Please note that The Kindred is on Early Access and therefore will still be a work-in-progress game with many changes, bug fixes and additions.
The Kindred could, at first, be mistaken for another take on Minecraft. It has blocks of all different shapes to be placed at will, things to mine, a 3D landscape made of squares, it’s all there. But dig deeper (maybe literally in this case!) and you’ll see that this is a game that’s just as much about management as it is about building.
My first clue to this came from the 4 ‘Kin’ that you need to send off to do jobs. Rather than directly mining, growing or building, these people are given orders to get the work done and happily trundle off to wherever it is you send them. Chopping down trees, levelling land, planting seeds or building houses, it’s all there and the tutorial took me through a good chunk of it before letting me loose in my very own procedurally generated land.
Like Minecraft, a workbench needs to be built to then build more intricate objects like planks of wood and doors but resource gathering is dealt with in a way more suited to games like The Settlers, where one or more of your little guys goes off to do each task. Unfortunately, it’s currently not that easy to send individual Kin off to do something specific, but it’s something I hope the developer, Persistent Studios, will change on a later release.
Building is made interesting due to the isometric style camera. Minecraft is first or third person and building means putting blocks directly in front of you, The Kindred does it a different way, highlighting whole areas to cover and then waiting for your people to come and build it. Like any workmen, they need their breaks and beds will need to be designed pretty early on so they get enough sleep. They will also require food, so creating a working farm near your house is also pretty essential. I’d have liked to see a better system of bars for health and stamina so you could tell instantly when one was getting tired, but they just end up taking themselves off to bed, anyway.
Because of the isometric camera, the small size of the blocks and the range of materials available from the off, there are some great designs in The Kindred that look more intricate than Minecraft’s more blocky houses. It takes a little longer to build them as the camera and the process of placing the blocks can be tricky, not mentioning the length of time it takes to get a Kin to the house in the first place to start work. The saving grace here comes in the fast forward button (though this, too, could do with a bit of an overhaul) to speed all the work up.
Further updates are sure to widen the scope of the game, the Kin characters look ideal for adding a further level of interactivity to the game through their actions with each other and enhancing the things they can do would be a smart move. As it stands, though, The Kindred is still a great example of Early Access gaming that is a lot of fun despite the bugs and shows a lot of promise for the future.
You can check out The Kindred for yourself over on Steam Early Access.