An amazing breakthrough! A portal to another world has been opened, but there’s only enough power to send 1 dwarf through. Players take control of aforementioned dwarf as they build in this new sandbox title for Steam. Craft The World’s very extreme amount of polish, stability, and intuitive design allow players to jump in right off the bat and enjoy. The development team has put together something totally new, don’t judge a book by its cover.
Craft The World differentiates from other sandbox games in many ways not the least of which includes a significantly higher grade of quality in engine performance, gameplay, graphics, and animation. But where Craft The World really shines is not its technical merits but rather its Gameplay Value. One of the ways Craft The World is different from other sandbox games is that a lot of what players need to accomplish is automated. You can manually control characters, and use keyboard controls to even walk around as them. But more important for strategic reasons: Simply telling your dwarf to chop down a tall tree results in him also picking up, carrying, and putting away every piece of wood or plant material that became available as a result of that action. There are recipes which require resources and result in crafting anything from a bed for your units to crash on to their weapons and armor.
A lot of the tedious nature of past sandbox concepts is removed from the formula while the best kept secrets in making a successful game for the genre seem intact. A fast forward button is included in this game. There’s also some pretty cool weather effects, night and day cycles, increasingly difficult enemy swarms at night beginning with ghosts, skeletons, and evolving as the game moves forward. Many have linked inspirations to various titles, the developers themselves admit influence from Dungeon Keeper, Terraria and Dwarf Fortress, but I also see a tiny bit of Lemmings rearing its head again ( only the good bit, 🙂 ).
The fun really gets going once your population grows. As players level up, more dwarves come through the portal. 1… then 2… and before you know it there’s an efficient crew working on your behalf to mine and harvest the materials you’ll use to craft and advance gameplay, capability, story, and progression all at the same time while surviving waves of deadly foes, unexpected encounters, and what seems to be exterminating neutral wildlife for resources (optional, mostly snails and stuff at first). That last bit is a bit confusing, but these are beings on an alien world and often distinguishing plant from animal can be complex when relating to off-world alien life.
In Craft The World players can grow their dwarven empire in peace for only a short amount of time though before they grow to a great enough size that unseen forces gather in numbers to attack their units and pillage their bases. Other than a few slight added touches (God mode abilities like making nature grow faster), players will use a mix of Tower Defense and Real Time Strategy in this awesome 2D sandbox / survival experience. Gathering resources throughout the world feels great and players can naturally expand in any direction, but not without danger. There must always be a home base kept safe as well though, and though the perimeter of this can be expanded the underground holds plenty of dangers to account for when doing so.
Subtle touches like being able to interact with the world using “magic” as a god-mode type of player from outside the game or each dwarf having their own body temperature, health, and sleepiness, each level being different in its initial premise, and randomly generated worlds within certain parameters as players complete the campaign this game has to offer levels really go a long way to spice things. Players can do a lot in this game from making cool tunnels, bases, bridges, mining stations, being part of discovery events, deep elevator shafts, and continual progression towards better and more useful technology for their dwarven empire. It’s also a bit forgiving, so players can lose some of their units and not be completely doomed from making a comeback crafting and equipping better weapons and defensive armor as you go and give each dwarf their own equipment, levels, skills, unique attribute bonuses, tools, and watch them lead the pack in battle and in work. Being able to zoom out so far and the overall engine performance of this game are serious technical achievements and help keep gameplay continue uninterrupted.
The task management while surviving against hordes / waves of enemies both random and pre-warned / reinforced will start to get hectic as each of your units starts to have their own needs to attend to such as sleep, eat, maintain health, and so on. These needs have to be met by your strategic planning and the unit co-operating or being forced to co-operate with ceasing work. Good luck with that though, currently that was one thing I noticed – these units will work themselves to death without much of a complaint. They often like to resist your commands for them to rest, especially if your environment is not sufficient enough for their standards. Picky, picky dwarven miners indeed!
Steady streams of Free Content Updates are a great thing to see and Craft The World appears to still be getting some great ones. Players were recently granted the ability to catch animals in the wild and create their own farm with update 1.0.006 which could be an answer to my earlier comment about the game’s hunting system and its curious neutral wildlife. Players are now encouraged to catch chickens, hatch eggs, raise and sheer sheep and llamas, and more.
Funny moments like when your units have an error or lapse in judgement or their strength gives out and they fall off ladders, or fail to climb on things take away the seriousness and show the developer isn’t trying to give a micro-management style, but rather a fun game that’s easy to get into and hooked on. I personally find myself having trouble exiting and can play this title for a while to come. Its rounded edges, polish, high grade systems under the engine, and well thought out gameplay concepts that mesh together perfectly all form a sandbox game I cannot stop playing.
As things get even more advanced, the game eventually opens up way more than expected. Defensive towers and cart railways are just a couple of the gems you’ll be getting your hands on as you proceed through the game’s actually fairly long campaign.
Craft The World gives the feeling of modern 2D sandbox games an executive upgrade. Being in control of multiple characters capable of attacking enemies, building structures, harvesting resources, altering terrain, leveling up, navigating, expressing themselves, and a bunch more is an amazing experience. The graphics of this game are charming and pleasant, and more importantly they don’t hurt your eyes after hours and hours of playing. The controls and menu systems found in Craft The World enable players to immediately start what will surely become an addictive and unique strategic sandbox gaming experience for anyone who picks it up. I commend the developers for making sure this game is a standout in its genre. My only small complaint is that the game can’t go any faster than 2x game speed acceleration, but feels like it should be able to. Despite its initial appearance, Craft The World doesn’t overlap with the games it draws comparisons and inspiration from. Instead, Craft The World does its own thing and it does it well.
Overall Score: 9.5 / 10
RGN Rating : Platinum Game
Developer: Dekovir Entertainment
Publisher: Black Maple Games
Review Copy Info: A digital copy of this game was provided to RealGamerNewz by the publisher for the purpose of this Review.
Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Jon Ireson on 20150217 and was last modified on 20150217 .