Ok, here we go:
I played the demo a bit last night. Technically, things were quite smooth, no issues or stuttering on my laptop ( i7-10870H CPU, 3070 laptop GPU, 16 GB RAM).
The aesthetic was clean and appealing. The default keys for the UI felt strange with tab being ‘combat lock on’ and the escape key being ‘show inventory.’ I didn’t feel the need to immediately re-map those but coming to this from a lot of time in Palworld and Enshrouded, I kept hitting the wrong buttons. If I purchased the game and was playing for real I would definitely remap those buttons.
Did not have any issues figuring out what to do, and the gathering/crafting mechanics were easy to figure out.
I was a little unclear on the ‘co-op’ aspect until I logged into a world and saw that there’s 4 spots for bedrolls so it immediately became clear that you can play this with up to 3 friends.
I was a bit surprised to have a partially constructed base. Maybe that was done for demo purposes, but i found it a bit strange. People like organizing their base in their own way. I built a couple of items including the tank (that’s what you call the chest yes?). Interesting that you can only build one of those storage containers, since storage is typically one of the issues people have with these game (or maybe it’s hoarding!).
You can craft with materials in your chest. Big thumbs up!
I feel like crafting needs either a slight delay or some sort of visual and audio feedback. Right in the beginning I crafted an axe, but because there wasn’t any feedback I thought I hadn’t done it, so I crafted another one. If there was a little progress bar or a sound I wouldn’t have thought that.
I don’t understand item respawn mechanics. None of the items I harvested respawned while I played so I was unsure if respawns happen on a set timer or if it only occurs when you quit and relaunch. Tier 1 materials were a bit sparse around the initial base, and since nothing regrew, I had to eventually range far and wide to harvest them (is this a forced exploration mechanic?).
Item decay seemed to be a bit overtuned, especially without a way (at least initially) to repair items.
The hunger mechanic was fine. I was able to understand that food both fills your stomach and restores your hearts. I guess it’s ok that when your stomach is full you can’t eat any more, but if you still need hearts it’s a bit annoying. Plus, when you’re full the ‘eat’ option disappears from food. I understand the design rationale for that (only put things in the right click menu that people can do) but what that design does is make people think “I was able to eat before but now I can’t. Why not?” Rather than do that, I think it would be clearer if you left ‘eat’ in the right-click menu, but popped up a message saying you can’t eat when your stomach is full.
I found combat the smallest bit frustrating. While there’s a lock-on, trying to melee the mobs was a bit tough since a lot of them run away from you at every opportunity. Fighting 4 or so of those little guys that look like Ewoks, the ones who throw the little ‘bombs’ or whatever they are, was especially frustrating. I actually preferred the frogs/boars, who run right up to you, since it’s then easy to down them.
When getting downed myself, I was confused when I respawned on the beach, and not at my base. Feels like most builders have a respawn mechanic that puts you back at your base when you die. I do like that you don’t drop your stuff when you die.
I wanted some sort of popup or encyclopedia to catalog the mobs in the world. There’s no highlighting of them aside from combat and I wanted to find out some of the mobs names and learn more about them, but I couldn’t (apologies if there IS an encyclopedia in-game, I didn’t really look for one). Also, since there’s no hover text or info presented when you hover over a friendly NPC, when I got to the first big town to complete the “speak to X” quest I basically had to run around and click on every NPC until I hit the jackpot. That doesn’t feel good.
I did a fair bit of exploration and the world seemed pretty interesting but I did not see a ton of variety - of course the demo area is pretty limited so I attributed the lack of variety to that.
Feels like there’s an overarching plot to drive things along, but I to be honest, I sort of glossed over stuff since I was only spending a bit in the game and I wanted to get to the crafting and exploring. So I was doing stuff but often not sure why! I’m sure the game will launch with a full-blown intro that sets up the plot and so that won’t be an issue.
I was strongly reminded of Grounded when I made and equipped the leaf armor.
To summarize: Oppidum seems like a perfectly good cozy type builder/survival/exploration game. While the demo seemed decent at showing off the general game loop, I think the demo will suffer from comparisons to Palworld and Enshrouded, two insanely popular survival games that people are currently playing. At the two-thousand foot point of view, this game reminds me to Grounded and My Time At Sandrock. I didn’t play Grounded and only played Sandrock a few hours. I’m not a super fan of this aesthetic so I don’t think I will be playing it at launch but I could change my mind if I saw some interesting progression, or if I find out more about the plot and it hooks me.