PC gaming is always riding high off of Steam Games in Early Access. These greenlit games are in development and at a playable stage to showcase their vision as well as their shortcomings. For months and oftentimes for years, developers will sell and update their alpha and beta versions of their games in hopes of building a dedicated community of gamers that will stay long past their release dates. 


Occasionally you will run into games that descend into development hell where the updates are few and far between. Thankfully, those duds are eclipsed by the gems in the rough with the buzz to keep them going as well as the funds to push on. 


M.A.S.S. Builder

If you can imagine what a good Pacific Rim game would look like then you certainly have it in M.A.S.S. Builder. There’s big robots, lots of guns, lots of swarming missiles, big monsters (aka kaiju), and anime stylings to top it all off. What more can you ask for?

Thankfully, M.A.S.S. Builder lives up to its name and allows you to fully customize the appearance, tech, and weaponry of your mech. Tossing in a bit of looter shooter elements into the mix, M.A.S.S. Builder lets you collect tons of parts while in battle for use later on. This allows you to further upgrade and customize your mech.

It will be interesting to see how the evolution of this game changes the enemies you face, the environments you face them in, and the arrival on consoles! 


Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord

As the long standing sequel to one of the most impressive medieval battlefield games ever created, Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord is a massive game. Announced back in 2012, Bannerlord is the kind of action-RPG that puts you in the midst of hundreds of allies and foes and expects you to both command and take part in the action. 


Since the original was released back in 2008, various expansions were released to add content and features. Fans loved the core that made Mount & Blade unique but craved better graphics, better gameplay balance, and more of a focus on strategy, story, and even multiplayer. Bannerlord seeks to address it all and more and has steadily built upon this promise since its Early Access release in 2020. 


Gamers looking for an impressive medieval battlefield experience that weaves in strategy and RPG elements need look no further. Mount & Blade: Bannerlord is shaping up to be a spectacular sequel.


Gladiator Guild Manager

Gladiator Guild Manager puts you in the shoes of, well, a gladiator guild! In a world filled with orcs, magic, and other creatures, you build buildings for your guild. These buildings give you access to more gladiator and creature types. Of course, you must pay these gladiators so you must take them all on the road and battle at various arenas on a map. There you will place them on one side of a map against a revealed number of foes. The more difficult the battle you choose, the better your rewards. Survive all of the battles of the arena and you can move on to the next!


Developer Entertainment Forge started this game via a Kickstarter and has been adding new units, arenas, gladiator items, and options as they’ve gone along. There’s a joy to be found in seeing one or two experienced gladiators tank one a host of other foes all by themselves. Toss in a few magic users or ranged warriors to back them up and you have a team that can take them all on…at least until you encounter that arena boss that is!


Gladiator Guild Manager looks to be a fun little tycoon style game that stresses strategy over taking control of the action. Place your units and watch them slaughter their foes!


Baldur’s Gate 3

Baldur’s Gate 3 is the long awaited sequel to one of Dungeons & Dragons’ most epic games ever. Built as an isometric top down real time/turn based party strategy RPG, this expansive sequel is meant to be everything the Bioware original was and more. 


The developer, Larian Studios, is known for releasing the RPG classic Divinity: Original Sin which takes many of its elements and stylings from the Baldur’s Gate franchise. As a result, D&D fans are thrilled that their favorite franchise from 1998 is returning with a vengeance. 


Not only that, Larian Studios is taking time and care to hold frequent and well produced streams and patch update videos. Those curious about D&D most assuredly should take a chance on this faithful continuation of a classic franchise.


Epic Tavern

In early access for 3 or 4 years, Epic Tavern is a light-hearted fantasy tavern tycoon game. Built as a text based RPG of sorts, Epic Tavern lets you recruit, level up, and feed heroes as you build the best tavern in the land! You set the menu, set the prices, build tavern upgrade, and service your patrons. Then, once the day is done, you send your favorite patrons out on missions to help your tavern grow.


Epic Tavern beautifully lays out the roadmap for where it intends to go and what its fans would like to see. With transparent feedback and implementation tools, the devs of Epic Tavern have been steadily building Epic Tavern to have an impressive amount of depth. Granted the ‘action’ is very text heavy, the result is truly something that could allow the player to develop a unique story for every ‘tavern’ they start. 


(Honorable Mention aka Not On Steam)



Starsector is clearly born from a time in PC gaming when classic strategy games were plentiful. Games like Age of Wonders, Mechcommander, Space Rangers, Master Of Orion, Star Control, Mount & Blade, Master of Magic and more have blazed a trail for what stands to be the evolution of them all. In development for roughly 10 years, it is clear that developer Fractal Softworks not only wants to get it right, they want to craft a modern day classic.

Thanks to an amazing attention to detail, a balanced skill and strategy based combat system, and an impressive galactic sandbox to allow for various playstyle, Starsector is an early access gem not even featured on Steam. 


Starsector has a devoted and hardcore following much like fans of the Battletech franchise. Since Starsector has a ton of elements that allow for you to build your galactic empire in various ways, there are many mods, tip videos, and playthru sessions that only heighten one’s anticipation for what a final release of this game can be. Built as a sandbox of epic 4X strategy greatness, Starsector is easily a classic before it has even been released. It is imperative that 4X fans give Fractal Softworks the money and time needed to hone this masterpiece further.

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