I absolutely adore crafting and survival games, especially when they focus more on the crafting than the surviving. What I adore even more is the ability to craft with friends, but multiplayer has a pretty spotty record in this genre. When I heard Volcanoids, a game I had not had the pleasure of playing yet, was getting a multiplayer update, I knew the time was right. So, I coaxed my girlfriend into firing up her computer so we could survive this volcanic land together!
When I mentioned crafting games had a spotty record of multiplayer, I don’t mean to give them a hard time. These games are particularly complex and often released in early access. Multiplayer is usually not the developers’ immediate focus; there are bigger fish to fry. Needless to say, I was fully prepared for extreme difficulty. From the inability to even get multiplayer working, to rubberbanding, or frequent disconnects, I have seen it all from this genre.
Volcanoids pleasantly surprised me in all aspects. Getting connected was as simple as a Steam invite, and once we started we didn’t have a single connection issue for the entire session. Without those distractions, we were really able to focus on the game itself.
Unlike most of its peers, Volcanoids actually has quests and other specific objectives for you and your friend to complete. To make matters easier, the quest log will tell you which player accepted the quest, allowing you to split the workload while keeping track of each other.
When it comes to these crafting and survival games, nothing is more important than the home base. One of the issues with other games in this genre is the need to spread out farther and farther to find the resources necessary to continue building and improving. In Volcanoids that problem is solved by your base being mobile and even necessary to finding new resources.
While I did find its method of building and upgrading refreshing, Volcanoids has some progress yet to allow the base to be customized. Space is very limited in the drill you call home and it quickly feels too cramped for comfort. That being said, it certainly is a welcome shelter when you must dig deep in the ground to avoid one of the many periodic volcanic eruptions.
While it certainly has its issues, such as cramped space and a desperate need for better English translation, Volcanoids is a breath of fresh air in a genre that largely grew stale years ago. It needs some polish, but for now the newly implemented multiplayer is more than welcome.
Along with its intuitive storage system that allows friends to easily share their supplies to complete objectives and build modules, I found the experience of surviving horrific volcanic eruptions pleasant and calm. As someone who never played Volcanoids solo, I can’t speak to how much it changes the game. What I can say is both my girlfriend and I had a great time playing together and will continue to. A solid and seamless multiplayer experience is hard to come by in early access and I suggest you take advantage of it.
Preview copy provided by Volcanoid for PC. Screenshots courtesy of Volcanoid.