means: water sloshes and evaporates when it is heated , Wood burns and crashes after damage, and with an open light you should be very careful in swamps with flammable gases. The pixel game with rogue lite mechanics - permadeath, random generation, varied items / spells - is a bit more of a physics playground than a finished game, but that doesn't matter if this physics is so much fun.

Mount & Blade 2: Banner Lord

Part one was one of the very, very first early access games, the long-awaited successor already employs countless medieval enthusiasts, even unfinished. The "Pirates! in the Middle Ages "also offers a lot to do: life simulation, equestrian battles, castle sieges, multiplayer, endless campaigns, a real story machine. The mammoth game Mount & Blade 2: Banner Lord (Windows, 49.99 euros) is still far from perfect in many, many details and the balance, if you know what you're getting yourself into, you can finally dive back into this fictional medieval world with contemporary graphics. Hundreds of hours of play are waiting here - but anyone who enters this large construction site has to be prepared to accept its incompletion.


There are quite a few co-op horror shooters GTFO (Windows, 34.99 euros) can boast of being one of the toughest in times of maximum accessibility: The original mix of stealth and shooter gameplay becomes a baptism of fire for up to four adrenaline-filled players, especially because of its ruthlessness who have to do all sorts of things in dark monster cellars as quietly as possible in the midst of unspeakably disgusting critters. Communication via headset is a must, and in the best case scenario, you already know your fellow players from before, because there are still no gimmicks such as server browsers or matchmaking. The discord channel for the game is - probably because of that - a very friendly place to look for co-op buddies in an emergency.

Space Haven

The hustle and bustle building gameplay of games like Rimworld, a breeze Factorio and an all-round campaign like on a large scale FTL - Faster Than Light: After a short familiarization with this indie hope, it is actually quite surprising that no one has come across this mix before. Well, it's missing Space Haven (Windows, Mac, Linux, 21.99 euros) on a more intuitive tutorial, the fight is still expandable, and the AI ​​is weak in terms of job management, but the potential for almost endless space adventures in the self-built spaceship has already been enough for a surprise sale on Steam - rightly. Energy!

Gunfire Reborn

Originality is not everything, a good game can also shine through the perfection of tried and tested ideas - like this Chinese co-op loot shooter with rogue-lite mechanics. As an anthropomorphic fantasy animal, you climb into monster-infested crypts again and again, alone or with friends, put together skills and weapons for each run and persistently acquire more and more skills for the next attempt, even through inevitable defeats. Make solid gunplay, enough variety and a personable style Gunfire Reborn (Windows, 9.99 euros) to the already excellent mix of well-known games favorites - a deceptively small, darn fast addicting shooter RPG pearl. (Rainer Sigl, 2.8.2020)