Vortex: The Gateway – Stranded on an alien planet

Gare – Monday, October 12, 2015 3:59 AM
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What would happen if suddenly – out of nowhere – a portal opened up and whisked me away to a lush, alien planet full of vegetation and angry alien pigs? Well, I’d probably be able to survive for at least a day or two, if my initial experiences with Vortex: The Gateway are anything to go by. The game is currently in Early Access, with heavy emphasis on “early”, as it still feels very rough around the edges. But allow me to share with you my brief adventures.

So I start out in a lush forest, near a cliff. Jungle may be a more appropriate word. Thankfully, I find a handful of items near my starting area – some juice, food, a lighter, a machete and so on. First order of business would be to build some form of shelter, mostly because it’s your only means of saving your game, and also because it’d be nice to have a hidey hole of some sort when night falls and (I’m assuming) the monsters start prowling the woods. So I start chopping some bamboo with a machete. It takes a while, considering the smallest “house” requires quite a bit of it already.

I also come across some weird plants that could potentially glow in the dark – I pick them up just in case, as I have little faith in my flimsy lighter. Eventually, I hear an animal in the bushes – something that looks sort of like a pig and definitely screeches like one. So I violate some bushes with my machete to gain a few sticks, which I use to craft throwable spears – I do this after many failed attempts at chasing the little buggers down with said machete. Not only can they screech, they can also run, and if you’re trying to imagine what I must’ve looked like trying to catch one of these pigs, well… let’s just say it goes very well with the Benny Hill theme song.

Either way, I get my spears and start throwing them at the beasts, eventually succeeding to bring one down. Good, I think to myself, I’ve got some meat, at least. That means I won’t starve to death. I get back to the bamboo field to finish up my little bamboo house, but the sun had already begun to set (I felt day cycles changed a bit too fast, in fact), so I had to hurry up. I tactically placed my little hut between a cliff side and a sturdy tree – the more protection, the better, I thought; not that it mattered, seeing how my bamboo hut had no doors.

Either way, after going through the tedious motions of chopping bamboo and carrying them back to my construction site (only three logs at a time!) I finally finished my hut – which turned out to be about as spacy as an outhouse – and was ready to go to sleep… except I couldn’t. Apparently, there’s no sleeping mechanic in this game. So with nothing better to do, I ventured out into the dark wilderness.

Little did I know that one of your primary enemies in this game… is thirst. My thirst meter depleted at a staggering pace, much to my surprise, and I was growing increasingly irritated by the loud sounds of my character coughing and choking like he had just finished running a marathon. After some wandering around, I came across a group of cactus-like alien plants. Would there be water inside them? Not really, unfortunately – my machete did absolutely nothing to them. So I moved on. I made my way up a cliff to get a better look of my surroundings and noticed some blue lights in the distance. Blue means water, right? Well, maybe.

Either way, I trekked across the forest, a journey that was interrupted by a loud, booming noise and massive portal opening up in the skies above – it spat out something that looked like an alien ship, then closed back up. This couldn’t have been a good sign, so I instead continued my journey towards the blue lights. Well, they were mushrooms. Large, blue, glowing mushrooms. Just as I was about to curse my luck, I turned around and saw a little pond nearby – I was successful. I jumped into the water, ready to quench my thirst… but couldn’t. As it turns out, it’s the nearby “water crystal” that I needed – I couldn’t actually drink from the pond itself, which was odd, to say the least. I could technically die of thirst while standing in the middle of water, ironically enough.

The sun began to rise as I made my way back to my hut, thinking of what to do next. Maybe I’ll chop some more bamboo to build a bigger house. Or something.

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