The Kindred is a game in alpha and not, I repeat, not, a horror film released in 1987 where a mother's deathbed wish is for her son to destroy her lab experiment. Luckily, we'll be looking at the first option. an early access survival game released on Steam on the 24th February 2016. The game was made by Persistent Studios and published by Nkidu Games Inc.
This is Persistent Studios first game and overall was created by a two-person team of Matthew and Helen Dudley. I'm just gonna state right now, you both did a fantastic job with this so far, well done. I should also state that the game is (at the time of writing 15/10/16) in alpha. So I'm going to be a tiny bit more lenient to bugs that can be ironed out in the future, but it is still a paid product on Steam, and at £10.99 I'd be expecting a functioning game that works well. For the same price, I could get the first Metal Slug and have some change left over.
But let's pace ourselves, settle down and get ready for some good old fashioned reviewing of early access survival games which have been done to death already. Because let's face it, survival early access games are about as common as
Story wise there literally isn't anything. But that is acceptable in this circumstance, mainly because this is a survival game. But of course, a survival game doesn't need a story. The game itself circulates around one aim, survival. That seems to be a focal point of many games nowadays, you may have heard of them. Minecraft, Terraria, Towns and so on. They don't need a focus for the story because there isn't one.
Feel free to form your own story, though, nothing stopping you from doing that. Apart from a lack of imagination.
Before you start the game I would heartily recommend using the getting started tool found on the main menu. Give it a quick read through before you begin as it'll show you what you need to do.
This game has you take control of a group of people who are referred to as "Kins", who are basically your slaves and will build anything you want whenever you want them to. However, an interesting thing about these Kins is that they have different ages and experiences, so some are better at certain jobs than others. These skills can improve, but it's just best to go with the guys that have the best stats and stick with them for their jobs. Basically, those with the highest stats benefit you the most.
As seen in the photo above, you can construct any building in any way, shape or form you like. Of course, if you're like me then you'll have no artistic talent. I liked that you can make buildings out of anything you like, you aren't just limited to "here is what you can build this out". The sheer variety of what you can build out is fantastic so your creativity isn't limited by a lack of things to build out of.
One of the main problems I had was that you can't stack up actions. I had to click each individual tree for The Kin to cut down and it got very time-consuming. If there was a way to just highlight an area you wanted clearing then it would be so much easier. Considering you're micromanaging multiple people, it's very hard to keep track of everything that needs doing. It's like looking after Lemmings. Honestly, they're so bloody annoying at times I sort of wanted to drown them all but apparently that means I'd lose the game so I just kept letting them cut down trees to their heart's content.
I did like that you could stack beds on top of each other, that way I can make a tower of beds and stick someone at the very top. There isn't really any reason for it to do this, but hell, it was kinda cool to see and I'm not sure why.
When you destroy something you collect the resources. It's put into a very handy inventory system. I found this system to be great, it allowed me to keep track of my resources with ease and the menu is very simplistic and effective. It isn't overcomplicated, here's the stuff you have and how much of it, away you go.
Graphics and sound
I think what you'll notice straight away is that the game is gorgeous. Even the background to the title screen is animated and that's actually a pretty good representation of what the game looks like. It truly is gorgeous. A neat little thing that I've noticed indie games begin to do is an update log is present on the title. This makes it easy to keep track of what is being fixed and added to the game. It is done even better here however as it isn't tucked away in any menus, it's in plain sight and accessible by everyone instantly.
Speaking of the main menu, this is where the options can be found. The options aren't as varied as one would expect, but it still has the necessary options available such as draw distance and autosaving times.
I should probably address the elephant in the room. Henry, take your leave. Right, that's him gone. You'll probably notice that this game looks very similar to a game called "Minecraft". Dunno if you've heard of it or not. Graphically it instantly reminded me of Minecraft. That isn't a bad thing, but here, I've provided an image so you know what I mean.
See what I mean? Of course, you do, you're smart. Probably. Sorry if you aren't. There isn't a problem with the game looking like Minecraft. God no, not at all. If I'm honest the game is complimented by this art style very well. It's aesthetically pleasing. I actually really like the art style, the game looks great, it really does.
I did find a couple of problems, however, mainly with the tutorial. You're given a minimap, which blocks a big chunk of the tutorial box. I never found a button to remove the mini map either so I couldn't actually read what I was supposed to do or meant to be doing. On the subject of boxes, the autosaving popup doesn't go away. It just sits in the centre of the screen and doesn't go away. If it does go away it takes a hell of a long time to do so.
None of this matters, though. Not unless the trees fall like actual trees. They do, I could give the game a badge just for that, but I'm just being told I'm not allowed to do that. Sorry. But yes, the trees falling realistically made me really giddy. I don't know if it's because I was sick of floating trees in other games or because it was three in the morning. Either way, it was a lovely thing to see and the art style actually complements this feature quite well.
Always a bonus as ever, the game includes Steam Trading Cards. Not only that but it also has an achievements system. Now achievements on Steam are about as useful as a chocolate teapot full of spiders, scary stuff that provides no actual use. So the less said about them the better really, but I do love a good trading card set and I think I've actually crafted the badge for this game already.
Overall, if you're looking for a bird's eye view type survival game where you manage a bunch of people in a Minecraft looking world, then this is the game for you. A lovely art style, a vivid imagination will get you anywhere in this game.
However remember, it's in an alpha state currently, bugs are expected, but hopefully The Kindred has a bright future ahead of itself.
|+ Lovely art style||– Pricey for an alpha|
|+ Depth and detail for everything is superb||– HUD blocked by other objects|
|+ Freedom of construction||– No way to stack up actions for "Kins"|
|+ Looks and plays great||– Many, many, many bugs|
|+ Playable state considering it's in alpha|