Few years ago, Arctico It was called Eternal Winter and was a pretty run-of-the-mill survival game. Then its developers, Claudio Norori and Antonio Vargas, changed course from survival to exploration and base building. The coolest thing about Eternal Winter was the ability to travel by dog sled, which I’m happy to see has been postponed.
Arctico takes its name from the island it is located on: a desolate expanse of snow and ice, presumably located somewhere in the Arctic Circle. You are here to continue the work of your late mentor, a scientist whose research is scattered across the island. She was working on “undisclosed inventions,” as well as how to effectively grow crops in subzero temperatures.
There is something very appealing about Arctico’s winter terrain and the use of color. It’s a nice game, but clearly still in development, with some awkward robotic animations. Yet it is a fascinating place to explore. You’ll see the outline of something on the horizon, ride with your dogs, and discover something interesting: the abandoned camp of previous explorers, perhaps, where you’ll find snippets from their diaries and items to retrieve.
This is for me the most interesting part of the current alpha version of Arctico. I’m not so excited about the craft or base building, which involves building solar panels to generate electricity and drills to mine for ore, which in turn builds other things. I’ve done this in a dozen other games. But I like that it’s more streamlined than in other survival sims, which are often bogged down by complexity.
Carving in the snow in your dog sled is a lot of fun, and I love being able to jump in a small kayak every time I hit a body of water. But there’s no denying that Arctico currently looks more like a proof of concept than a fully fleshed out game. Apparently it’s set to exit Early Access in the fourth quarter of this year, but for now it looks like it might take longer in the oven.
Arctico has been in Early Access for a while now, with regular updates increasing the amount of stuff to do. It’s still pretty rudimentary compared to something like Subnautica – a clear influence, by the way – but it’s grown a lot. Having said that, I’m not sure it’s worth investing in just yet. It shows a lot of promise, but I think I’ll wait a few more months before I dive back in.