Online I go by the alias of Shuuda. I am currently living North Yorkshire, England. In 2011 I graduated from the University of Hull with a first class degree in Design for Digital Media, where I studied both the creative and theoretical sides of the digital technology and the internet.
As someone who is passionate about about video games than the fantasy genre, I am highly interested in how stories can be told through interactive media. I concern myself with how the genre is portrayed within the medium and its implications. I give it both criticism and praise, but mostly criticism. Writing fiction has been my hobby for many years, and I feel that video games have influenced and inspired the content of my work in recent times.
Cube World is a game that Iíve become fascinated with recently. It combines a lot of things I would like to see more of in games, so I decided to give some time to writing about why Iím so interested in it. Itís a voxel based exploration RPG that takes inspiration from the likes of Minecraft, Zelda, Diablo, and much more. The game is being developed by a husband and wife team from Germany, Wolfram ďWollayĒ von Funck and Sarah ďPixxieĒ von Funck (personally I think ďVonĒ is one of the best things ever put between two names). The goal of Cube World is to offer a vibrant world with infinite possibilities for exploration, with an expanding world and hordes of monsters.
The world is procedurally generated meaning there is the potential for an endless world. The monsters become more powerful as you move out and discover new lands. When you wander around you have a little 3D perspective map of the area in the top right hand corner, which I think looks pretty sweet.
Iíve mentioned before about my dislike of the grimdarkening (new word) of RPGs such as what we see in the Witcher and Dragon Age. Therefore Iíve really taken to the visual appearance of Cube World. It has a very warm feeling and looks like it would be a lovable adventure to explore. It puts me in mind of Windwaker, itís very charming. The game has a focus on exploration rather than story and questing, and the colourful nature of the world lends itself to encouraging players to wander. The landscapes shown in the screenshots and videos have some variety and even a sense of grandeur to them. Lush forests, deserts with towering pyramids, and island filled oceans. There is also a fair variety to the architecture seen so far Ė even if itís a bit generic so far Ė with different styles of wood and stone buildings.
The voxel style of Cube World makes everything look simplistic, but from a distance it still inspires a sense of awe from me. I long to be able to adventure in my own world, slaying monsters left and right.
Cube World will feature many ways to move around in the world with skills such as sailing, climbing, and even hang-gliding giving plenty of means to explore and get a better view of the land. While the landscape is not as deformable as in Minecraft, the terrain can be blown through using explosives allowing you to make tunnels or explore chasms deep underground. The developers are making sure there are few barriers to letting the character search the world high and low.
The combat in Cube World is action oriented, with manual attacking and swift dodging. No doubt players who are able to grasp this system quickly will be able to run circles around their enemies. There are many weapons to choose from, including both one-handed and two-handed swords, axes, hammers, maces, along with big katanas, shields, bow and arrows, and even shurikens.
The class system keeps things simple with four basic choices, warrior, mage, the ranger, and of course the rogue. Each of these has sub classes such as the heavier hitting berserker and the tanking guardian for the warrior. Along with its classes, Cube World also features a lot of playable races. They range from the very familiar like the elves and dwarves to stranger additions like the frogmen and undead skeletons. The characters look like 3D versions of the Final Fantasy VI characters with pixel eyes and stout bodies. Thereís character customisation of course, with even the possibility of giving your undead character pink hair.
Like any RPG, Cube World includes various boss creatures in the world to present extra challenges to players. Most of the bosses seen so far are giants with mighty attacks, and I personally hope a lot more variety is added in the future. Perhaps what struck me as most wonderful is how the boss fights looked in the voxel world. Watching the saurian literally tear up the ground and smash tree into hundreds of blocks as it preformed its spinning shell attack made the fight look all the more intense. The same happens when a troll swings its club into the ground. The boss fights do look a bit too hack and slash, with no indication that different bosses will require different tactics beyond how one might avoid their attacks. It might simply be an downside with have to accept with procedurally generated worlds, and at the end of the day, I still they have the potential to be exciting.
While the developers state they are planning an alpha release for Cube World sometime in the future there is no confirmed date as of what. What they have said however is that the alpha will cost less than the beta and the finished product. From what Iíve seen so far the game looks like it could be very stellar even in its alpha phase. Itís very clear the developers are not rushing to get this game through the doors, and that might result in a very refined experience from the start. Already closed alpha is under way, but the rest of us are simply going to have to wait patiently.
Anyone else who is interesting in this cheerful looking game can visit the developerís website.