… while your online companions dick around and depopulate the planet.
Eco is a survival game set in a voxel world (gee, where have I heard that before…). In this case, however, your goal is not to strip mine and bend the local wildlife to your will. I mean, you can do whatever you want, I can’t stop you. If there’s a score at the end, however, yours will probably suffer. Anyway, Eco is a game about preventing death-by-meteor by strategically using the resources available to you.
You have 30 real-life, ass-in-chair-and-gaming days to stop this meteor. The clock only stops when the game is closed (unless you’re on a server, for obvious reasons). Game days are significantly faster than real-life days, which I’m thankful for. I don’t relish the idea of playing through twelve hours of night in real time.
I’m an hour in and I’ve only just now completed the tutorial. It’s fairly simple stuff but there could definitely be a bit more guidance. One “quest” basically amounted to “place a property marker”, which claims a 5×5 area as yours. I found a nice spot on top of a grassy hill and placed my marker. One of the next quests was “chop trees and build a house”, which required a bit of a hike to locate trees.
Chopping down trees isn’t quite like you’d expect if you’re a connoisseur of voxel games. First is the look of the trees themselves.
Then comes the harvesting process, as well as damage to the local environment. I’m unsure at this point if the grass grows back.
This is kind of a bad image as I’m not actually showing the harvesting process. It’s also the only time I’ve really experienced back-face culling like this. Anyway, you have to chop at the log until all of the limbs are removed. This gives you wood pulp, which is used for… something. Then you can chop the big log into smaller logs you can carry. Now comes the tedious part.
Each tree makes a bunch of logs. You get to lug them back to your base 20 at a time. Unlike the Minecraft clone standard, you’ve got a dedicated “carry” slot. No more carrying around several tons of lead in your pockets. You can make a cart to help with this, though I’m unsure when you get access to it. I don’t think I can build one yet.
Other resources are similar. Use your shovel to break up a dirt voxel. Use your pick to break a stone or ore voxel. Pick up some number of bits and carry them to your destination.
Let’s delve into crafting a bit. Crafting takes time. Unlike most other games, however, you don’t have to be present for it. I’d bring 20 logs to my workshop, submit an order to make 10 hewn logs, and pick up the ten that had completed from my past trip. I’d place those on the frame of my house and run off for another load of wood. By the time I got back to my house, the new batch would be complete. Rinse and repeat a few too many times.
The bench contains more recipes than just these hewn logs. I’m being a good new player/bad first impression writer, however, and ignoring everything that I’m not told to interact with.
And then you end up with this. It looks a bit like an angular potato but it works.
I’ll be continuing my playthrough over the coming days. There are some large ore-filled rocks that I passed every single time I went to gather wood and I’m kind of eager to see how those are used. Let me know if you’d like me to talk about this when I figure it out, by the way. If you’re not already turned off by what you’ve seen thus far, seeing more game mechanics could be neat.
As I said earlier, I’m only an hour in. The tutorial appears to have ended and the game has left me with no guidance. From here, I suppose you expand your skills and gather new resources via hunting, farming, and mining.
- It’s a genuinely interesting (to me, at least) take on the genre.
- Performance has been great so far.
- It’s a Minecraft clone with an actual goal and definite endgame, two things you don’t see often.
- It’s nice playing a strictly cooperative game now and then. There’s no PVP whatsoever, though you can still screw over the other players if you’re a determined asswipe.
- You have to eat. Not because you’ll starve, but because having a full stomach increases the number of skill points you gain each day (real-life, not in-game). Also, doing things like chopping trees and running use your nutrition.
- You have to eat a good variety of food. I don’t know how to farm yet (there was a foraging tutorial but it disappeared) so I’ve been subsisting on scavenged prickly pears and beets. Compare the nutrition thing in the bottom left of my first screenshot to that of my last.
- You use these skill points to unlock the ability to craft certain things. It’s conceivable that, if you’re not paying attention, you use your first skill point to unlock some random-ass skill, break your starting tools through use, and are then unable to construct new ones until a full day goes by and you get more points to play with.
- Nothing seems to be hostile.
Recommendation and closing notes
Get it if you want. I’ve just been doing the tutorial questline so I don’t think I’m qualified to give a firm yes or no at this point. My opinion will probably change as I unlock things and make progress.
Ask questions if you’ve got them. This was a somewhat quick impression of my first hour and I didn’t really talk about the map, the integrated web-servery-statistics-thing I found by accident, or how biodiverse this 0.52km^2 this world is.
Critique this first impression. It’s the only way I’ll get better.
Let me know if you pick the game up due to my mediocre wordsmithing. Maybe we can group up some time and be world-destroying derps together.
And finally, go forth and prosper^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hwrite your own first impressions. I’m going to slowly fill the forums with threads on the Minecraft clone of the week if you don’t.