Early Access Games
images: Funday Games, Intercept Games, HypeTrain Digital

Top 10 Early Access Steam Games

These are some very promising titles.

Early Access games, although incomplete, are opportunities to see what games could be. Your feedback to the developers may even help shape the game into something even better.

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Here are the best Early Access games on Steam, ranked.

What qualifies as an Early Access game?

Early Access games are those that have been purposefully released before they’re fully finished. This means that the developers can gain feedback and anticipate fans get to play the game early. Typically, Early Access games are released with a reduced price which will be bumped up when the game fully releases.

I will be ranking these Steam Early Access titles based on what they currently have in the game as well as what is to come. These games will either be pretty polished and robust already or are very promising and have lots to look forward to.

10 – Deep Rock Galactic Survivor

Deep Rock Galactic Survivor
Image: Funday Games

Deep Rock Galactic Survivor takes a spin on the massively successful Deep Rock Galactic, making it an auto-shooter horde game. Naturally, slaughtering waves upon waves of aliens isn’t all you’ll be doing. It’s Deep Rock Galactic after all, and you’re a Dwarf. There is plenty of rock and stone to mine, as well as precious resources and gems.

If you’re a fan of Deep Rock Galactic, you may not be necessarily a fan of Survivor, but those who love Bullet Hells may enjoy this change of theme and pace. It certainly has its uniquities and angles that other Bullet Hells don’t have like Enter the Gungeon or Vampire Survivors.

According to the roadmap, Funday Games seems to plan lots more of literally everything, and there’s already a healthy amount of content and weapons to have fun with.

For fans of reverse bullet hells set deep underground on alien planets, Deep Rock Galactic may be worth a try.

9 – Kerbal Space Program 2

Kerbal Space Program 2
Image: Intercept Games

Kerbal Space Program 2 is a sequel to the highly acclaimed original game that took the internet by storm. It’s been a very long time since then, but those Kerbal fans finally have more to look forward to. There is already so much in this game, but there is still so much more to come – including a whole new star system to explore.

Alongside exploring planets and space and building colonies, half the fun in Kerbal Space Program 2, like in the original, is in failing. Trial and error – and exploding things in spectacular ways – is what makes this game hard to put down. There is joy to be had in the destruction and jubilation to be had in the successes.

The roadmap for Kerbal Space Program 2 is a pretty technical one. Intercept Games plans to add another Star System to the game as well as improve the Colony system. The Science side and Tech Tree also plan to get expanded, with an “Exploration Mode” in the works. It looks like the game is expanding on multiple dimensions.

For fans of problem-solving and explosions, Kerbal Space Program 2 is for you.

8 – Ark Survival Ascended

Ark Survival Evolved Surival Of The Fittest
Screenshot: Studio Wildcard

Ark Survival Ascended is the troubled remaster of Ark Survival Evolved. Although there have been many bugs, Ark Survival Ascended does look to be an amazing game when all of the DLCs from AS Evolved make their way over. The game has a very long roadmap (that branches into 2025), but when it’s done, it’ll be a great survival game with dinosaurs and other beasts.

AS Ascended offers many improvements and upgrades from the original, like improved graphics, the map, and more dinosaurs. The developers themselves may be controversial, but the game is fun to play and has much to offer. Aside from lacking the other maps, currently, AS Ascended plays like a fully released game (if you ignore the bugs, and not the giant ones that want to kill you).

Although the roadmap is a long one consisting of added remastered DLC maps from the original, some more dinosaurs and creatures will be added throughout development. This is a remaster, don’t forget, so pretty much all of the game’s systems are already in place.

For Ark Survival fans, and fans of survival adventure games in general, Ark Survival Ascended will be worth a try.

Related: 30 Best Games on Steam of all time

7 – Lethal Company

Lethal Company 1
Image: Zeekerss

Lethal Company needs zero introduction. The co-op horror about salvaging distant moons to sell to the ambiguous Company that had the internet in a chokehold is only in Early Access. This means that there is so much more for Lethal Company to offer as it progresses, and it already does so much.

Commingling fear of the unknown with fear of the very much known, your heckles will always be raised as you and your team try to grab whatever they can on those threatening moons. Deadlines have never appeared so literal, so you better not fall behind or stay out at night.

There isn’t a rigid roadmap for Lethal Company, although Zeekerss has been adding smaller update packages every fortnight or so. More is to come, although the game is incredible as-is.

For fans of a fun time, Lethal Company is right there waiting for you.

6 – Nightingale

What Are Realm Cards In Nightingale Explained
Screenshot: Inflexion Games

Nightingale has only recently released, so there isn’t that much content for players to dive into – although there is more than plenty for your first many hours of gaming. With Victorian dressings, this allows you to use Realm Cards that you must create to open portals into new Realms – each with new characters, creatures, and Apex Monsters.

In your downtime, build up your Estate and make it somewhere worth living. When you’re ready to adventure, you’ll be delving into increasingly dangerous Realms in the search for Nightingale – the last bastion of humanity. Many quests, creatures, and discoveries await you, Realmwalker.

Nightingale is a recent release and doesn’t have an official roadmap yet. Although it’s clear – from trailers and dev announcements, that more Realm Cards are going to be added. We can also expect more of pretty much everything as the game gains more traction.

For fans of the strange and the delightful, Nightingale will surely pique your interest.

5 – Valheim

Valheim Ea42e8

Valheim is a deeply rich open-world survival and crafting game that’s been out for some time now, gathering feedback and community advice. Set in Norse Purgatory, you’ll be encountering all sorts of evils and oddities in the procedurally generated worlds that spill out before you.

Many have expressed their love for this carefully crafted game. Although it’s in Early Access, there is plenty for you to do as it benefits from active developers. Build up your base, prepare and craft your equipment, and head forth into the great challenges that await.

The roadmap for Valheim is getting added to and changed all the time. Currently, players have the Ashlands to look forward to in the former half of 2024.

For fans of Norse Gods and survival, Valheim will provide an exciting journey.

4 – Voidtrain

Voidtrain
Image: HypeTrain Digital

Voidtrain is an exciting and unique game centered around exploring numerous voids of space and abyss on a train on a suspended track. Very interestingly, there will be landmasses and structures and civilizations and alien worlds in the voids as you progress to new ones, bringing a whole slew of excitement, action, and adventure.

You will be building up your train as you explore and gather resources. From a bare platform to full cabins, you’ll be able to expand the train and add facilities and defenses. Use your grappling gun to pull in floating resources, or to suspend you in the air whilst you fight at enemies boarding your train.

Voidtrain has an exciting and robust roadmap, which goes into detail with what it wants to add. As it turns out, players can look forward to the usual “more of everything,” although the ending of the game is something that particularly sticks out.

For those who want to explore these strange voids, then Voidtrain will be worth checking out.

Related: 47 best Steam Deck games to play right now

3 – Palworld

Sweepa In Palworld
Screenshot: PC Invasion

Palworld is the Early Access sensation that shot up to millions of players in under a week. Rated the second highest on Steam for concurrent players, Palworld rocked the gaming scene. An amalgamation of Pokemon and Ark Survival Evolved, Palworld has a little something of everything for players to enjoy.

Palworld offers a unique spin on the classic pocket monsters formula, by throwing in real-time combat as well as your own interference. With a flintlock and your trusty Pals, take on the Titans and the boss towers as you go from surviving to thriving.

Palworld has a generic and vague roadmap that doesn’t go too much into any details. Players have “more of everything,” once again coming up. Although even more lands with even more Pals does sound exciting. There is also a lot of cut content from the trailers that players are hopeful to see in later updates.

For fans of creature collecting and awesome action, Palworld is for you.

2 – Project Zomboid

Project Zomboid Palyer Cornered Shooting At Zombies
Image: The Indie Stone

Project Zomboid has been in Early Access for over 10 years. In that time, this zombie survival game has come leaps and bounds. With the capability to become excruciatingly granular, Project Zomboid caters to those who want a “proper” zombie survival game.

It’s more addictive than it lets on, and the modding scene is huge. Even if the core game doesn’t pick your fancy much, the modding scene will surely make up for it. There is plenty to do, plenty of ways to die, and plenty of Zombies to avoid.

Project Zomboid is coming very close to full release. Currently on Build 41 out of the expected 48, there are only a few more things that The Indie Stone wants to add before it’s ready. At this stage, the developers are mostly concerned about polishing the game and improving the NPCs.

For fans of zombie games, don’t miss out on Project Zomboid.

1 – Enshrouded

Best Survival Games In 2024 Enshrouded
Image: Keen Games GmbH

Enshrouded truly has a lot of things going for it. Despite being a survival craft game, Enshrouded is praised for having the best building system in any survival game. Alongside the fleshed-out building is a challenging world for you to explore and shape. Punishing bosses and exciting wilds, there is always more around each corner and under each canopy.

Enshrouded provides a more mysterious survival game with a lot of trepidations. A beautiful game with so much potential, I can’t wait to see how Enshrouded shapes out.

Enshrouded doesn’t currently have a proper roadmap, although in the meantime players can throw their suggestions to the team. It’s expected that Enshrouded will have a pretty ambitious roadmap, so there will be plenty coming.

For fans of challenging survival games, Enshrouded is for you.

There you have it, currently, the best Early Access hits available on Steam. Whilst you’re perusing Steam, why not also have a look at their free-to-play section?


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Author
Aidan Lambourne
Aidan Lambourne is a contributing writer for PC Invasion, with almost a couple years of experience in the industry. He has written about Roblox extensively, although has keenly covered new releases and indie games. A passionate writer and gamer, he still can't really believe he gets to indulge in both for a career.