Well, that didn't take too long did it? Last week, Rock Paper Shotgun had an article about Compound, and developer Bevan McKechnie appeared in the comments letting his fans know that the game was going to be arriving into Early Access in the very, very near future. Well, Today it arrived on Steam for the price of $19.99. Also arriving today is a totally updated demo of the title.
For those that haven't been tracking this game, this is a retro-stylized Roguelike shooter ala Doom or Wolfenstein 3D from the early 90's. Not the roguelike part of it, but the stylized retro-graphics. I've often mentioned that I get a super strong Sega 32X vibe from this game. Something about the way it looks just really reminds me of that strange era in the early to mid 90's when gaming was making the move from 16-bit to the 32/64 bit era. Sega had a much maligned upgrade for their Genesis system called the Sega 32X. Had that system had a VR peripheral (and it almost did!), we might have found a game very similar to Compound on it.
There are those that might take one look at a screenshot or video of the game and wonder what all the hub-bub is about? Of course, anybody that has actually played the demo, knows exactly what the hub-bub is all about. The game just has such a great flow and vibe, that it's hard not to have a wonderful time while you're inside the game, exploring the hallways and taking out the bad guys with extreme prejudice. I think it ultimately boils down to whether you can hang with this sort of stylized retro graphics or not. Some people will immediately find the aesthetic, unbelievably appealing, while others wonder why everybody else is so excited. This is probably the very definition of a love it or hate it type of game. Those that love it, are madly in love with it, and have been counting the days until it's actual release.
While the game is available today, and you'll find new levels, new enemies and new weapons, please be advised that this game is still in Early Access, and it's not completely finished. Developer Bevan McKechnie continues to bang away on the game, promising to add more and more to it over the coming months. It's still a work in progress.
Is it worth the $20 entry price? That depends. Have you played the demo countless times with a smile on your face during the entire process? If so, you'll probably find more to love in this Early Access version. 20 bucks isn't exactly a drop in the bucket, but just think of all the fun you've already had with the free demo. It's kind of like Budget Cuts in that way. So many VR gamers are going to buy Budget Cuts, not so much to see what made it into the final game, but also as a show of appreciation to developer Neat Corp. for the fun they've already delivered. I'm expecting an identical scenario for Bevan McKechnie. He's already touched the lives of so many VR gamers in a very small way, and these VR gamers are likely to reciprocate that love with a purchase of Compound. The real question is whether or not somebody that has been completely oblivious to the game will find enough value here to justify the $20 price tag.
Now that the game is actually available, we'll certainly have some more coverage of the game going forward, so stay tuned!