It’s always an interesting experience when loading up an Early Access game for the first time. These projects have grown quite a bit over the past year and they each come in various stages of development. Rising World decided to enter the scene fairly early on, and such a decision can either help or hurt them in the long run. As of now, it’s in Alpha 0.5.1.3 and it released on December 3rd. The good part of getting Rising World out there early is that they can start building up a community now while securing additional funding. The bad side is the risk that your playerbase will either quit before the game is fully released or that a broken build or two may completely turn off first time players completely. Even though most gamers know to expect anything but a completed game, a first impression is still just that, and while Rising World may seem like it’s early on in its initial release, it already shows a lot of potential.
When loading up the game for the first time, I was greeted with a very calming and beautiful song. To be honest, I waited a full minute before even entering my first world because it was so pleasant. From that point on I learned it’s not just the initial song that is strong on the audio front. The ambient noise, such as the wind rustling through the trees, really makes the world feel alive. Even now, as the game runs in the background, I feel more relaxed listening to the sounds of the wind in this game. With that said, there is definitely some placeholder audio that will likely be replaced in the future. Players of Rust will recognize the very familiar zipping noise as they load into the game, and some of the animal noises can occur at the exact same time, making for a very…interesting melody.
Before you actually start the game, you’re given the option of the type of game mode you’d like to play, as well as some other options. As of now, there are four playable modes (Survival, Creative, Stranded, Adventure), although only the first two are playable at the moment. You can also choose different types of maps, such as having a flat world or a “surreal” one. Along the same lines, players can also choose to turn off caves and vegetation in this particular instance. It’s nice to see that there are already four game modes planned and some slight customization, because even the slightest change in this kind of game can make it fresh, new, and exciting after hours of normal play. Of course, that’s where the fun of multiplayer comes in and where survival games shine for me personally. While running around, exploring, surviving, and building are fun while getting the hang of things, multiplayer is where the party starts. The constant threat of death, the rare feeling of finding an ally, the defending of your meager starter home, and the sad and desperate search for it again when you get lost are all things you’ll experience here. Thankfully, you’ll be able to see the name of the one that inevitably betrays you and be able to shout out your plan to find them and return the favor in the global chat. If none of this sounds fun to you, you may want to just stick to single player where you’ll only have to worry about dangerous animals, finding shelter, and starvation.
Rising World‘s gameplay is extremely similar to other games of the same genre. You’re dropped into the newly created world and are forced to gather, build, and survive. Although not implemented just yet, the UI and need for health, food, and water are in the game and will soon be ready to used. You’ll likely have to make sure you know where bodies of water are, and animals can be chased down and killed with any weapon you can create, including the pickaxe that you spawn with. The trees you chop down actually fall over and don’t simply disappear, which is a nice touch that adds to the immersion. The game also supports a day and night cycle already, though I imagine the stars and night sky will be getting a bit of an upgrade in the future.
The crafting system is quite detailed already, with far more options for creating than I was expecting. I personally love crafting in survival games, but I especially like how Rising World is handling it. Not only do they have a lot of options for you to create the home or castle of your dreams, but there are also different crafting tables depending on the type of material you’re using. While you still do have the option to craft the initial workstation wherever you are as long as you have the lumber, it will take a lot more time and resources to keep crafting other workstations out in the wild. Not only will it be dangerous, but you’ll be spending precious time and resources that could be better spent in one central location.
As of right now, there are multiplayer servers that offer up to 150 players at one time, which is an extraordinarily generous amount or people. I’m not entirely sure how well the game runs with that many players, since the most I played with at any given time was around 15, but the option is there nonetheless. I’ve never claimed to be the best at building in survival games, but I sure enjoyed seeing what other players had already created in the world. I even came across such modern devices as sinks and toilets in my travels, which was a bit jarring (but very welcome) to see. There was also a piano that you can interact with and actually play, using the keys on your keyboard. It may seem pointless, but it was just another thing that made that particular server and world feel more alive while I was walking (and sometimes flying) around in it. Not only does it all give me a great idea of what is possible, but it also reminds me that the only chance I’ll have to own such a place is to storm in and take it for my own somehow (don’t judge me).
One thing I gladly want to bring up is how responsive the team was when I had an issue with the game. It was only a minor bug that I posted on the Steam forums, and even though players began answering my question and addressing the issue, the developer responded within 20 minutes of posting. This small German studio is doing something very right here. A strong rapport with the growing community and keeping up communication is an easy way to earn a great following, which is something that many developers seem to neglect, especially when starting out. Even though this is their first game, I already see JIW-Games’ Rising World as a project that I’ll be following and playing as it continues to grow.