Watch: Ian tries to stay alive in the PS4 port of How to Survive 2

Zombie survival games are ten a penny on PC, but on console there are slimmer pickings. This is especially true when it comes to zombie survival games that offer co-operative multiplayer.

Shambling along to help plug that hole is the console port of How to Survive 2, the sequel to 2013’s How to Survive which has been out in Early Access on the PC since October 2015.

I’ll be diving into the game pretty much blind, but I do know it differs quite a lot from the first, very story-driven game. The top-down perspective remains the same, but the open world seems to have been replaced by linear fetch quests and detailed base building and crafting mechanics.

At the moment, Astroneer is a fascinating inversion of typical sci-fi wonder

Your Christmas game isn’t always the one you unwrap. Sometimes it’s simply the one you spend your Christmas break thinking about. In that case, there’s a clear winner for me this year. Astroneer, a wonderfully pretty Early Access sci-fi survival job is my Christmas game of 2016. I loved playing it, and now I can’t stop pondering it. Underneath all the easy brilliance, genre has done something slightly strange to this game, and I’m still trying to unmuddle it all.

Astroneer starts beautifully, each new game launching you from lofty orbit and down to the procedurally-scrambled surface of a low-poly planet, where you have to collect resources and build stuff in order to survive, explore, and thrive.

Gosh, it’s a looker, lovely purples and oranges and lime greens slapped all over the ground and the distant mountains, origami paper flowers scattered about, and, if you’re lucky, fragments of previous space launches scarring the earth and littered with salvage. It all looks sweet and sugary. If Starburst is looking for a sponsorship opportunity, Astroneer would be a good fit.

Lego Worlds to emerge from Early Access, on console in February

Lego Worlds is now confirmed for a 24th February launch on PS4, Xbox One and Steam.

The sandbox building game has been on since June of last year, where prospective players could buy its early build (and reserve its final form) for £11.99.

Unlike most of Traveller’s Tales’ adventures, Lego World isn’t a fixed campaign based on a single licensed theme, but rather more of a Minecraft-like sandbox based around erecting landscapes and structures. It will feature procedurally-generated worlds and a full day/night cycle.

Rollercoaster Tycoon World review

My experience playing Rollercoaster Tycoon World began with confusion. Upon launching, it presented me with an entirely black screen, and remained that way for the duration of my mid-afternoon coffee-break. As black screens go it’s a very good one, the kind of fathomless void you’d expect Lovecraftian horrors to float around in. In fact, I briefly wondered if this was Rollercoaster Tycoon World’s new, avant-garde direction, a theme-park sim set in a dimension where the rides drive you insane.

Alas, it was merely a bug, something to do with the game failing to sync with the Steam cloud, and one of a litany of issues that has Tycoon fans worked up to a level of frenzy usually reserved for hungry sharks. Indeed, a common refrain amongst Steam user reviews is that it’s “Worse than No Man’s Sky”, which in the language of High Internet means “Worse than the Tay Bridge Disaster.”

Rollercoaster Tycoon World is worse than No Man’s Sky, but not in the way that the Steam users mean that. A nasty part of me wishes it was “car-crash into an orphanage for bush-babies” levels of awful, because it would be more interesting to write about. Yet developer Nvizzio has put in a fair amount of work since the game’s atrocious Early Access debut, and the result is a game that is merely a bit shit.

Zachtronics’ Shenzhen I/O is out of Early Access

Acclaimed puzzle game developer Zachary Barth (, and ) has just released his latest game, Shenzhen I/O, for PC, Mac and Linux on .

The perplexing puzzler tasks players with building circuit boards. Doing so is quite a task, as the game’s instruction manual is over 30 pages of “original datasheets, reference guides, and technical diagrams.” Oh my!

And it only gets more complicated as you’ll have to use “a variety of components from different manufacturers, like microcontrollers, memory, logic gates, and LCD screens.”

Divinity: Original Sin 2 is already good – but there’s important stuff coming that could make it great

Even after playing the Early Access version of Divinity: Original Sin 2 for nearly 20 hours I didn’t understand why I would want my party members to work against each other. It’s one of the big ideas in the sequel, one of the big ways the story will improve on Divinity: Original Sin 1’s – this idea that people in your party are in competition with one another. In multiplayer you’re even actively encouraged to stitch your friends up, which is . But in single-player, where you control the party members, why would you do it?

Turns out I didn’t quite understand – both about competing party members and about other things that either aren’t working properly yet, or aren’t implemented, in the Divinity: Original Sin 2 Early Access build. I find that out when I speak with the founder and creative director of Larian Studios, Swen Vincke, after my Early Access playthrough. He puts me straight in the hope I can put you straight, too.

“There is something that is missing in Early Access and that is why you’re confused,” he tells me. “It’s party relations and it’s scripting for the companions. Currently what you’re doing is you’re controlling your party members as if you were to control them all in multiplayer – and that will not be the case when you’re playing single-player.”

Seraph, the balletic shooter with no aiming, leaves Early Access

is a bit of a treat, a hectic 2D shooter about zipping around procedural environments while blasting everything that moves. How hectic is it? Sufficiently hectic for the game to handle the small business of aiming, so that you can concentrate on everything else.

I took a look and loved how the game was coming together. Now it’s fresh out of Early Access so you can check out the final thing for yourself.

Seraph is also headed to PS4, but it’s not out just yet. Curses.

Zachtronics’ new game Shenzen I/O promises the joys and frustrations of engineering

Is there a greater genius than Zachary Barth working in games right now? I can’t think of one.

Barth, and his company Zachtronics, make puzzle games with an engineering bent. Games like
and , which is all about programming. Now he’s announced
, named after China’s electronics capital, and it looks absolutely amazing.

Shenzen I/O will launch on 6th October – on Early Access, naturally. “Engineering is hard!” enthuses the blurb. What a pitch!

Ark fans burned by Scorched Earth, the Early Access game’s “completely finished” expansion

Last week, Ark developer Wild Card announced Scorched Earth, a “completely finished” expansion for its Early Access survival success.

The news did not go down well.

Ark is still in Early Access – still unfinished. So the decision to charge for extra content already, however substantial it may be, came as a surprise.

Early Access dino hit Ark gets “completely finished” expansion

Steam Early Access and Xbox Game Preview hit Ark: Survival Evolved is getting a “completely finished” expansion today.

Ark: Scorched Earth will strand players in a harsh, fiery new desert area populated by Wyverns, because you wouldn’t want things to be easy in a survival game, would you?

While separate to the main game’s area, players will be able to travel between the two locations and share items gleaned from the expansion.