[Editor’s note: You can read our full review of Stranded: Alien Dawn here.]
April 25 brings us the v1.0 release out of early access for survival sandbox colony sim Stranded: Alien Dawn, with a feature-rich patch providing content for new and old players alike. We will likely be bringing a full review of the game around release, so this article will focus on the 1.0 release patch specifically with a condensed timeline of the update history of the game in Early Access – which was very short at only 6 months with 4 large patches. The idea of a “3D Rimworld” is very appealing, having multiple characters with personalities and skills to manage in a survival sandbox is relatively rare. This should greatly enhance the experience if it can get anywhere near the longevity of Rimworld, it will make this an excellent game to play for years to come.
Bulgarian developer Haemimont Games are known for multiple great games since their first release in 2000 of Tzar: The Burden of the Crown including most recently Surviving Mars, of which my father and I sunk close to a thousand hours between us. Soon we will also see the return of a beloved series with Jagged Alliance 3, but also a solid history of well-received games including Omerta, Tropico 3, 4, 5, and a personal ARPG favourite for a couple of us, Victor Vran. Publisher Frontier Foundry who hit the scene recently has had a couple of good games under their belt already including the recently released and reviewed here The Great War: Western Front, and Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters. A track history of success from both developer and publisher like this, combined with the fast and patch-filled early access, bodes well for the future of the game.
The major content of the 1.0 patch is the new Military Outpost Scenario. A squad of up to 6 team members are dropped on the unexplored world, with a mission to build a new Ansible Relay. Once built, the relay must be protected against waves of hostile wildlife with increasingly greater and more powerful numbers. Luckily, the squad is geared up and prepared for anything! Equipped with the knowledge of a wide range of different technologies, they have plenty of defensive options ready to go, from force field barriers to automated turrets. If the offensive approach is more your thing, the new high-powered mechs are guaranteed to add some extra firepower.
The overall objective of the scenario is to build and defend the new Ansible Relay. Increasingly intense waves of attacking wildlife will work their way towards your base, but defending against them isn’t the only challenge you’ll have to face. The Ansible Relay requires a robust electrical grid to support it, so ensure you have enough working batteries and generators! Shrieker nests will also be a more significant problem than in previous scenarios, and shouldn’t be left alone for too long.
To match the defence-oriented scenario, a number of new constructables have been added:
- Carbon fortifications and gates, which will provide an even stronger defence against the encroaching hordes of wildlife,
- Force Field Barriers which are an electricity-powered fortification that provides the ultimate defence against your enemies.
- Siren device, a set of loudspeakers that will attract enemies towards it, making it easier for you to lure them into specific traps and firing corridors.
- The Food Fabricator makes it possible to create meals without the need for ingredients, as long as the device is powered and can create the same meals as a regular cooking station if you’ve done the correct research.
- Material Fabricator lets you create items like Wood, Stone, Metal Alloys, Liquid fuel, and Silicon which can be used for building and crafting.
Two types of robotic mechs will now be available in all scenarios and can be a valuable asset in any combat situation thanks to their mobile and offensive capabilities. Once you’ve met the prerequisites, both Light and Combat mechs will be available for you to build. Both will require a minimum Combat level to operate, and both can use their powerful legs to leap over obstacles and tactically reposition themselves in combat.
The Light Mech comes equipped with a single machine gun, while the Combat Mech comes equipped with both a machine gun and a missile launcher in its arsenal. These will greatly increase any survivors’ combat ability, making them a force to be reckoned with during attack and defence. Mechs are great for taking down Shrieker nests, for example!
A New Survivor
A new survivor to Stranded: Alien Dawn with this new update. Our new survivor is a former spec-ops commander who’s also experienced in training and supervising other soldiers. Her ability to improve the skills of others could be vital on the battlefield.
There are more quality-of-life updates and bug fixes – as is tradition – coming in this update, so keep an eye out for the full patch notes coming on 25 April.
- March 2023 – Sow and Sell update. New Trading Post scenario, a trading pod for trading resources off planet, a new survivor, new research and recipes, and the usual bug fixes and QoL updates.
- February 2023 – Mod Tools and Steam Workshop support. An utterly essential part of a survival sandbox game is mod support, it’s good to see this was sorted before release.
- January 2023 – Tame and Trail update. New Animal Taming research that unlocks the ability to tame animals, new animals and a new survivor.
- December 2022 – Dunes and Moons update. Beautiful new Desertum region, three new moons to play on, a new survivor and the obligatory bug fixes and QoL updates.
- October 2022 – Early Access Release
On April 19 at 4pm GMT (midnight AWST for us West Aussies), the community team will be joined by developers from Haemimont Games for a run-through of the new scenario, and the rest of the new update on Twitch and YouTube.
Stranded: Alien Dawn looks to be a unique blend of survival, base building, colony management, and in this new scenario at least it seems – wave defense. Steam reviews are very positive but more important to me is the playtime on these reviews. For a sandbox game like this you want the game to have immense replayability and seeing many reviewers with hundreds of hours in the game already is the best metric the game can have for me. A negative review with 300 hours is a thumbs up to me – they found the game fun enough to play for 300 hours. I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the full release version to see what the strange new world has to offer.
Stranded: Alien Dawn is available now on Steam early access for A$42.95 or your regional non-dollarydoo equivalent and will have its full v1.0 release on April 25.