As the developer of a sandbox creation game, living in the shadow of something as successful Minecraft is a daunting task – one that requires bigger hooks than just placing blocks to make monuments to your dark gods. Luckily, Pathea Games’ Planet Explorers does much to differentiate itself from the myriad of clones and copycats despite being in its Alpha stage.
Planet Explorers‘ cartoonish landscape belies a treacherous alien world that insists on populating itself with a menagerie of teeth-gnashing, laser-shooting creatures. This persistent world is playable through a story mode featuring quests and NPCs, an adventure mode for free-form exploring, and a creation mode for gods in training. Multiplayer modes to do all the above in the company of friends are currently unavailable in the Alpha build but are forthcoming.
Gameplay is equal parts World of Warcraft as it is Minecraft – there is the requisite digging and building of structures beyond the realms of human comprehension via the game’s voxel system, but there is also an MMO-style crafting system to aid in the creation of whatever strikes your fancy. Materials garnered from carving through swathes of the indigenous flora and fauna feed directly into recipes to create items as innocuous as tables and doors to artillery pieces to aid in the defense of your crudely made settlements. These recipes are acquired throughout gameplay, but they are also made through the game’s very impressive content creator.
If you’ve ever tried your hand at 3D modeling in programs like Maya or Blender, you might feel right at home making vehicles and weapons with which to fool around with in-game. While Planet Explorers‘ editor is far less complex than actually creating 3D models, it is probably one of the more robust examples of an in-game editor I’ve seen. Watching examples of the kind of stuff people make with the editor is enough to make anyone feel inadequate, and one of its cooler features, as I mentioned previously, is the ability to load a creation into the game as a recipe to build, provided you have the required materials, which means you can make your cake and eat it in real-time almost immediately.
Planet Explorers in its Alpha stage is available as a completely free download here should you want to try your hand at the game yourself, and Pathea Games is currently running campaigns on both Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight.