Early Access Preview — Ragnorium: Planet Recolonization Odyssey

Despite being in Early Access, our hands-on time with Ragnorium: Planet Recolonization Odyssey has left us enthusiastic and wanting more.

In Ragnorium: Planet Recolonization Odyssey, you are a commander of Hermes-1, a colossal colonization space station capable of creating life and technology and are tasked with a critical mission: colonize a planet and create a new chapter in human history.

I have been a lifelong fan of simulation games, starting with PC games in the mid-1990’s and extending to recent titles like Oxygen Not Included, Dungeons 3 and Spiritfarer, and have ramped up my love for survival games in the last five years starting with Minecraft, Don’t Starve Together, Ark: Survival Evolved, 7 Days to Die and, most recently, Conan Exiles. I feel like Ragnorium is a nice blend of the two genres, making me feel like I have more control over my AI colonists’ survival even though I am not chopping trees in first-person.

Note: I have also spent a lot of time playing games in what seems like perpetual Early Access and have no qualms with playing games that are still under development. When you play a game in Early Access, you have to accept that you may occasionally experience bugs, crashing, unfinished content, and other related issues.

My interest in Ragnorium was piqued from the gameplay revealed in a recent trailer and I immediately sought out a chance to play the game in Early Access. Here is a description of how the gameplay works and what I think of the game in its current state:

To start, you have to build the spaceship that will transport your cloned human specimens to the planet that will house the next prominent human civilization. You will have the choice to purchase specific thrusters, hulls, intersections and modules that will provide certain bonuses depending on the cargo being sent like additional XP for clones or a percentage increase on basic cargo. In addition to the maiden voyage to the new cradle of human civilization, you will also be able to send additional cargo vessels and order shipments of resources (food, medicine, etc.) to be delivered to your burgeoning colony.

You will use Credits earned by launching vessels from Hermes-1. You get 100 Credits for every launch independent of mission outcome.

After you finish building your colonization vessel, which includes three clone pods that house one individual each, you will need to actually create your colonists. You have the option to select clones using templates based on geographic locations: Former USA and Mexico (Amerikana Clones), Europe and Africa (Euro-African Clones), Russia and China (Russo-Asian Clones), Moon and Asteroid Belt (Astromian Clones), and United Arabian Front (Arabian Clones). Each template has their own perks and each clone has four stats: health, combat skill, crafting skill and character level.

After you finish creating your clones, you will assign them to pods on your ship and then set off for your new home.

Your spaceship will fly around the planet as you scavenge for a good spot to deploy your modules and the game will provide survival probability based on natural resources in a given area.

Once you select a drop spot, it’s time to deploy your modules and wake your clones up from their slumber. From here, you will begin your civilization building with designating a resource collection zone and assigning chores to be done: chop wood, begin construction and start research on new technology. You will start with the basics of building a fire, collecting firestarter, maintaining fuel and the inklings of crafting with the basic benches and crafting medicine. By completing quests you will earn XP and influence, allowing your colonists to unlock more technology.

Different from many other games in the same genre is the ability to build structures on a much more granular level, from foundation to rooftop and furniture in between. The building gives me the same sense of satisfaction that I get when I build in survival games like Ark: Survival Evolved and Raft, but interlaced with the fun I derive from civilization simulators like Age of Empire, Sid Meyer’s Civilization, etc.

Various fauna exist in the game, food and foe alike, and your clones will need equipment and combat skills to survive long term in this odyssey you have started.

The game is in early access and therefore has areas where content is lacking at this time, but I have high hopes for how the game will continue to impress as development continues.

The game is developed by a single person, Vitali Kirpu. I have a soft spot in my heart for single-dev titles (I’m looking at Stardew Valley and Fez here as other good examples), and Ragnorium shows incredible promise to become a well-polished and very addicting full release title.

You can play Ragnorium in Early Access via Steam on PC.