As one of the first games available for Early Access purchase in 2015, the tinyBuild published, Mokus developed Boid has promising gameplay, even as the game’s mechanics need improvement.

Available for the PC through Steam, Boid is a real-time strategy with a minimalist lovers appearance, stripping all but the essentials in warfare at the bacterial level. With combat focused on counter play and heavy mouse usage, Boid’s simplicity in the graphical department allows players to easily understand what they will be attacking with, as well as what is coming to attack the player. This simplicity builds further on the fundamental principles of the RTS that tinyBuild will nurture as the title continues through their upcoming Early Access Program.

Gameplay is at the heart of Boid, and it’s the biggest reason you should own it. With one-on-one combat available at launch on Steam, and several months of early access planned for improvement, and already good game can be great in just a short while. Beginning with a few multi-cell life forms, you’ll start all-out warfare by evolving your units in specialized platforms placed throughout the map. Contest with AI units for control of these neutral plots, battling stronger life forms with masses of your weaklings as you scale up your units in preparation for the real threat – your friends.

Boid is best played among friends, as one-on-one combat on varied maps will test your skills and intelligence through quick matches. In less than 10 minutes, with intuitive controls, you’ll be feeling the heat of competition with your friends without the frustration of more complex RTS titles. Simplicity in controls is both an upside and disadvantage in this Early Access title, and I expect a change in how this works as hotkeys aren’t usable at this time. Something that has become synonymous with the RTS genre having been missing at launch does take a bit away from Boid, but mouse-zoom controls and basic clicking do the well enough to make a match fun. These basic controls show Mokus’ inexperience with PC titles, as the mobile focused company is making its first transition a promising venture, but need to step up their game – something they hope to do with your input throughout the Early Access period.

Boid lacks a story entirely, and has only the most basic of tutorials to get you started. While this impacts our ratings system, Boid is built as a gameplay first title as it launches into Early Access. Given the intuitive controls, you’ll have more fun with Boid by learning as you go against your friends, and that is clearly what this game is all about. Boid is well polished for its design, but lacks a polished feel. Mechanics are fantastic, and nothing feels out of order, but the visual design of vibrant flat units on a high definition background might make you shy away. Justifying these flat characters with flashy effects to their deaths could help Boid in the future, but don’t let the title’s average looking screenshots discourage you from what is an otherwise solid title.

As with other Early Access titles, Boid is not a complete product at this time. While I entered the closed Beta at version 0.5.22, my time with Boid will leave me coming back for more. Having decent replay value, Boid is good for the competitive gamer who needs to settle a debate with their friend, but doesn’t want to spend hours doing so. Look forward to more details on Boid as it updates in the coming months right here on PowerLeveled, and pick up Boid when it officially launches on Steam Early Access this January 8th, 2015.