I recently had the pleasure of receiving a Beta key to an ambitious title known as Worlds Adrift - a game that seeks to put a insanely cool new twist on the open-world, survival (to a degree) PvP genres (Games like DayZ, for example).
I'll go over my personal thoughts on the game a little further on down this article, but first, let me explain what exactly this game is - and why you should care!
What Is Worlds Adrift?
Worlds Adrift has been described as "The Minecraft For A New Generation" - while I don't necessarily agree with that assessment, I think there's definitely some similarities between the two. At the very least in terms of player freedom and creativity.
In Worlds Adrift, you are one single player in a vast open world of floating islands. You must explore your starting island (Which is randomized) to gather resources and research points - Used to research technology such as engines or cannons - which you then use to construct airships of varying shapes and sizes.
Meet Other Players - For Better Or For Worse
As you explore the world, you'll come across other players pretty frequently. Most islands that I've come across so far (Granted, I'm only in the starting biome) are pretty much filled to the brim with other players, all of whom are building their own ships and gathering resources.
The vast majority of people I've encountered have been either friendly, or simply indifferent to my presence. In fact, on the very first island I came across, some Worlds Adrift pros stopped by and gave me some free crafting recipes and a massive supply of metal and wood to get me started.
But make no mistake - there are plenty of opportunities for PvP in this game, and not just in the giant aerial battles you may have seen in game footage up until this point.
Players start with pistols, and can craft bullets pretty easily. Most people seem to understand that getting into fights before they've even constructed their ships is a bad idea, but I've still run into a few people who felt their time would be better spent shooting me and attempting to hijack my ship.
As the game gets more popular, encounters like this will only become more and more frequent, meaning risk of death and losing your progress (Except any researched technologies) is a very real threat at all times. There is no safety net (Literally - falling to your death is another common threat in Worlds Adrift), and no way to tell whose a friend or foe (Unless you join one of the game's many clans).
The bottom line is this - trust no one, and make sure to shoot first and ask questions later.
A Robust Physics Engine
The entire game is built around a robust physics engine - as ships get destroyed, different parts will fall off, plummeting towards the islands below (Which other players can then salvage). You use your grappling hook to maneuver around the world in 360 degrees, swinging wherever you want, however you want.
And it's awesome.
Many important resources (Such as metal) are jutting out of the bottoms of the various floating islands in the worlds, forcing you to start exploring in this entirely new way very early on. You won't be able to simply stick to the ground and hope for the best!
Swinging around islands, looking for hidden resources and escaping from less-than-friendly players by the skin of your teeth (Perhaps by grappling a passing ship, making new friends or enemies in the process) are all extremely fun and exhilirating.
It's also pretty terrifying when two bigger ships get in a fight right above you, shrapnel and metal plating flying off and careening towards your little starting dinghy - but that's part of the charm.
Build And Sail Your Own Flying Ship
You'll likely start out with a small dinghy that traverses the skies through a single sail, putting you at the mercy of the wind. This means that getting where you want to go can be a pretty lengthy process early on, but an ultimately rewarding one.
As you find more and more research nodes (Which give you the above-mentioned research points) spread throughout the islands, you'll be able to craft engines, better ship armor, and a whole host of other upgrades. All of which can be placed on your ship manually, by the way.
The ship building system requires you to swing around in a large semi-transparent personal dome, crafting and placing various parts of the ship onto a metal frame - the size and overall shape of which is governed by a few basic options you can pick from (Though you can directly customize the frames themselves, too - the defaults are just to get you started).
The ship controls are challenging to master, but become extremely rewarding to use after you do - you can dive, roll from side to side, rise and fall, as well as turn 360 degrees. This is all controlled in first person, and via a interestingly-designed (And very thematic) control panel, of sorts. I won't go into a ton of details on the specifics of how it works here (Because it'd take forever), but trust me - its fun, once you get the hang of it.
But Is It Worth Playing?
It depends. It's free to sign up for the Beta right now, so I say go for it. You have nothing to lose except for time, and you'll probably enjoy the heck out of it.
But... there's very little real content available for it right now. Once you build a decent ship and meet a few friends, there isn't much to actually do in the game. Some people will find a thrill in simply attacking other passing ships unprovoked, but that's not really my jam - I'm always of the opnion that if I want to be left alone by other players, I might as well leave them alone too.
However, it is in Beta, meaning it's still very much in development. New features and content are being added regularly, so it's worth locking in your Beta slot now - even if you only play it for a few days to start with.
I will say this about Worlds Adrift - it has potential. Massive potential. If they add interesting gameplay mechanics, monsters to fight, interesting loot to gather and just more things to do in general, this could easily kill the likes of DayZ or Ark in a heartbeat.
Based on what I've seen so far, I for one feel pretty confident in the future of this game - and I'm excited for it.
Let me know what you think of Worlds Adrift in the comments below! I'd be glad to hear from you, or answer any questions you might have about the game.