My feeling towards this game were mixed at first, and to be fair, they are still mixed. With around 9 hours under my belt--my feelings are a mixture of confusion, wonder, stress, and excitement. I feel like these are completely appropriate and capture the sense of exploration into the unknown. This is much better than my initial reaction of frustration and annoyance.
There are still a great number of things that could be done better in this game, but damn it if it isn't an addicting experience. You choose a famous likeness to start-- each has their own perks to start with. There are various forms of currency in the game and the most valuable forms of currency is your sanity. Out on an expedition with no end in sight, after days of no rest, and being pursued by wild animals could drive even the hardiest adventure a little loony.
The maps (and therefore movement) are hexagon-based. The maps are randomly generated offering almost limitless adventures. The point of these adventures is to become famous, but there is no point in being famous if you aren't around to enjoy it. You must survive as well. All movement takes effort which is calculated in time, sanity, and resources. For example, moving through a jungle tile costs more sanity and time than moving through a grassland tile. However, this can be mitigated by the use of a machete. Wherever you try to move you will always be informed of the cost of that move first. In addition to this, there is a lot of number crunching that you are not privy to through the course of the game. You can also do things such as resting at a local village or get drunk to restore sanity. My words of advice are to bring lots of whiskey with you.
As an explorer you explore, make discoveries, loot shrines, and piss off the locals. The ultimate goal of each level is to find the golden temple to exit the level. There are various items you can use along the way to ease your travel, but make no bones about it-- this is not an easy game. It's not especially hard per say, but it has no problem with screwing you over at the drop of a hat. The discoveries and artifacts that you bring back with you can be kept, sold, or donated to a museum. Doing these different things have various benefits like fame, money, or bonuses on your next expedition. These choices can make or break your explorer, so choose wisely. You can also choose a bonus perk at the end of each expedition that stays with you until your untimely demise.
You have a compass that is always pointing in the general direction(s) of the golden temple. At the start of a level it is entirely inaccurate and bouncing around all over the place. As you uncover more of the map the compass becomes more accurate--supposedly. This is my one big problem with the game. While this is one of the ways the game offers up difficulty, I have learned to almost completely ignore the compass on later expeditions. The needle wavers from north to south or worse-- sometimes it's well over 180 degrees even after I have uncovered the majority of the map. This makes finding the golden temple blind luck at times. It does, in its own way, add a layer of strategy to the game because it forces you to analyze the map itself for the most likely places the golden temple may be. However, when the needle is swinging around wildly only to point directly at it only AFTER I have discovered its location makes me question the value of the compass in the first place.
Granted, this game is in early access. It is at alpha 12.1 at the time I am writing this, so they have a lot of time to fine tune a few things. If this impression sounds overly critical that is not my intention. This is a fun little game with the potential to be great. These are my thoughts on the matter. I will continue to log more hours with the game as they seem to be updating it on a regular basis (and they are meaningful updates that affect how it plays). If you are interested-- check it out on Steam. It's already very addictive, so you can't go wrong-- just be prepared for a learning curve and a lot of whiskey.