Miasma Caves is a game with an interesting concept. There aren’t all that many games out there that are completely devoid of any and all combat, and even fewer that can pull of the concept well. Unfortunately Miasma Caves isn’t one of them, at least not yet.
The issue with early access games is that you’re sometimes tempted to account for a games potential. The reality is that a game on early access is still a game being sold for real money, so to give consumers a fair shake the games current state is the thing being dissected. No matter how much ‘potential’ there may be ahead.
Is it a Rogue-like?
Miasma Caves is either a roguelike or a rogue-lite, depending on who you ask. It features procedurally generated maps, mining gameplay and…not really all that much else. Yet. It does technically have some town construction type stuff, but it’s not really a feature right now.
Most of the actual gameplay takes place in the aforementioned procedurally generated caves. You explore these long labyrinthine structures to discover treasure that you can sell for gold. Then you use the gold to buy better equipment and provisions to help with your exploration. You can also save up your money to upgrade buildings, but this option is severely limited and really only adds token improvements.
The big issue with Miasma Caves is that there’s really not a lot to do. See it’s all well and good to go exploring a cave for treasure, but when all you can do with that treasure is sell it for money you’re going to get bored pretty quickly.
Since there’s nothing else to do with your money except buy stuff for exploring, you’re essentially just going exploring, so that you can keep going exploring. While the exploration gameplay is sound enough, it’s not really interesting enough on it’s own to keep the game going.
Honestly something to do with the treasures you find is certainly needed, anything besides selling them would do it. Crafting and building systems are a little passe these days, but maybe something to do with cataloguing, or researching. It could even be something that would actually fit into the pacifist nature that the game already has.
All so Much Fluff
Everything else included at Miasma Caves is basically filler, and there’s not even all that much of it. There are creatures in the caves, slimes and weird spherical sheep, but you can’t do anything with them. Actually technically you can scare the slimes and throw the sheep around but it doesn’t achieve anything.
The above town elements seem like they’re unfinished as well. You can talk to the various characters in the town, but they do nothing but spew the same lines of useless exposition at you. There’s no buildings to go inside, no story to experience. It all feels pretty empty.
It is not unreasonable to assume that these things will be fixed during the early-access process. As of right now however there’s just not much of a reason to pick the game up, especially not with a £15 price tag. It’s easy to see the direction that the dev wants to take, but it needs to make a little more headway before it can really be worth of a recommendation.