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BOSSA STUDIOS:   The world is broken, shattered from a calamity that time has since forgot. It falls to you to navigate these treacherous skies, competing against your fellow traveller for resource and lost technology. Build a ship. Rally a crew. Explore a land of peril and wonder in Worlds Adrift.

 

This is the Early Access edition (version 0.2.2.3) of what is called a "Community Crafted" MMO. Every Island, whether it's your start land or where you discover, has been designed by the players using the 'Island Crafter' program, it will also change according to the actions made by players wherever they are. Using various tools available to you the lands can be explored and experienced (knowledge) gained; these points can be spent to learn about construction of buildings, such as an Assembly Station or a Shipyard. During your search for knowledge, and the easily harvested 'Atlas' mineral, you can also find parts of broken craft - finding enough parts and putting them together is most satisfying.

 

Billed as an MMO it doesn't truly reach the specifications for that genre but it is an extremely in-depth adventure. The Character Creation is very simple as you have very few choices, nowhere near the creation of an MMO savant, but your hero or heroine does have one thing that I wish some of my MMO characters had, the ability to fire a rope up to a point (like Indiana Jones uses his whip) above and then use the [Shift] key to climb up or the [Ctrl] key to climb down, an absolutely super action that comes in so handy - you can even fire the rope Spiderman-style while you are falling to save yourself crashing to the ground. It does often take a bit of climb [Q] and jump [Space] to get over ledges etc but mastering these controls is quite quick and fun to learn - you fall, save yourself (or not) and then try again. If you do die there are options as to where you reappear and begin again.  Here's a YouTube video of how it came about.

 

There is a problem with player-created islands and that is some players lack the necessary imagination or understanding of what it takes to design an environment which is both exciting and fun to explore. At the moment the creatures are neither frightening nor interesting, not even dangerous, but that's something I am sure will change before the game is launched in the stores, this is of course one of the reasons for the early access, to iron out any faults. Graphically the scenery is almost faultless and virtually seemless, though a little sparse (by design or by accident ?) and the character looks and acts with the fluidity of animation usually reserved for a more expensive production, such as Lara Croft/Tomb Raider - in fact I would say that some of the animation even betters that in places.

 

When an item or object that can be interacted with is within range of the character it lights up with a bright outline. There may be an "E" pop up to let you know an action can be taken, otherwise you may use your personal scanner or one of the attachments you have for collecting etc. to act with it - if you can do nothing it is either because you have already drained anything from it that you can or that you are not in a position where the interaction is necessary. 

This is a fantastically ambitious game and for this alone it should be well supported, but it is not for the ambition of the project that you should get behind it, it's the fact that this is a new idea for mass-multi-playing games and it could be the future of them as well, although I still maintain that in my view this is not what I call an MMO, in earlier days WORLD'S ADRIFT would be classified as an Action-Adventure game; EverQuest, DAoC, WoW, Runescape, Black Desert etc are what I think of when I hear the letters MMO in sequence, and this is not anything like any of them.

 

At some time you are expected to design and build at least one Air Ship capable of flying and in a way that is your only actual objective. The game depends on what you and other players put into it as there is very little in the way of construct. You may become obsessive in your hunt for something, but don't expect to find Quest after Quest or creatures carrying a whole boxful of useful components. A lot of the game is played out above, or going through, the clouds, but even there you are only entertaining the creative thought power of other players.

 

WORLD'S ADRIFT is a curious game. You can spend hours running round going nowhere and never get there, you can fight adversaries simply because they are there or to try to gain their parts for your machine. Building sky-ships is neither complicated nor complex, you find the plans, locate and collect the pieces and then put them together, however there has rarely even been a construction job that is so easy you could do it blindfolded and this follows suit - falling from the top of a body part or being crushed by an insecure wing slipping and toppling are only a few of the hazards possible, though if you are quick enough with your 'Lara Croft' swing rope you can escape injury.

 

I have played a lot but so far haven't met anyone who will talk to me let alone join me in a party. This leads me to believe that, at least at the moment, the game is being played by people who know each other and are not looking for more friends but just exploring the new worlds and/or by solo players who are testing the game to discover if it is worth continuing with when it becomes live. It currently costs around £20.00 but if it is truly going to continue calling itself an MMO then it will almost certainly have a monthly cost at some time in the future.

 

It's a great idea to have Worlds designed by players as it saves on paying huge wages to professional designers, thus keeping production costs down, and people are getting what they want because they are creating it themselves. I definitely think there are strong prospects for this to develop into a top seller as it has addictive X-Factor

 

 

 

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015