Early Access titles seem to be what all the cool kids are doing in the game designing world for better, but more often for worse. From the excellent uses of the system found in Starbound to the terrible lack of attention that destroyed The Stomping Land, Early Access as a term comes with a bit of mixed perception. As a whole, I’m a big advocate of Early Access games, but when the system is abused or the games that lack any sort of coherency get onto the Steam Marketplace, it’s more than frustrating as a gamer and as a writer. It’s hard to find games on the Steam Marketplace as is, so throwing in tons of Early Access titles with questionable quality just makes things asinine.
That’s where Levl Up Bros, a monthly subscription-based platform for Early Access titles, seeks to stand out with its service. Players will be able to play an unlimited amount of games and be given the option to pre-order games when they are eventually published. There are some interesting indie games and rom hacks to check out, but more games should start showing up as the platform develops. So how does Levl Up Bros seek to enhance the gaming experience for both developers and gamers?
Even seasoned designers often find publication disconcerting. The percentage a development team should make is usually slashed down by larger publishing companies, limiting profits, but adding marketing solutions. Levl Up Bros seeks to give developers a broader range of publishing options, as well as a system that allows popular content to be shown prominently.
The entire platform focuses on levels in the traditional, RPG sense. Players will be able to gain levels from completing quests, which can be as simple as leaving a comment on a game’s page or pre-ordering a title. This way, feedback is encouraged. The levl up system also wants to reward its players by giving them free memberships, as well as full-game downloads as they level up their account.
Games will also have levels, gaining experience points based on comments, time played and much more. This way, the best gaming experiences is featured by the system. The Levl Up Bros will not only give attention to these games on their client, but also on their various blogs and outlets, such as their Twitch or YouTube channels.
Levl Up Bros seeks to provide a space for game designers to stay focused on making their games. The platform takes care of marketing and distribution, as most gaming clients such as Steam seek to do, but also rewards developers and players for engaging in their service. Where Levl Up Bros currently focuses on computer gaming, it also seeks to branch out into console gaming, giving players a chance to truly shape the way games are designed by giving feedback to developers.
Many games and studios have already agreed to be featured in the early era of the Levl Up Bros client. Disciples of the Storm, an ambitious attempt to recreate a classic PC game—a game we’ve featured before here on Giga—is on that list. Other than that, the other titles are unfamiliar, but that’s exactly what this client needs: unknown titles utilizing the system to further their goals.
If Levl Up Bros succeeds in its Kickstarter campaign, a test client should be available in the Spring of 2016, with more features slated to roll out by the Summer. Users can take a look at the Levl Up Bros website for an idea of the sort of aesthetic the creators are going for.
Unfortunately, as of now, there is no prototype available for use. All of the designs proposed in the campaign, as well as the visuals behind the assets used gives a really solid first impression; however, there is no way of knowing how the platform will fair until its available for testing, at the very least. There’s also a lack of editing apparent on the campaign and its website, hopefully it will be rectified in the future.
Either way, it would be interesting to see a new outlet for Early Access. Some games would truly benefit from this system. Until Levl Up Bros rolls out for testing, I’ll continue picking through the mountains of Early Access titles on Steam, searching for gems.