Imagine a game which sets you loose into a large open world, free to explore and discover as you see fit. Imagine one full of monsters and treasure at every turn; lakes and volcanoes adding texture to a fully destructible and interactive environment. Sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it? Now imagine all that, except missing the actual game objectives, and that pretty much explains Arcane Worlds by Ranmantaru Games. Arcane Worlds is a spiritual successor to the classic PC game Magic Carpet. As with that game, you play as a wizard who flies around the game world collecting mana and spells, and defeating monsters. What sets this new one apart is that it gives you spells which allow you to manipulate the game environment as you see fit. What results is a world of your own creation, which can be altered at your very whim…
..in theory. Because Arcane Worlds is part of Steam’s Early Access scheme, most of the content which is referenced doesn’t actually exist yet in any playable form. You have the game world and spells, but, at this time, nothing you do is saved, meaning you will need to start all over again every time you boot up the game. The most (only?) fun to be had in Arcane Worlds is by turning on cheats and going crazy; building a Space Needle volcano that engulfs the world in lava, then creating a lake out of the barren land it’s left behind, and then surrounding it by a massive mountain range. It’s pretty fun actually, and there is some perverse joy in seeing just how quickly the environment can be engulfed by a massive volcanic eruption, but the thrill is short-lived because it is, at this point, ephemeral. In a world where games like Minecraft or Red Faction: Guerrilla exist, the bar has been set high for a player wishing to engage in destruction for destruction’s sake, and what little there is won’t keep your attention for more than about 30 minutes at the most. Come to think of it, you know what Arcane Worlds reminds me of? Remember the opening screen of Super Mario 64 when you can prod and pull Mario’s face? Imagine if that was a $10 game, and that’s pretty much what you’re getting here. I recognize that some may find my position on Arcane Worlds harsh because the game is still in an early Alpha phase and will likely have more content as time goes on. I really hope it becomes an excellent title when it’s finished, and that it finds a large audience. If that day comes, and you’re enjoying the game, feel free to mentally add as many numbers to the score below as you’d like. As of right now however, you’re looking at paying $10 for the ability to fly around a small, boring game world with nothing much to do. It’s one thing for a game to be unfinished, but Arcane Worlds is barely even started. Here’s hoping it turns into something worthwhile to remotely justify its price tag.
[+Intriguing concept] [+Land manipulation is fun] [-Basically nothing to do] [-Early Access] [-No guarantee you’ll get your money’s worth]