Big ol' mining sandbox Hydroneer has gotten… significantly bigger. The release of the 2.0 updated today, Sunday May 8th 2022, adds split-screen coop, Steam Remote Play, hundreds of new items, and a wholly new vehicle system. it also adds two new areas to the world. Perhaps most impressive, the update is a complete rework of Hydroneer's underlying code, putting it on steadier ground for further optimization, new gameplay features, and multiplayer.
It's a far cry from the game that I thought was getting pretty detailed when it was updated to add power and logic systems in 2021. I wouldn't have guessed it'd one day be a game that let you customize your character's appearance for multiplayer. I doubt that when our Chris Livingston tried it in 2020 he thought it would come this far.
Hydroneer's best selling point, for the record, is still intact: It's $10 for a sprawling sandbox crafting game. (30% off until May 15th, even.)
That price does have something to do with why the multiplayer is split-screen cooperative using Steam Remote Play, for the record. “Due to technical limitations of physics engines, and our dedication to staying indie and not taking on outside investors, I decided the best move forward was to make the multiplayer aspects of the update as Steam Remote Play Splitscreen,” said game creator and Foulball Hangover head Max Hayon. “We've been heavily testing this and putting it through its paces and I am personally very impressed with how far its come since I last used it.”
The new world update is pretty neat, adding two new areas, each with their own dig site to mine in. Icehelm and Snowrune Falls each have their own twists, but Icehelm is most interesting to me: it's a horizontal dig, rather than vertical. Icehelm also has a couple stores to buy from, to boot.
You can find Hydroneer on Steam.