Ive done my waiting! 4 Years! And still we dont get a decent successor of minecraft!
Planet Explorers has the first engine which look decent. Other than other Unity voxel games it goes a new way, away from the block shaped minecraft clone worlds.
What is the engine capable of?
- generating a very nice looking 3D environment, with rivers, lakes, hills, mountains and endless oceans. A whole map can be 40x40km, thats not even close to be as big as a minecraft world, but still big enough to satisfy a great number of players.
- having a lot of free roaming animals, that even work in groups, defend each other or fight other species.
- having building sized boss enemis, with a great amount of different attacks (I mean seriously building sized, they are ♥♥♥♥ing huge).
- complete voxel based 3D mapping. You can dig through every mountain for ressources, still the areas arent made of simple cubes, also you dont have a restriction of placing objects in a square system. And sometimes you can find gigantic caves, that even have lakes and rivers inside of them, big enough to fly through them with helicopters.
- oh yeah, the game also has vehicles and guns. And the best part is: You can build them all by yourself (this would be maybe the current core element of the game)
- A colony system with real working NPCs like a Real Time Strategy Game
What are the cons?
- lack of actual exploring stuff
- lack of balance (if you start on a gold and iron / aluminium spot, you can make your end equip in 30 minutes, or you die over and over again, because there is an enemy alien camp right ahead and constantly raiding you)
- from patch to patch fluctuating between super stable and crashing every 15 minutes
- you need a high end PC
- you need to be very creative in crafting, or you are bound to other players workshop stuff
- overpowering open world bosses are way to easy
- sometimes annoying gamebreaking bugs like selfkill with a melee weapon
- lack of content to do
The main course:
The game comes with a complex editor, that allows the player to design his own guns, swords, shields, vehicles, boats and helicopters. It also allowes to craft free style objects without deeper purpose, that can be used as furniture, from a simple chair to a laptop with detailed screen.
Being awesome as it is, the editor doesnt glance with user friendlyness. Even making a corner or edge or diagonal structures can be a pain, creating round, sharp, beautiful looking or complex filigrane objects are only possible by...I dont know...havent figured it out jet. And the other players arent really helpful in answering this question.
Also using material for your objects changes its abilitys. Every ressource has stability and weight, with aluminium being the most useful ressource, due to its strength and low weight. Creating a good looking weapon and also giving it good stats can be a painful balance act. For example I figured out, that a strong gun should have 40 aluminium as building costs. That way it would have 170 damage and exactly 100% accuracy. Every try of building it bigger would decrease the accuracy under 100% so that the gun wont shoot a straight line anymore.
Swords are even worse because I still havent figured out, how to craft sharp blade structures with the editor. But the damage of the blade is calculated from the size of the weapon and how sharp the front is. I have found a workaround, but I dont think this is the way the game should be used.
Building vehicles is awesome, but currently the game restricts you, wherever it can. You are not allowed to use every vehicle part for every type of vehicle. You have restrictions of maximal parts of one type. I dont know if that is supposed to be some sort of balancing...
For example you can use big thrusters instead of rotors for your helicopters, but you cant use those thrusters in other vehicle types. Yeah, maybe it doesnt work this way, but...why do I also cant use the helicopter energy cells on ground vehicles? I can use them on boats, why not in a car? That way, a tank rapitly runs out of fuel and ammo and isnt capable of doing long range scouting + fighting great amounts of enemys.
All in all you still can do a lot with the editor. More options are already announced (armor crafting).
While in minecraft you only build houses to feel happy (and be save at night), here you can build up a functional colony, with defence systems, factorys and farming. Also you are able to recruit NPCs to work for you. This currently only works in Singleplayer.
All in all Planet Explorers is a decent try of a open world sandbox, where you finally literally can do, what you want. I hope they wont let us down.