When Minecraft became wildly popular it spawned a lot of imitators. Rising World is one such voxel sandbox game and it has the potential to be a great one.
Rising World is a voxel sandbox game developed by JIW-Games and published by KISS Ltd. The player is presented with a seemingly limitless open world within which they can build and survive. This is a formula we've seen many times before in recent years, and Rising World executes it well.
I'm on Version 0.5.3.5 Alpha, and the game has a solid foundation for an Early Access title. There are a few elements of the gameplay that are clearly planned but not yet implemented. The Rising World News section of their forum shows a consistent update schedule where new patches are deployed every 2-3 weeks. The dev team seems fairly open and communicative about the development process. It's not quite on the same level as Prison Architect's monthly Alpha builds and accompanying videos, but JIW-Games makes a commendable effort in keeping the community informed about how development is going.
Creating a new world involves ticking a few options. You can choose between a Normal world full of forests and mountains, a Superflat world ideal for just building, or a Surreal world with strange world generation. Caves and vegetation can be turned on or off - turning off vegetation will remove all plants and trees, but you'll still have grass everywhere. There are four gamemodes offered (Survival, Creative, Stranded, and Adventure), but Stranded and Adventure are currently unavailable. The only noticeable difference between Survival and Creative modes is that your hunger and thirst do not deplete in Creative mode.
Other conventions expected of a "Creative mode," such as infinite resources and immortality, are currently absent. You can rectify this by bringing up the console with the tilde (`/~) key and typing "setgametype 1" to go into a sort of Godmode where you can't die and can insta-mine everything. I think it's important to give credit where credit is due - I found out these console commands thanks to this page over at 552 Gaming. There's more in there if you feel like messing around with the console in Rising World.
After your world is generated, you're plopped down at a fixed spawn points with a pick, an axe, and a full hunger and thirst meter. From here, it's up to you to do as you will. As I am a seasoned Minecraft veteran, I immediately made for the nearest tree and went at it with an axe. It was interesting to see the tree actually fall over on its side rather than simply pop some wood into my inventory. I hit it for a bit longer with my axe and soon found it split into logs which I could then pick up.
[caption id="attachment_33212" align="alignleft" width="300"] The bed allows you to set your spawn point, but it can be buggy at times. Although there is generous space above the bed in the house I made I somehow spawn on the roof. Thank goodness for ladders![/caption]
Logs in hand, I found myself a bit lost. I wanted to play through this game completely blind and not refer to any guides or wikis to try to see how intuitive it is to a new player. I had hit my first bump in the road. After looking around in the key bindings and my inventory for a bit I noticed that the word "Crafting" to the right of "Inventory". I clicked on it and saw a tiny amount of in-hand crafting options.
After making a Crafting Table, the world opened up to me a bit more. I could create a Block Bench (which allowed for the crafting of various blocks), a Saw Bench (which allowed the crafting of functional furniture and other decorative items), an Anvil (which allowed the creation of iron pieces used in crafting other things), and a Furnace (which supposedly was for smelting ores). This is where I hit my first bit of noticeable Early Access missing content. There's not actually any iron or ore in the game, so the Furnace is completely useless. The Anvil allows you to just click a button and create however many Iron Rods or Iron Sheets you'd like. The existence of caves, the Anvil, and the Furnace shows a clear intent for there to be iron (and probably other resources) in the game, but they're not yet implemented.
After initially setting up some crafting stations, I decided to build a small house. I was pleased at the wide variety of blocks offered in the current game as well as the ability to select different block shapes when crafting. (The developers say that more block types will be coming in the next patch.) Though I was displeased with the large amount of work it ended up taking to create everything. A couple hundred trees were felled. A few dozen cubic meters of rock were hewn. I personally feel that the amount of usable material you get from cutting down trees and picking at stone is a little low relative to the work involved.
Actual survival in Rising World is not all that difficult. You have a health meter, but the only way to really take damage is from falling (there are not yet any hostile animals in the game but there are plans for them). You have a hunger and thirst meter, but your character's moaning while hungry or thirsty will simply annoy you before it actually kills you. The only consequence of death is losing everything in your inventory. If you build a chest to store your items, change your spawn point with a bed, and watch your footing as you move throughout the world, you should be just fine.
Rising World's music is quite light and fitting for a game of this type - it's relaxing and excellently compliments the gathering and building aspects of the game. The sound effects themselves are good enough, although a few of them feel a bit off - breaking a block sounds more like a tool breaking to me personally. I also want to point out the piano, a buildable piece of furniture in the game. You can actually play it using controls similar to those of Virtual Piano. I thought this was a really nice touch in interactivity by the developers.
There's a multiplayer component to Rising World, too. It works well enough, but some users on the forums have reported disconnects and other netcode issues. I played Rising World for a few days to get a solid feel for the game, and every time I popped online I had a difficult time finding a server with more than a couple of people on it. Most of the ones that were populated were hosted in Europe (which is no surprise, as Kiss LTD is a European publisher and JIW-Games is located in Germany according to their Twitter.)
[caption id="attachment_33208" align="alignleft" width="300"] This is one of many examples of modern buildings you'll find on multiplayer servers. Rising World allows for a lot of flexibility in stylistic choices when it comes to building.[/caption]
I bore witness to some truly admirable player-created communities despite the low server population. Rising World may give the initial impression of a medieval-themed game but that simply isn't the case. There are a variety of modern block styles such as concrete and asphalt available. I have seen office buildings, restaurants, suburbs, and all sorts of modern constructions in addition to the expected castles and peasant villages.
Although it offers a rich variety in construction choices and player freedom, Rising World still suffers from some problems. I'm not on the best graphics card, but I was prone to stuttering and hangups while exploring multiplayer servers with a lot of player construction. A lot of assets exist in the game, but it currently feels a bit short on actual gameplay. If you enjoy building things for building's sake, I would recommend Rising World as it is now. If you're looking for more of a sort of Survival experience where you have to explore, grow food, and defend your homestead I would wait until the game is more feature rich.
Rising World as it stands has a solid foundation and development seems to be chugging along at a steady pace. I'll be keeping a close eye on it, and if you enjoy voxel sandbox games you should give it a look. You can purchase it on Steam.
Rising World was provided by Kiss Ltd and reviewed on the PC platform.
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