Wayback: Cornerstone Alpha

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I just discovered the Wayback machine thing. So, before I check Cornerstone’s most recent version, refresh your memory with this look at the original alpha.

“This game is like Dark Souls meets Wind Waker” the internet told me. Two of my favourite things, if it’d had a vat of chocolate milk attached I’d probably be in heaven. I watched the trailer, downloaded the demo and hated the stupid game. That was then. This is now.

I must have been in a particularly bad mood when I first played the game, everything about it pissed me off. I was like that guy who hates everything – “Look at the graphics!” I would shout, “They suck!” or “There’s no feedback in combat! What is this?!” Well.. I still think that, but it doesn’t make me angry any more.

If you’ve been intrigued by all this chat and checked out the demo, bare in mind it’s still alpha, so a lot of what I whinge and moan about will probably be fixed. But enough with what I was like then! I have a new job now, and I’m happy and stuff! I played Cornerstone again in this mood and I enjoyed it!

Cornerstone 2 776x250 Wayback: Cornerstone Alpha

The Wind Waker reference, at least in this alpha, is merely aesthetic. It has a similar look to the Nintendo classic, and the music is whimsical and nautical at the same time. Despite that, the full game promises a “structure similar to Wind Waker with a series of islands connected within a vast ocean.” I love the ocean. I lived by the sea for three years. I miss it.

But I digress; this game is pretty rough around the edges, but what is here has a lot of potential. The game opens on one of the aforementioned islands and has, thankfully, a minimal tutorial. There’s physics based puzzles here, a shallow crafting system, exploration and combat. There’s secrets and things hidden behind waterfalls; true to Zelda and Dark Souls.

Cornerstone 1 776x250 Wayback: Cornerstone Alpha

That Dark Souls reference is far a more pertinent one. This demo is hard. I died numerous times but, thankfully, the game gives you lives and fairly generous checkpointing. Plants who fire poisonous.. things (?) at you that bounce off walls?! Check. Giant dudes with axes who can attack through your shield?! Sure thing. Giant rock boss things that I didn’t understand? You betcha. The combat is about blocking and timing (and a hefty chunk of luck in this alpha state.) There’s no feedback on your hits as yet; no sound effects, no obvious animation to back up your successes (apart from if you manage a parry) but this is a solid base for progress.

The demo is pretty hefty – I didn’t explore every nook and cranny, nor did I understand some of the finer mechanics (how do you make floating platforms move? Answers on a postcard) but I still spent a good 45 minutes or so exploring the island.

I went from hating the game to kind of fancying it a little bit. An awkward kind of fancying when you’re excited to see what happens next even if you don’t know where it’s going.

Cornerstone’s Alpha demo is available to download right now!


Editor’s Note

Since I wrote this the game’s development has progressed massively. Be sure to check back with some updated Beta impressions soon.