It’s hard, to sum up everything that’s going on in Kernel Guardian, but I’d say it’s sort of a mixture of Stardew Valley, Terraria, and Minecraft, with a bit of Valheim and even a bit of Factorio thrown in for good measure. In addition, all this is deep underground, in the dark … but for some reason this does not prevent him from feeling quite cozy and charming. And it already looks like a breakthrough hit. The 8-player, independent survival sandbox game launched on Steam Early Access on March 8th. In just 48 hours, Core Keeper has already sold 100,000 copies. Now, a week later, according to the developer, it’s more than double what it was with 250,000 sales.
I understand why. I dived into Core Keeper myself on a Friday night and kept coming back over the weekend, fascinated by the combination of mining, exploration, crafting, cooking, fishing, farming, and combat.
In Core Keeper, you find yourself trapped underground in a massive procedurally generated network of caverns,
Summoned there by the mysterious Core, a powerful but dormant piece of ancient technology. You start breaking down walls, digging tunnels and collecting resources like copper and tin, and using those resources to craft weapons, armor and tools. Chop tree roots to build a wooden base, collect seeds and build a farm, find underwater fishing ponds, build bridges to cross deep dark chasms, and fight powerful boss monsters and their minions. The deeper you dig into the underworld, the more you find: new biomes, new enemies, and many secrets and surprises.
After a weekend of playing, I was quite happy with my progress:
I defeated one boss, discovered another (just like in Walheim, you can stumble upon encounters with boss monsters or figure out how to locate them), and made my way from wooden tools . to copper, then to tin, and finally to iron. I have a nice little farm where I grow plants I can cook, a few smelters for my ore, and even a friendly little NPC vendor living in my house. However, when I look at the progress of other players, I can say that I could hardly penetrate what is hidden deep underground in Core Keeper. Heck, even the trailer above shows a ton of stuff I haven’t found or built yet, like automated resource gathering systems and rail networks.
While Core Keeper is in Early Access and there are plans to add new biomes, bosses, and other game systems before it’s complete, what’s already there feels extremely polished and playable. If you’re wondering, this is also currently 10% off launch week although this discount ends tomorrow.