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Return From Core Review: Early Access

When I first heard about Return From Core, the idea of climbing my way up from the guts of the Earth excited me. I’m a big fan of games where you can get lost in crafting, building, and fighting off creatures, and this game promised all that with a twist. It’s an early access title that’s just made its way to Steam, and after some hands-on time, I’m ready to share my journey.

First Impressions

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Starting out, I designed my character with some simple choices to make it feel a touch more ‘me.’ The game offered me two pathways: one for newbies to sandbox games and another for seasoned players. I chose the latter; I like to jump into the deep end.

My journey began with a story that blitzed by too fast, the text racing so quickly I could barely catch the tale. It’s a hiccup I hope gets smoothed out, but the gist was clear enough: I’m here, it’s dark, and there’s work to do.

With just a torch and my hands, my guide Lilith, a monster girl with attitude, filled me in on what happened. I got knocked out by a creature named “Big Fella,” and there we were, underground, needing to climb our way up. It was time to dig in—literally.

Digging In

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Left-clicking chipped away at the walls, showering me with bits like clay and moss. The game smartly peppers in colorful stones and twinkling darkness to hint at treasures or dangers hidden in the rock. Every swing might bring a rat scurrying out or uncover a chunk of valuable ore.

The wildlife got pretty interesting quickly. Some creatures were out to get me, while others seemed friendly. I tended to bash first and apologize later. Plus, you can toss your pickaxe to deal with nasties from a distance. It’s got a neat boomerang trick—throw it, and it comes right back.

It’s not all about hitting stuff, though. Blue mushrooms lit my path here and there, and I munched on bat wings and red mushrooms to keep my energy up. Getting creative by the campfire, I cooked up recipes that gave me better boosts, like making me hit faster or healing up wounds.

Navigating the caves meant leaping over gaps or crafting bridging blocks. The crafting got deeper as I stumbled upon a broken door that needed copper plates. That’s where the automation magic happens: a fire furnace churns out resources, fed by conveyer belts. It’s part of a system that’s satisfying to piece together.

Trouble and Escape

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Just as I thought I was making real progress, a quake hit. Big Fella was on the move, and Lilith and I scrambled. I lost my pickaxe in the chaos, arriving at core level 1 bare-handed. Cue more resource gathering, this time to craft a new pickaxe from scratch.

Going it alone, I met more monster girls with their tales to tell. They could fight alongside me, help out in a pinch, or even become something more if we hit it off. But survival was my number one goal. Setting up my own camp was essential, complete with crafting stations and farm plots. Running water lines and setting traps became part of my daily to-do list.

My Verdict So Far

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Return From Core has been a blast, despite the glitches with the text that are probably just growing pains. The blend of survival, crafting, and exploration kept me entertained. Each new level I reached had fresh sights and gear to find, giving a real sense of discovery.

I’ll be honest—the English isn’t perfect. It can be wonky and gets cut off at times, but it wasn’t a deal-breaker. I grasped the story and what I needed to do. I could even get charmed by the monster girls’ quirks and backstories.

The fighting felt good, right from the get-go. Tossing my pickaxe felt powerful, and battling got intense with enemies charging at me from the get-go. It’s not over-the-top, but it’s gratifying.

Progressing through tech and skill trees kept me hungry for more resources. Setting up my own little base of operations, with the machinery humming and plants growing, felt rewarding. It was a treat to see my camp expand and evolve, even if more monsters meant I had to be ready to defend my turf at all times.

About the author

Tom Henry

I worked as a PM in video games, now I'm trying some new things.