Klei Entertainment - the studio responsible for games like Don't Starve - has been working on testing strategy fans with Oxygen Not Included for a while. The colony-building game has been in Early Access since 2017, but two years later, we're treated to the full release this summer, and we've been getting stuck in ourselves to see whether we've got what it takes to keep our crew alive with limited resources.
On our first run we were really fumbling around, so much so that we managed to dig ourselves into a position where we couldn't access everything we'd already built (it happens to the best of us, especially in the 2D world), and on our second run we learned a bit, making sure we could access everything we needed to. That is, until we dug into the bottom of an underground lake and managed to flood our fledgling colony before it had even started. Nightmare.
But that's the beauty of the first few hours with Oxygen Not Included, because there's an inner monologue saying "I'd best not do that again" or "I'll do this differently next time". What's more is that, since it's been in Early Access so long, there's already a community built around it, and one trip to YouTube or Google gives you the answers you need to your conundrums, and some pointers for how to improve.
After the first few hours we really found ourselves getting to grips with the game, especially with the little hints and tips boxes on the top left, and that's when the fun really started. That said, there are some bits were extra clarity or tutorials could have been provided to make things clearer, because for the longest time we couldn't figure out why we were unable to sweep up certain items, for instance. With so many systems at play, just a little more explanation in certain areas wouldn't have gone amiss.
And trust us when we say there are a lot of systems, which are all interconnected. There are several parameters you need to pay attention to when building your colony - from temperature to oxygen, food, stress, germs, and more - and all of these impact one another. You won't be able to build a good colony without finely balancing these elements, especially oxygen (which isn't included, if you hadn't heard).
The ways all of these work together is incredibly detailed, and one example of this is the fact that oxygen rises while carbon dioxide sinks, so having tall rooms meant our workers often ran out of breathable air performing tasks on the floor, as you can see in action in the livestream replay above.