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Review: Farworld Pioneers

At its heart, Farworld Pioneers is a clever twist on the exploration and survival genre. You’ve crashed landed on a planet with one goal, to survive. You must gather resources, rebuild, and form a thriving colony. Along the way, you’ll meet other colonists who can join you and raiders out to get you. And while the game allows you to forge your path (along with your friends) to create your own story, the game’s learning curve and bugs kept me from thoroughly enjoying this game.

There’s little handholding in Farworld Pioneers. There is a tutorial, but it’s light context, so the things you are doing don’t have any connection to why you are doing them. For instance, you’ll create a workbench. And through this workbench, you can build some basic things like doors and walls. But the things you can make are so basic, and when you get to more complex mechanics that you create, there’s no explanation of what you are supposed to do or how anything benefits you by building the things in the other workbenches. There’s no ramping up or scaffolding of knowledge, so the learning curve is pretty high.

I also struggled with the controls. Using a controller didn’t seem like the best way to play this game, as moving the target to interact with objects seemed finicky with the thumbsticks. There were also times when I opened the build menu system, and when I tried to highlight what I wanted to build, I got stuck; nothing seemed to highlight, and I would have to close out of the menu and reopen it to get it to work. There is no arrow moving over the different selections. Instead, the outer highlight around the box didn’t always move when I moved the thumbsticks.

Another annoying thing was when text overlapped other text. There were times when I was trying to read directions around how to interact with an object; however, because the text was dynamic, only appearing when I hovered my target cursor over an item, it sometimes overlaid on top of another set of text that was also dynamic for other reasons. This wasn’t a game-breaking issue, but something that testing should have caught.

That’s not to say I didn’t have fun with the game. Once I got an idea of what I needed to do to survive (and after dying a few times and starting my world over), I enjoyed the fact that I could create my colony at my pace. Exploring is fun, and discovering new areas and new threats is rewarding, yet not knowing what is around the area is exhilarating. I had a good group of colonists working together to build the best life we possibly could. I had a kitchen area, a research area, barracks, and a smelting furnace - I had a perfect colony. We did get attacked by raiders, which we survived, even though I had the peaceful setting set to active, which prevents raiders from being the aggressors - this is another bug I found; after saving the game and going back into my game, I noticed that the setting changed turning the peaceful setting off.

Everything progressed perfectly until I found the game-breaking issue that killed off my run. I was exploring when my character fell through the ground. The first time this happened, I could dig my way out. The second time, which occurred almost immediately after, I could not. I got stuck in a black void and could do nothing about it. All that hard work building my colony was all for nothing. It was heartbreaking and frustrating, and ended my run and any fun with the game. I tried to leave and come back, but you can’t quit without saving - and when I reloaded my game, I was still in the void.

Final Grade: C

Farworld Pioneers offers a deep world-building and exploration experience when it's working. Exploring the world and building your colony is fun. The learning curve is steep, and the tutorial doesn’t help you connect the dots when you learn new skills or build new features in your colony. And the controls are not perfect, requiring some getting used to. I could forgive all this, but the game-ending bugs killed any fun I had during my time. It’s frustrating when you spend a lot of time building up your colony only to have your character trapped in the void because of a bug.

Review code provided by StridePR

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