You’re in a darkened cavern, nothing around you apart from some strange, undisclosed relics.
Interacting with the largest, one that seems to be emitting a strange, blue light – the only light source around you, in fact – you’re told that it needs to be powered. How? That’s for you to work out. And it won’t be any time soon. Because Core Keeper, coming shortly to Early Access, wants you to work everything out for yourself.
Looking in your inventory, you’ll quickly learn you can make some basic equipment: a torch, a pickaxe, a shovel. Thankfully, you’ll only need wood to get you started, and there seems to be quite a bit of wood dotted around your small cavern. With a torch in your hand, you realise you’re sealed in at all sides. Hmm.
But what if… Yes! That pickaxe you’ve just made from a few pieces of wood can chip away at the stone walls. You can dig your way out. But which direction to go in?
That’s up to you to decide. I decided to dig south; was I getting deeper into the cavern, or closer to an exit? Is there even an exit at all? I’ve spent some time with an Alpha build of Core Keeper, and I couldn’t tell you the answer to that. But I do know that as you explore further into the cavern, you’ll come across interesting – and often dangerous – discoveries. It wasn’t long until I dug my way to an open space filled with slime. Being faced with one unexpectedly meant I quickly met my demise.
Thankfully, dying in Core Keeper doesn’t mean starting over. You will find yourself back at your starting position with no items, however. So you’ll need to make your way back to where you died in order to retrieve your items. Maybe creating a chest back at your starting position, and stashing some useful items in it might not be a bad idea. It’s wise to be prepared, after all.
Coming across ore veins in the cavern allowed me to gather some copper, which I used to make better equipment. Before long I had a much hardier pickaxe and a sword, meaning I was finally prepared to face off against the slew of slime monsters I knew were waiting for me.
Battling my way through the slimes led me to a strange, glowing plant. Picking it up also gave me its seed; planting it would enable me to begin my own little farm. Well, eventually – first I need to find a spot of land that’s suitable. I’ll just have to keep looking; Core Keeper is a game of exploration and discovery. Keep on mining and you’ll never know what you might find.
There’s a lot more to Core Keeper, and I know in my short time with the game, I’ve not even really scratched the surface. But that’s the joy of a game like this; you never know what’s waiting for you around each corner. Progressing deeper into the cavern, finding new items and making your character stronger with each new discovery is all part of the joy of playing. I can’t wait to find out what else is lurking in the darkness.
If you enjoy adventures that don’t hold your hand, that allow you to carve out your own path – quite literally – then Core Keeper is one to watch. An Open Alpha begins on Wednesday 1st December and runs until 14th December, allowing you to try out the game for yourself and begin to discover some of its secrets.