EA SCOUT the last line of defense for buying on Steam's Early Access
by Adam Nix
previewed on PC
First Day of Camp
Camp Canyonwood, the newest game developed by Deli Interactive and published by Graffiti games, puts you in the shoes of the newest camp counsellor at Camp Canyonwood. After the mysterious disappearance of the last counsellor, camp leaders are eager to throw new meat into the mix. After a short and quirky character creation, you are dropped off for your first day of camp.
Here come the campers
The meat of this game comes into play once the camper children get dropped off by their parents. Once they are dropped off, you are immediately in charge of them. At this point, you can direct your campers to do certain hunting and gathering tasks like chopping wood, catching bugs, fishing, and cooking. Each camper has a name, personality, and traits that are based on "badges" they can earn once they do a certain chore enough. For instance, I gave one of the campers an axe (not exactly the safest thing to hand out, but they've gotta learn somehow!) and had her do most of the chopping around camp. Pretty quickly, she earned her first wood chopping badge.
Once campers have been working on chores for a while, they get tired and need to eat. If they aren't working on chores, they get bored. For me, a lot of this game was worker management. Making sure students aren't hungry or bored was what I was focusing on above trying to actually gather resources. Part of the reason for this is because resource gathering is extremely slow. Just chopping down one tree can take more than a few minutes and usually knocks out a camper or two. I am sure this gets easier as the game goes on, but I found it frustrating how slowly I was progressing and how quickly my campers basically became useless from exhaustion. On top of that, all children conglomerate in one place. I was constantly running into issues with not being able to interact with the correct item or camper due to every game object being on top of each other.
As I levelled up my campers in the first few days of playing this game, I found it hard to really even know what it was improving. Campers still got exhausted after just one chore and I couldn't tell if it was because I was playing incorrectly or if it was just supposed to be this slow at the beginning of the game.
Although the game is Early Access, it was severely lacking in any direction besides the occasional tip. I never really knew or felt like I was doing the right thing or understanding how to best utilize my campers. There are a few other camp leaders who will give you tasks such as gathering wood or getting rid of beehives, but I never felt like I even had the material or ability to complete them. Even when I tried to complete them, I just found the tasks extremely boring.
At the end of the day, you and the campers go to bed. After that happens, your character will encounter a mysterious and cryptic moose-like figure that provides lore and information about the campsite and its mysterious disappearances. This character also adds extra buffs and game mechanics that you can select at certain points in the game. I was too early in the game to really take advantage of this, but I did enjoy the mysterious backstory to the camp.
Leaving Camp Early
This game has some interesting concepts. I love the idea of managing campers, getting them to earn badges, and connecting with them as I learn the mysteries of this campsite. All of these elements are present in the game, but they just weren't very fun. Campers were annoying to deal with and gathering resources took too long.
Although I found the backstory interesting, I just can’t see myself following it through if the gameplay stays like this throughout the game. A lot of these items can be fixed since this game is in early access and I will definitely check back in on Camp Canyonwood to see where they are going with it, but I can't recommend checking this out at its current state.
As always, follow us on Instagram for news updates, reviews, competitions and more.
The game has potential, but we're not ready to jump in with both feet. If the game interests you, look, but don't touch - yet.