411's Cara Alex Brown takes a look at a PC game in beta that deserves your attention! Check out what she has to say about Cubeworld and why it's overlooked!
Howdy folks, long time no see. Feels like I've been away for ages but Stewart was just lovely enough to give me the holidays off, and then for his last column I was ill on submission day and it felt right to let him have his own send off, so I was away again! However, I'm back now and can't wait to begin with weekly instalments of Overlooked! So now, time for its debut! YAY. Just a few things I want to chat about first
First off I want to give a massive thank you to Stewart. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't even be writing on this site. He merely somehow, I'm still not sure how ended up following me on Instagram, we chatted a few times about a mutual gaming interest, and then when I happened to mention on my Instagram that I was going to begin a game review blog he instead offered to try and get me a chance on the site. Long story short, now here I am, and every week I've had support and guidance from him to help me. I owe him a lot for all that, so the biggest of thanks are definitely sent his way. Furthermore, although it's sad to see Retronomicon go, I know how excited he is about his new column and it's really good. So, I wish him all the best for it! If you haven't read it yet, check out the "Ask 411 Games" column and send questions his way for next week!
Next matter is what this column will entail. As you've all seen, I have my basic structure already sorted out. However, a slight misconception is that this is only going to be a retro column. Although the games I will be writing about will mostly be older, and often a little bit more abstract, there will be times where I will speak about newer/being released games. This is because the gaming industry is so massive that there are often many titles that are overlooked as people simply don't hear about them due to them being overshadowed by the "big" games. I hope to amend that situation if I can, and hopefully give you guys a new title here or there to play or look forward to. So to start off this lovely idea, I've decided to do a current title this week!
Last matter to address is the ability to contact me, give me your opinions, suggestions for games, or merely to take an interest in my life. Of course you can contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org (actually, since I own the domain, you can contact me at @carabonara.co.uk so knock yourself out). However if you fancy a slightly more casual approach, you can find me on facebook here facebook.com/caraalex.brown or on Instagram and Twitter at @caraalexbrown
Right, now onto the actual game side of things. First of all, of course, is the banner!
The Look Back
Right I know this was a few weeks back but it's still rude to ignore my lovely readers, so I won't make this too long but here we go:
AG Awesome - I hate to say it but Im glad you are moving away form the pokemon titles. That N64 era of pokemon games just felt like "let's try this game idea but with pokemon and add a peripheral while were at it". Screamed what was wrong with Nintendo at the time (milking a franchise bone dry and make a "innovative" new controller add on that nothing else would ever use). Good riddance! Lol
Haha that's okay! It's all personal preference really and, given what this column is and what it's about, it's likely there's going to be some titles in there you don't like! Actually, there's more than likely to be a lot of titles that I don't even like However I felt it best to get all the Pokemon titles I planned to do done in one go, but now it's time for other games to shine! Hopefully these ones will appeal to you a bit more!
sdelfin - Cara, when I saw that you were doing the Pokemon Channel, I couldn't remember anything about it initially, but it finally came back to me. I already mentioned that I never played any Pokemon games until last year, and that applies here. What I remember is the backlash from some game reviewers toward this game. Some thought it wasn't much of a game at all. Others thought it would teach children to gamble, buy too much stuff from shopping channels or get them addicted to TV(a video game addiction that has you glued to the TV is much better!!). From this column here and some other reading as well, it sounds like the game was just specifically targeted to kids into Pokemon(and older folks into that stuff) and not meant for those reviewers or their audiences. While many dislike the game, it seems many others liked it a lot.
First of all, every week I have an issue typing your name because it doesn't have a capital letter at the start and my word processor REALLY wants it to have one. Now, focussing on the game, so many people hated it. The reviews were awful and a lot of people had ridiculous views such as that nonsense about teaching kids the wrong messages. It simply gave kids a silly, light-hearted experience that let them experience "maturity" (at least in their eyes) as it allowed them to tv shop, travel around themselves, have their own house, take part in game shows, etc. Overall it definitely wasn't aimed at the average mature audience and I'm glad you clued on to that. Sadly, far too many reviewers are completely ignorant and forget to think about if the game is good for the target audience and not just what THEY want. It's a simple bit of fun, and it wasn't intended to be anything more!
Right, time for the ACTUAL column! This week I'm writing about a game that's currently only in open beta testing. Cubeworld is a PC game, created by a small team of two a husband and wife and is open for purchase via their website. Due to the small team creating it and the other projects they have going on, it's been in beta for a while and likely will be for a good while longer. Updates take a good while, but the main base of the game is there and already provides masses to do and a lot of detail, so further patches and whatnot can only improve upon that. The company created by this pair is Picroma and you can find information on their games, other software and purchase them at the Picroma website.
What makes it Overlooked?
Honestly this is fairly self-explanatory. It's a game made by a very small team that's still only in beta and doesn't get a great deal of publicity. Most people are too busy fretting over the next-gen consoles and everything else to have given any games such as this any notice. It's just one of those things that you either know of or you don't, because otherwise you're not particularly likely to hear of it.
Do I agree?
Well I can't really agree or disagree with this one, it's merely fact. However, I definitely think it deserves more recognition than it's got.
Looking at the Overlooked
The easiest way to describe this game would be "Imagine if Zelda and Minecraft had a baby. This would be it". Basically, it's a quirky game with blocky, simplistic graphics and an RPG style gameplay. To begin with you create and customise your own character from a range of options from Elf to Lizard-Man. After this, you get to choose from 4 classes. Surprisingly, in a game with such a small team, there's a lot of diversity with each class which allows you to tailor it for your preferred gameplay. The classes include many options from archer to mage, so you have plenty to choose from. After this you spawn in a random location in an open world, and then it's up to you. The world is your oyster. There's enemies everywhere with difficulties that change as you level up. There's open world bosses along with caves and dungeons to be explored. There's friendly cities to sell, buy, regenerate and train at. There's materials to gather, crafts to explore and items to create. Honestly, what you do is really up to you. Luckily, the game isn't just single player. Servers of up to 4 people can be created so you and a group of friends can play and level together.
One of the more ridiculous things about this game is the pets. Personally, this aspect is one of my favourite as I find it hilarious. Throughout the world there are many, many animals that you can befriend. This includes everything from multiple breeds of dogs, to cats, koalas, crocodiles, so on and so forth. Yet it isn't as simple as just befriending these animals. Oh, no. You have to find food throughout the world and figure out what each animal's favourite food is - such as chocolate cake to tame a raccoon. Should you give them the correct food, they'll fall in love with you and become your companions following you along and performing tasks based on what type of animal they are. This includes mounts, healers, tanks, ranged.. you get the picture. If your pet should die, you don't need to have a panic attack and a sad, blocky funeral. Within a few minutes they'll respawn. Should you collect more than one pet you can keep each of them, but you can only have one equipped in your "pet slot" at one time.
The 4 classes you're given at the start of the game are warrior, archer, mage and rogue. This provides the four most common choices for skill types. Each of these classes fits to the generic interpretation of them warriors are melee and tankier, mages use the arcane arts, archers are ranged and rogues are stealthier. Once chosen each class then has its own weapons and armour to be found and crafted and its own skill trees to expand upon. While some of the trees don't provide as much diversity, mostly just focussing on damage and defence control, mages hold a key difference. Through their tree and the assistance of a trainer, mages can opt to be a fire or water mage, providing the opportunity to be healers. If they choose water and take the path of healing magic, they can still do damage just not as much, and if you take this path and decide against it later you can change back at your trainer. It's been confirmed that they intend to introduce more classes in the future but for now, this provides a good range of options and enough diversity to keep the majority of players' content.
Unlike many games of this type, you tend to not be restricted as to where you can go. As there's no storyline, instead just featuring you in a sandbox-style game, you're free to do as you please. While exploring you're also given the ability to swim, dive, hang-glide, rock climb, sail and more. This provides several possibilities for exploration. And where will you go explore I hear you ask? Well, there are many simple monsters in the open world for you to kill and level with. The difficulty of these monsters is shown by the colour of their name and they hold up the humorous standard of the pet system. Monsters include the obvious humanoid races, but also include ridiculous creatures such as the vegetable based Onionlings and Radishlings that, if killed, leave behinds rings of onion or radish for you to replenish your health on.
Should you decide you would like a challenge, you are free to several options. There are open world bosses that are larger and more powerful than normal monsters and are often surrounded by a collection of normal level monsters of the same type. Although these seem like an easy feat at first, you'll soon hang your head in shame when you take on an Onionling boss and end up running for your life from a giant onion with a face. On top of this there are also normal and open world dungeons. Normal dungeons tend to be towers, castles and other structures in which you can enter and fight your way through. However, open world dungeons are areas that often feature several structures, such as open-plan temples, with a very powerful boss somewhere in the middle and many smaller monsters to contend with in each of the structures and the surrounding area.
Currently the only player v player capabilities is the ability to kill each other. However, the addition of real PvP play through has been planned and Picroma intend to initiate it as soon as they can. Not only do they intend to add in this along with new classes but also intend to add in more race and class specific gear, vanity items, new recipes, new features, new mobs, pet evolution, a main storyline, story specific quests, housing and so much more. As I said, the game can only get better. At one point they're also looking to experiment with the possibility of making it an MMO. I can't express how much I would love a quirky, Minecraft-like game such as this to be made into an MMO so I can only hope that when they choose to try it, it's a success.
I feel like I've expressed enough about this game. Should you wish to try it then head over to Picroma and buy it! Currently it's available for most Windows users although some people may encounter problems due to their graphics cards, but this seems to only be a laptop relevant bug that they're working on. In the future they are aiming to release both a Mac and console version of Cubeworld so keep an eye out if you're unable to play it on Windows just now! I really hope a few of you haven't heard of this title yet and will now try it out! I can't remember exactly how much it costs but it's roughly £15, or whatever that is in your currency. I would go look up prices but it's likely a good amount of readers will be from other counties and I'm not creating a full price list, I'm too tired, it's my assessment week.
Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed the debut of Overlooked! Please leave me comments, I don't want to be left all lonely on my first week. Hopefully you'll all check in again next week and possibly catch me on one or all of the previously mentioned social networking sites. Should you have any requests for games or ideas for the column then I really would love to hear them, so go ahead and let me know.
I'm also considering starting up videos on Youtube each week in which I'll give a more indepth explanation and possibly play through footage of each game, and give slightly more personal opinions. Let me know if you'd be interested in tuning in!
See you again next week when I'll be writing about a hidden gem PlayStation 2 game! Cheerio!