This time around, the Linux version has also seen a little love. The game was previously locked to 30FPS for me, which is no longer the case so it does feel quite a bit smoother now. Everything just feels better as a result, so it's been more enjoyable. Sometimes it does seem to randomly lock it back to 30FPS, but not all the time like before.
This release has made the I.M.P robots have a bit of personality, so if you don't look after them and give them plenty to do, they might start getting depressed and misbehave. They might get a little bored and get a little curious like this (love it!), or they might get a little frustrated and kick your stuff like this.
More importantly, the AI for Chickens has improved. They come with new physical and personality traits, so some might be more social, some might be more likely to catch fire from sparks and so on. They can also pass on their traits to future space Chicken generations.
You can also now middle-click items, to have specific colonists have access to it. In addition, hovering over colonists now gives ECG readouts to give you an idea of how they're doing, plus you now see what items they have on them too. There's plenty more, like item placement and path-finding improvements, mouse-over info for different terrain types and tons of general cleanups and bug fixes to make the game just feel more polished.
The developer did an overview video of this new release, all really good stuff. Turn up the volume though, they're rather softly spoken…
I've had a love/hate relationship with the game, but thankfully each patch has moved me closer towards love. I'm a nut when it comes to building games and the sci-fi setting is exactly what I love, plus the practically retro-future visuals remind me of Aliens (one of my favourite films).
I've played around with the new release for a while today and I've been able to progress further than I have ever done so before, I only killed one colonist in an hour, so to me that's a solid indication that the game has improved, whereas previously after 20-30 minutes I would encounter game-breaking bugs, I've been able to play multiple hours without any big stoppers now. There's still many places it could improve, but I'm still pleased to see it progressing.
One of the major issues right now, is that you still don't ever have a good idea of what your colonists are currently doing. A better building priority system, along with a way to see who's going to do what in the UI directly would be extremely welcome.
I also think the constant flow of messages from colonists, events and so on ends up feeling a bit spammy and in the way, but some people might like the constant influx of chatter. Toning it down a little I think would help players focus a little, instead of the feeling of constant interruptions.
You can read about the latest update here, the amount of work that went into this release is pretty nuts. Simon Roth, from Machine Studios certainly puts in a lot of effort and it's finally starting to show in the actual gameplay.