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  • Writer's pictureMichael Stern

Early Access Review - Abiotic Factor


Developer: Deep Field Games

Publisher: Playstack

Available on: PC (Steam)


Ever wonder what it would be like to be a surviving scientist in an underground research lab, filled with crazy bioengineered creatures, and tons of crazy things happening all over the building while trying to figure out how to get out, and it is all on your first day at this weird laboratory?


Well, you are in luck! Abiotic Factor is a survival-crafting experience where players find themselves caught in a lab that has had a containment breach and the chaos that ensues throughout the whole building. In this cool co-op game, players are the world’s greatest minds arriving for their first day of work and find that the whole laboratory is shut down due to some weird, bioengineered creatures getting out and terrorizing the scientists all over the facility. The players must use their wits and creativity to craft makeshift items to help them forage for food, find drinkable water supplies, and survive against a constant barrage of various specimens that other scientists have created in this underground maze-like lab. Will the players’ brains outwit the creatures’ hunger? Can the players find shelter, food, water, and weapons, to stave off the constant attacks? Are the players’ puzzle skills up to the task of finding their way out of the depts of the lab, before being killed by a multitude of threats?



It Doesn’t Look Like Much


With a very retro look to the game’s design, it brings the nostalgia of games like Half-Life, with the survival aspect and chaos of 7 Days to Die, while drizzling comical characters, and events, on top. It may not look like the newest and best of games, but it is pure co-op fun. Players will become so immersed in the chaotic adventure and crafting that the simplified graphics will not even register with them while fighting off creatures, building barricades, using corpses and various items found all around the building, and breaking open furniture for components to survive!


This wild ride of a game keeps on delivering, from various helpful NPCs to NPCs that are helpless or detrimental to the player’s health! From small, cute creatures, to terrifying creatures, all that are out to find their own food source: scientists.


The game offers a bit of RPG-style, by allowing players to choose certain aspects for their characters, such as getting hungry slower, having more stamina, and a slew of other buffs for their starting character. But be warned: there is a limit to how many benefits players can take because once players are out of starting points, the player must take negative aspects for their character to gain back points to use for other benefits. Negative aspects include needing to use the bathroom more often (yes, this game makes players go into the bathroom, and play a mini-game to pass the time and the bio, during gameplay!), needing to eat more often, or get sleepier quicker (players cannot just sleep anywhere, and if characters get too tired, they will die. So, make sure to find a place to sleep, and again, the developers added a mini-game for when characters sleep too!). For every benefit, there is the opposite on the negative side. Players cannot choose both the positive and the negative aspects, because that would just cancel each other out!



Characters also level up their aspects during gameplay. So, if a player is constantly running and cooking food, their character will automatically have better cooking and running skills. This brings another layer to the gameplay for the players and their chosen companion co-op players!


One downside to this awesome character creation, though, is that characters are locked to a specific server and game. This means that if players play a co-op game together and Player 1 hosts, then Player 2 cannot create a new server and bring Player 1 and 2’s character over to Player 2’s game server. Players will need to start all over with brand new characters on any new server or game that they may host. This may change in the future, but at this point in the Early Access stage, characters are locked to one specific game server. This also pushes players to try new and different combinations of aspects for their characters.


So what? It is a Survival Game, there are tons of those out there!


Unlike other survival games, Abiotic Factor has a bit more of a storyline to keep up with and follow throughout the game. Some survival games lack a storyline, or only give enough storyline to keep a semi-interest in continuing the game. But Abiotic Factor keeps the story moving and allows players to find new parts to the story while remaining open to letting the players roam the facility.



Not quite convinced about playing this game yet? Let’s talk about crafting!


Not only are players scientists in this locked-down laboratory, but the variety of cool items that can be found, or crafted, is amazing. There is also the need for power. So, when setting up shop, players must be mindful of what items will need to be plugged in and place these items near outlets.


There are tons of weapons ranging from fists and legs of chairs, from sophisticated guns and crossbows made from pipes, tape, and pens to cool armor and padding that players get to craft.


Did we mention that the crafting is unique in this game? Players aren’t just given blueprints which just happen to allow players to create items. Oh no, players must use their “crafting brain” to put items together and figure out, through trial and error, in their minds, how to make these items. Pick up a pen? Well, players might think it could come in handy, so they can go to their crafting brain, and find that they can put together a few known items, to make a new item. Found a piece of cloth and some duct tape? Players would then be able to make simple padded armor. But this writer would be doing a disservice to the readers out there by going into too much detail about the crafting aspect. It is very different from most survival games, and much more fun to figure out on your own! For those players who need some of the recipes or want to know a bit more about the crafting, find more info on the wiki for Abiotic Factor here: Recipes - Official Abiotic Factor Wiki.



OK, I want to get this game!


For now, the game is still in the early access period, but it can be found on the Steam Store on PC for around $25 USD. The developers have even stated that they will probably not include microtransactions in their game and that once you have bought the game, players will have access to all the content that the game has to offer!



Are the Developers doing anything to fix problems and bugs in the game?


The devs are promising updates and bug fixes, and right now the game still sees a fair share of problems. The devs are even making a list of known issues and bugs that they keep up on a Steam thread that players can find here: Known Issues: Abiotic Factor Science Bugs & Patch Notes (steamcommunity.com).


And though the list looks long, these known issues mean that the developers are working to fix these problems, and players can bet to see these issues disappear as they find a way to resolve each issue.



Final Thoughts


Abiotic Factor is a fresh take on a survival game, while still having enough taking from other games to allow just about anyone to pick it up and be able to play as well as enjoy the game. It may have lower graphics, but the fun story as well as crafting aspects, make the game so involved, that the lowered graphics issue just does not seem that big of a deal. The game seems to have tons of content, and most likely will have more content once it is released from early access status to a full game. There are plenty of ways that the game can be improved and expanded upon by the developers so that this writer would not be surprised to see expansions and add-ons in the future.


Abiotic Factor is Highly Recommended!

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