Drillships aren’t a thing in real life, but they really should be. I’m not saying I want to live in a world where I’m under the constant threat of volcanic eruption, or getting killed by aggressive robots, but to have a steampunk drillship would be amazing. Just to duck under the crust of the earth, mine, and explore subterranean depths sounds like a decent life– especially if my drillship is upgradeable and extra-long. But it would be a lonely life to live alone, so it’s great that the closest thing I can get to driving a drillship now lets friends play along. If you’ve been playing the robot-fightin’, drillship drivin’, volcano dodgin’ open world adventure game Volcanoids, you’ll be pleased to know that the co-op mode releases today—and it’s damn fun.
Volcanoids is a first person, open world survival game set in a strange, alternate steampunk world. Your home is a drillship. It’s essentially an articulated ground submarine, which you can kit out with all sorts of things—like production stations, storage modules, and defensive turrets, the latter of which is essential to fight off the endless waves of robotic enemies you’ll face. It’s also your sanctuary and shelter against the constant volcanic eruptions that have rendered the land uninhabitable. Your ultimate goal is to the find the source of it (most definitely the evil robots) and put an end to whatever is causing it. Now, with friends!
Though the new multiplayer patch allows you to play with up to three friends, my longtime co-op partner was the only other crew on my drillship. To get the full experience, we started up a fresh game, and ran through the (rather long) tutorial, and well beyond. The idea was to kick the tires a bit, and see what kind of quirks multiplayer added to the already slightly quirky Volcanoids. Well, despite some initial frustrations, we ended up having a lot more fun than we expected.
See, Volcanoids is in early access. And while the premise is great, the actual gameplay is a bit clunky. Now, I’m holding off final judgement until the developers decide its good and ready, but if you’re going to be jumping into this fresh with your own friend or significant other, you might want to know that this Early Access title is slightly rough around the edges. Movement feels strange, the shooting isn’t the most satisfying—but it works, and it delivers on the promise of a modular, upgradeable drillship you can make into your home, and mobile base of operations.
There are some significant limitations to the multiplayer. I didn’t see a way to heal your teammate, or even trade with them. If you want to hand items off to another character, you have to have a container handy to do so. If you’re away from your drillship, that could be a problem—until you realize that everything, is a potential container—even that robot you just shot. Travelling as a companion can seem a little boring since most of the drillship’s components are offline when moving underground. Once you’re parked though, your co-op partner can help you prepare for whatever’s waiting beyond the heavy steel doors, by crafting ammo, health kits and grenades to use in battle.
Having a friend around does help with combat a bit, too. Raiding enemy drillships is no longer lonely, and with a friend sporting an extra firearm and chucking their own grenades, these robotic enemies don’t seem so threatening anymore.
It’s lonely driving a giant drillship by yourself, but now you don’t have to. Volcanoids might not be the most polished game, but anything is more fun with friends, and Volcanoids just happens to be the perfect title for co-op. It’s got some room for polish, but with friends, anything is more fun.
Volcanoids’ co-op patch releases today! Grab a friend, and claim your drillship.
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