Defend your new island home in the pre-alpha release of Polycraft!

Beta testing is great, but if you really want to help shape a game’s development, it helps to get in on the process even earlier than that. The catch is that few developers actually let you do that, but Wonderstruck is allowing people to take a pre-alpha version of its upcoming action/strategy game Polycraft for a spin. Consider it a hands-on sneak peek at how you might survive on a mysterious island inhabited by hostile natives.

Polycraft

A pre-alpha build is like the video game equivalent of a rough draft, and that’s a fair way to describe Polycraft right now. The blocky placeholder art will eventually be replaced by more colorful, exotic graphics, and the size of the island is pretty small. But it’s definitely playable – and in any browser, since it’s built on HTML5 – and there’s more than enough functionality to give you a good idea of what awaits in the finished product.

Your nameless survivor has to get right to work chopping down trees (no worries folks, they grow back) and gathering lumber. That wood is needed to build a headquarters, lumber storage and woodworking buildings. Apparently staffing is not an issue on the island.

Defensive structures like walls and towers are also a must, as the island is far from deserted. Creatures called wildlings have set up camp in the surrounding wilderness, and they turn out to be somewhat unfriendly. You can take them and their bases out using your trusty bow, but doing so too aggressively can fill up the Invasion meter. As you can probably guess, that leads a wave of wildling trouble right to your door. Even upgrading your buildings too much seems like it can set off an invasion, creating some nice tension as you race to bolster your base.

Polycraft

Polycraft

Concept Art

A resource called Amber can make your life easier, and it can be purchased in-game with real money even at this stage of the game. Anyone choosing to do so will become a VIP and receive exclusive bonuses going forward, and purchased Amber will be restored to those players’ accounts every time Polycraft is updated to a new build.

The developers at Wonderstruck have previous experience working on games like Black and White 2 and Fable 2, so it’s not hard to believe them when they say that many more features are in the works before the game makes it to its official release. They’re also counting on the feedback from anyone who decides to be an early adopter, which you can become by heading to ga.me/polycraft and signing up for a free account.