10 best early access games to try out on Steam in 2021
Rough diamonds that shine bright - here are the best early access PC games to play on Steam in 2021
Despite several years’ passing (the debut of Steam Early Access took place in 2013), Early Access enjoys unfading popularity among PC players. No wonder, because from the very beginning the economic aspect is the most attractive feature of Steam Early Access. The program guarantees creators the ability to obtain additional funds for games’ completion, while players receive cheap Steam games. Unfortunately, Early Access has a “dark side” - it is often treated as a market research, and many titles that were released in early development phase never got to an official premiere.
Nonetheless, Steam Early Access shouldn't be disregarded. It’s worth mentioning that one of last year’s best indie games Hades was originally released in Early Access. Among others, the first titles that were made available to a wider audience thanks to the program were Arma 3, Kerbal Space Program and Prison Architect. However, we do not want the article to be all like “those were the days”, so we’ll focus only on games that were quite successful in 2020. So, here’s our list of best PC games from Steam Early Access.
Baldur’s Gate 3
Baldur's Gate 3 launched in Early Access on October 6, 2020. The full game is scheduled to be released in late 2021.
As you can see, Early Access games are not only for games from unknown developers, but also for titles of the series, which are considered legendary. An example of such a classic is a famous RPG series Baldur’s Gate, which takes a special place in the hearts of its players. And just a few months ago, the third game in the series appeared.
While this is a direct sequel, there were significant changes to the gameplay, including the introduction of a turn-based combat system. Even though the version that went to the Early Access phase only contains the first act of the adventure, the length of the game cannot be complained about. It takes over 20 hours to complete the main plot… It’s scary to imagine what's coming next 😉.
Democracy 4 has been released on Steam Early Access on October 6, 2020. The full version of the game will be released in the first half of 2021.
Everyone who’s ever considered becoming politicians should take a closer look at Democracy 4. This turn-based strategy allows players to take power in a fictitious democratic state, to lead it in such a way that all citizens live a prosperous and safe life. Of course, it’s easier said than done.
The game is very complex, and each decision has an impact on the country’s inhabitants. As a leader, the player will have to face not only the need to provide people with basic necessities, but also handle modern threats such as fake news or the growing influence of social media.
Everspace 2 launched in Early Access on January 18, 2021 and will remain there for the next year and a half.
The collection of great early access games was also enriched by the space shooter Everspace 2. And this time the developers decided to take a completely different direction. The first title had a lot of roguelike elements, but now these have been completely abandoned, with the devs’ opting for a game that is much closer to the RPG genre.
In Everspace 2 players will have to explore a huge open world full of life. However, exploration is not the safest pastime, as hostile space pirates lurk at every corner. Fortunately, along with subsequent tasks, the controlled spaceship gains new weapons, armor and numerous modifications, which allows you to deal with more and more powerful opponents.
Medieval Dynasty launched on Steam Early Access on September 17, 2020 and at least for the next six months, this state will not change.
Created by the Polish studio Render Cube, Medieval Dynasty is an interesting combination of an RPG game and simulator with elements of survival. The plot tells about the adventures of a young peasant living in the Middle Ages, who leaves his family home in search of work. Unfortunately, it turns out that the uncle who’s supposed to help him has passed away and the hero has to manage by himself.
Thanks to a lucky coincidence, he receives a piece of land from the local ruler, on which he decides to establish his own settlement. Initially, the gameplay is mainly about making sure that the hero survives the next day, but as the time passes, you’d get the option of managing your own village and its inhabitants. The creators of the game were heavily inspired by Kingdom Come Deliverance, thanks to which players can count on a large degree of realism.
Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord
Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord was released in the Early Access phase on March 30, 2020. The premiere of the full version is planned for the beginning of the second quarter of 2021.
Mount & Blade fans had to wait 10 years for the second part of the series. The full version is not ready yet, but, hey, it’s still here! The gameplay mechanics of Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord do not differ too much from what appeared in previous games in the series.
Once again players received a gameplay consisting of two elements - strategic management of the army and cities on a huge world map and arcade battles. The main strong points are, above all, the skirmishes of great armies, which have been significantly improved and developed compared to what was in the previous Mounth & Blade games.
Phasmophobia hit Steam Early Access on September 18, 2020. The full version is expected to debut in 2021.
Although Phasmophobia was created mainly for virtual reality, this it can also be played without VR goggles. A cooperative horror game allows allows you to become a member of ghost hunting team whose main task is to explore haunted places and gather the evidence for the existence of ghosts.
However, the spirits keep their secrets tight and try to hinder the searchers' actions as much as possible. The speech detection system implemented by the developers also deserves a distinction. It allows you to interact with ghosts using your own voice. Despite the introduction of such unusual mechanics, the price of Phasmophobia is affordable.
Prodeus joined the ranks of early access games on November 9, 2020. It is expected to leave the Early Access phase within 8-12 months.
Classic FPS are back on the radars! Prodeus, which represents this genre, is getting very popular among Steam players. Boomer shooter strongly refers to the old school roots of the genre, which means that it’s the gameplay that matters the most, not the plot. Older players will also appreciate the retro-styled graphics.
Although the campaign itself can be completed in less than 5 hours, Prodeus can theoretically be played indefinitely. You can create your own levels with special tools provided by the developers, which you can then share with the community. The game receives great ratings and, due to the reasonable price, it will certainly be in the libraries of those hunting for cheap Steam games.
Satisfactory went to Steam Early Access on June 8, 2020. The title will exit the Early Access phase when… it is ready 😉 - the exact date has not been announced.
Satisfactory is one of the games that initially debuted exclusively on the Epic Games Store. After a year of exclusivity, the title also appeared on Steam, where it experienced a second youth, attracting tens of thousands of new players.
This title can be described as three-dimensional Factorio, which focuses primarily on building and improving huge factories and construction lines. The exploration elements and the fight against the hostile creatures inhabiting Planet Massage 2 (AB) are very colourful.
Shieldwall entered the Early Access category on March 23, 2020. The full version is expected to appear in the next few months.
The strategic action game Shieldwall allows you to play the role of a Roman leader, take control of a legionnaires squad and guide them to a victory. Although the production allows you to play the most famous battles fought by the Romans during the times of Julius Caesar, the graphics suggest that this is a title that treats the historical realities quite loosely.
The game itself is based on very simple rules. To win, you must destroy enemy units and capture all the victory points on the map. But don’t get tricked by its simplicity, because Shieldwall provides challenging missions which make the whole experience rewarding.
Totally Accurate Battle Simulator
Totally Accurate Battle Simulator was released in the Early Access phase on April 1, 2019. The full version was supposed to debut in 2020, but Covid-19 thwarted the developers' plans.
This gem has generated over 50,000 reviews on Steam, 98% of which are positive. 😮 Full of absurd humor, the strategy game Totally Accurate Battle Simulator allows players to take command of huge armies composed of various types of units. The creators added not only a lot of warriors from different eras, but also animals, artillery and even zombies.
The composition of the squad will therefore depend only on the player's imagination and a limited amount of gold to buy troops with. After selecting the soldiers and deciding on the appropriate tactics, the great battle begins. Its outcome depends mainly on the decisions made at the previous stage, as the units are controlled by artificial intelligence, which is not always perfectly functioning at this stage.