Why does everything hate me?
Maia is currently in Alpha and can be bought on steam for £17.98. Maia is currently playable with PC and Linux with Mac support coming later in development.
After a successful Kickstarter last year, Maia has released into the treacherous waters of the Steam early access. Currently, the game includes little more than basic base building, colonist AI, environmental effects and a beautiful lighting engine. Much like Dungeon Keeper 2 you do not control colonists directly, instead choosing what to build and where, and telling your robot where to dig. You may also notice subtle references, the model of robot that you use to dig is called I.M.P after the iconic imps from Dungeon Keeper and the main food source are hyper modified chickens. Much better than the boring old normal chickens of yore!
Maia is set in the not-too-distant future of 1970s sci-fi. Glorious analogue monitors and cassette tapes adorn the research labs and generally the game has a look similar to Alien or Solaris. On top of this, the game also has a lot of humour in it which comes through in names such as “Bum Support” and the feelings of colonists and animals.
Beyond this, though, the game has little to write home about as it is too early in development to tell what the final game will be like (We expect this preview might be outdated very quickly). So instead what we’ll do is write out our wish list and Simon Roth will read it and, as he is a cool guy, take it on board and maybe use it.
Alien Lifeforms – Simon Roth has already said that aliens will be in Maia but what we want is giant aliens. Towering behemoths that can tear out whole sections of our base. As Dwarf Fortress has taught us, losing is fun.
Tame-able Aliens – If we can’t convert some horrible little alien creatures to our cause, then we’ll be disappointed. (Will also settle for making food out of aliens).
Awesome Disasters – We’ve already got earthquakes and solar flares, now to up the ante and include weird ones, like; Broken solar panels focusing beams of light powerful enough to kill colonists. Wind turbines falling over and unleashing a spinning wheel of death or colonists going insane and performing an amateur hour Event Horizon.
Multiple Bases – This is probably already on the menu but we want to mention it anyway. The ability to have multiple bases on different parts of the world, in different biomes, would be something that would set Maia out from all the others.
Exploration – Currently we are stuck in our base with nothing to do, something that will change soon enough. What we want for the future though, is to have more than our base(s), to be able to send a group of colonists out into the world to explore, hunt and research.
The only real problems we have with the game right now, that aren’t due to bugs, are; the messages that colonists and command send you. While they are funny, they pop up at the worst possible times and you have to either look past them or stop what you are doing to close them. The control scheme is also very erratic as you use keys 1 – 9 to change rooms but V & B to change objects. This could be solved by changing them both to the one system or having an item menu similar to games like Prison Architect or Theme Hospital.
Maia has a lot of great ideas and promises to be a great game when it is completed. Unfortunately, for just now all we can really do is either support Simon Roth with our money now or wait until the game is released to throw our wallets at him.