Steam is a popular breeding ground for a variety of games that are currently in development known as Early Access. Some of these are extremely popular and are great fun to play. Most, however, are little more than sad disappoint. So in a world of countless imitators and crushing disappointments, where does something like The Kindred stand?
Thankfully, Persistent Studios has – quite literally – crafted a real gem that shows great promise and is easily a break-away hit that will gain momentum as word spreads.
I like to think of The Kindred as a cousin to Minecraft. Your job is to manage a group of voxel people called the Kin, who live in a voxel world surrounded by pretty flowers and large lakes. However, the Kin cannot function without you managing them and giving them tasks to do. As their God, you must make sure that they have a place to live with enough food to suffice.
Your first step would be to make sure that they have a place to sleep and food to eat. This means that you’ll need to go and chop down some trees or mine some stone, and set up some farms. The map will randomly generate as you initially start the game. Dotted around the map you will find ores and plants/vegetables. There should be one of each vegetable that you can harvest, from there you can cultivate them and grow more and more, thus getting food for your Kin.
Using a small selection of tools and objects, you can build your dream world. Given the current amount of objects available, however, your dream world will be very limited. You can create a crafting bench, a dairy machine and even a kiln. It’s rare that a video game will keep me entertained for 100% of the time but, considering how relaxing The Kindred is to play, this is one of them. What makes the feeling even greater is knowing that there is always more content on the horizon.
Early Access games usually come bundled with a fair amount of bugs, but The Kindred is actually quite low on game breakers or small nuisances. There is still some things that definitely need to be fixed, such as Kin just idling around and doing nothing when there is a large queue of things to actually get on with. I’ve also had problems with Kin just falling down large holes and then dying of starvation. I’m curious if they’re just lazy and stupid, but these issues are most likely bugs that need addressing.
The framerate also seems to dip down quite frequently to the 45 range when rotating the camera or panning around the screen, odd for some a technically undemanding game, but thankfully this doesn’t have much an impact as we’re talking about a leisurely slow-paced strategy game.
All things considered, The Kindred is an excellent Minecraft companion, proving there’s plenty of life left in the blocky world-building sim genre. For what it’s worth the game won me over and now I’m looking forward to seeing what more is added in the coming weeks.