Islet Online Hits Steam Early Access
It seems that Islet Online's release date of "soon" was accurate, as it released on Steam Early Access yesterday. The Minecraft-like MMORPG by the Korean studio Morenori Soft went live to moderate reception, currently holding a 60% positive rating on Steam. The most common complaints seem to be that the skill system is cool, but doesn't seem to do anything, and that—even with the 20%, or $5, launch discount—the $24.99 price point is way more than users feel it should be.
I played Islet Online while the demo servers were online at the end of last year and, at the time, I had thought it could be a potentially good evolution of ever-tiring block-based survival genre. I liked being able to customize my character. The ecosystem was fairly cool and I personally watched rabbits eat grass and flowers and become suspicious of me, even as I tried to befriend them. The skill system that leveled skills with use was also refreshing, as it's rare to even see a system like it in "traditional" MMORPGs these days. However, I also got the feeling that it would have to really push these features to escape Minecraft's shadow and it did not seem to be doing that quite yet. Simply bringing the genre to a persistent online world would not be enough.
Morenori Soft does, however, plan to spend the better part of the year bringing the game to a release state. The current tentative "full release" date is set for Q4 2016. The planned features list includes monsters, human NPCs, a more detailed ecosystem, a modding SDK, and more animals, items, and skills. They may very well be able to make a game that sets itself apart between now and release.