Sunday, February 7, 2016

Craft The World - Initial Thoughts

About the Game (From the Steam Store Page)

Craft The World is a unique sandbox strategy game, the mix of Dungeon Keeper, Terraria and Dwarf Fortress.

Explore a random generated world populated by dangerous creatures, build a dwarf fortress, gather resources, and craft all the items, weapons, and armor you need.

You control a tribe of dwarves by giving them commands to dig in certain places, attack enemy creatures, and build houses and other structures. You'll need to provide your dwarves food and clothing, as well as help them with magic when fighting against other inhabitants of the world. You start the game with one dwarf and gain additional dwarves as your experience level increases.

Each game level has many layers of earth to explore, from the sky down to boiling subterranean lava. The level is randomly generated as an island, restricted by natural boundaries: oceans on the edges, lava beneath it, and the sky above. Other features include day and night and changing weather conditions. The worlds differ in size, humidity, temperature, terrain, and flora and fauna. Abandoned halls and rooms with treasure are hidden somewhere deep within the islands.

One feature of the game is a user-friendly system of recipes for crafting. The recipes are organized and easily accessible. You can craft dozens of different items: building blocks for houses, furniture, decorations, weapons, armor, ammunition, and food for your dwarves.

At the outset you find the recipes for basic tools and items, and build a small house with places to sleep and eat. Then, the size of the tribe increases and catches the attention of other inhabitants of the world. Most of them are night creatures and dwell underground. The worlds are full of fantasy creatures like zombies, skeletons, goblins, beholders, ghosts, giant spiders, and others. Some of them pay little attention to the dwarves, as long as the dwarves do not come into their field of vision. Others gather into quite large groups and try to break into the dwarves’ residence.

Especially dangerous are the waves of monsters that appear from time to time from portals. So, do not neglect to build a safe haven with strong walls and numerous trapdoors, cells, firing towers, and secret passageways.

As a divine being, you possess various spells. You can speed up the movement of the dwarves, open small portals, illuminate dark caves to scare away monsters, evoke natural magic in the form of rain or tree growth, hurl fireballs at the monsters’ heads, and find useful resources and hidden rooms underground, thereby helping to speed up resource extraction, exploration of the world, and the population growth of your assistants.

Previous Playtime

0 hours

Expectations and Prior Experience

Just judging by the store page, this game looks like it has a lot of ambition, which is always something I like to see in a game. It is, of course, a thing that can easily blow up in a creator's face, but when a game's advertising is all like "FOOLS! Tremble before us, for we shall include ALL THE FEATURES! Mwa ha ha!" there's something about it that warms my heart (you might think that would make me a soft touch for almost every Early Access game out there, and you'd be right, but luckily my awareness of these sorts of games came after my resolution to not buy quite so many games, period).

But focusing on Craft The World, specifically, the part that looks good to me is where you get to build a dwarf community. On the other hand, I'm a little wary of the part where monsters will come and try and wreck your shit. That's one of those things that, on paper, I can agree with, and which I feel like I should approve of, but in practice tends to bug the hell out of me. Realistically, anything you build should be subject to the implacable forces of entropy and most of the utility of construction comes from the fact that everything falls apart, but stone less so than skin. And if we're talking about making that a part of the game, then representing entropy as a horde of monsters is certainly more appealing than modeling it as a generalized automatic decay, but . . .

Maybe I'm overthinking it. Yes, it's possible that I will have to experience the heartache of seeing everything I worked so hard to build overrun and destroyed while I flail helplessly with the mouse in a futile effort to stem the tide of carnage, but it's also possible that I will get so good at defense that the monster attacks will become nothing more than a glorified loot delivery service.

Only time will tell.

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