Minecraft is a pretty cool thing. It really stirs up people’s creative juices. I’ve seen Minecraft creations ranging from a scaled replica of the USS Enterprise to a recreation of the entire Kanto region from Pokemon. Serious stuff; you’d have to be very dedicated to create something of that magnitude. The thing with Minecraft is it doesn’t feel like a game. It feels more like a Lego simulator. I mean sure, there are achievements, and there is some zombie slaying, but it still feels more like a toy box full of Legos. It would enjoy it more if it was focused more on exploration and combat with maybe a story thrown in. Good thing I found out about this ridiculously awesome project called “Cube World!”
Cube World, as it is tentatively titled, is a voxel based RPG/Adventure game that is being developed by Wolfram von Funck, who goes by the handle “wollay”. That’s right, the entire game is being developed by one single man from Germany. Just looking at the game, you can immediately tell it has been influenced by Minecraft. He openly cites Minecraft as an inspiration in his blog for the “randomly generated world made up of blocks.” Along with Minecraft he draws inspiration from Zelda, Monster Hunter and others for the “style, gameplay and overall feel.” It’s really easy to see these inspirations. From a distance, the game could easily be mistaken for Minecraft. Except for the fact that Minecraft is played in a first person view, while Cube World is played in third person. Watching some gameplay videos, I definitely get the Zelda vibe; particularly Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time.
From what I have seen, the meat of the game revolves around traditional RPG elements. You have a health bar, XP bar and a Spirit bar. Pretty standard stuff, with the Spirit bar being replaced by the MP or Mana bar in other RPGs. You will be exploring, questing and fighting your way to victory. NPC characters do exist and you can have conversations with them like a traditional RPG. They can also send you off on quests. He notes in that video that currently all he has implemented are “kill quests,” (i.e. go kill orcs until you get this many orc teeth and return them) but is working on adding a variety of quests. Speaking of collecting orc teeth, you’re going to need a hammer (or sword or shield) to get those suckers out. This brings me to one of the neatest looking aspects of the game: combat!
Ohh man, that combat looks so fun! The weapons look awesome and are customizable. The animations are really smooth and the finishers are stylish. The finishers actually allow you to infuse your weapon with special attributes with the use of spirits. You can upgrade your weapon with iron cubes to increase the base damage of your weapons, or you can use different Spirit Cubes to grant your weapon special elemental properties. When you deal damage, you gain Spirit Points, or SP, and when unleashed they have different effects. For example, the Fire spirit will do additional fire damage and the Unholy spirit grants the weapon a vampiric essence, restoring your own health as you dish out the pain to your foes.
As far as building and creativity go, this is another aspect where Minecraft and Cube World differ. There isn’t a mining system in place for the game, and per the FAQ on his blog, mining is not going to be something the game focuses on. Fair enough. If you really feel the urge to mine for materials and craft giant sculptures there is already a game out there for you. That’s not to say Cube World is entirely devoid of crafting. Throughout your adventure you will be able to pick up blueprints from Architect NPCs or find them in treasure chests. These construction docs will allow you to construct buildings, such as a home for yourself. A crafting system is also something wollay is considering, though this system would be based more on creating weapons and armor than stoves, benches and building materials.
Man, there is so much to say about this game. The enemies are varied. You don’t just have a basic grunt, ranged grunt, explodey-heart-attack grunt and spider. You get Lizardmen, Orcs, Crows, Dwarves, Hornets, Frogs and Moles. There is so much more room for the enemy roster to grow. There is also a pet system in place. It’s not just for aesthetics either. Borrowing from World of Warcraft, the pets will have combat functions. Having a dog by your side can act as an extra DPS (damage per second, aka damage dealer) while a giant turtle pet could act as a tank and keep the enemy’s attention on it so you can focus on killing it. Here is a picture of wollay’s own collie all voxelized and made into his in game companion. It’s freaking adorable. Also you can heal your pet with cookies. Obviously.
I think the cherry on top of this delightful project is the multiplayer support. While the number of consecutive players hasn’t been figured out yet, the ability to adventure through this gorgeous world with a friend or two really just adds to the already immense value the game presents. The game isn’t anywhere near being announced as complete or in beta phase, yet wollay has already implemented a ridiculous amount of features. The craziest part is he has done it single-handedly and isn’t interested in having outside help. If he can actually get this game out anytime in the near future it could be huge. Just watching the various videos he has up on his blog and youtube channel, the game looks like it’s in a playable state. That being said, I’m not a developer so what do I know?
This is an incredibly ambitious title. Unfortunately, the game is not available to the public yet, as it is still in development. There is also no information as to when we will get a taste of the action. When more information is available, I will definitely be posting it. However, with all of the screenshots and videos available, the game looks like it is headed in the right direction. I am truly excited for this title, and cannot wait for it to be available. At the moment the plan is to release it for Windows with a possible Mac port down the road. It will be a pay to play title, but I hope no one is disappointed by this. This dude deserves your cash, and I cannot wait to give him mine. For now, the best way to support wollay is to bookmark his blog, follow him on Twitter and subscribe to his YouTube channel. Oh, and don’t forget to like his videos and share them with your friends. The more support this project gets the better!