I realize that this is an "Early Access Game", so bugs are to be expected.
That said, In the last few days my attempts at play have been met with crashes on loading, crashes at the main menu, and a horribly unresponsive game. A gaming system that can handle many AAA titles seems to have trouble keeping up with Vox, leading to an less than enjoyable experience. Even in an "alpha" state, I would have assumed that the game would be playable
. As I obviously don't have access to the source, I can't say if the problem is due to naïve data structures, brute-force coding techniques, the choice of paradigms/libraries, or just the trying to avoid premature optimization, but something is causing it to feel very laggy, both in response to input as well as in animation.
Now, bugs and what I will refer to as poor optimization aside, on to the gameplay itself. I managed to create a character, customize the appearance somewhat, and get into the default world (biome? It's a world.) Right away I could see quest givers in front of me. When I went to gather up a quest or three, I discovered that you can only accept one a time. Alright, no multitasking it is- time to explore and complete a quest!
Except exploring the world is at best tedious. It is easy for your character to get stuck on block edges, which happens often enough that I end up jumping everywhere. The only things in the starting area outside of "town" seem to be hills and the occasional tree, There weren't any arches or caves that I could fine, although there is a screenshot of one so I assume they are somewhere.
Okay, okay, alpha state- I get it.
Combat felt...awkward. It was difficult to have a sense of perspective concerning the monsters I needed to kill due to how "close" the character is to the camera, and the right-click "targetting" system felt awkward when combined with a left-click-and-hold attack, especially if you come from the 3rd-person gaming background where right click activates mouse look or run. I kill my required number of bees (more annoying than I would have hoped, it was difficult to get them to "aggro" on you without some form of ranged attack to reach them first, approaching them was not enough), and realize that I have no idea which direction town is. The limited landmarks mean that the simply colored terrain tends to look the same in all directions, and the quasi-random assortment of snow, concrete, grass, and what I assume is desert lead me down a few wrong paths for a bit. Again, my own fault, but a mini-map of some form, or at the very least a larger draw distance might have helped smooth this out.
Turn in the quest, and decide to go check on the Steam sale. When I next opened the game, there was no recollection of me having completed the previous quest, so the same NPC has the exclamation point. No, I don't want to kill bees again. Somewhere in this process I leveled up, but I have no idea what that actually did.
I don't doubt that Vox could
be an enjoyable, fun game, in a similar style to Minecraft or Terraria, but I do feel that the early access release was perhaps too
early. Reading through the notes from the developer, I am concerned that the focus on more content may be somewhat misplaced, especially in a one or two person shop. I know throwing more people at a late project (or in this case, a project very much in need of more work) only makes it later (slower), so I won't say that more developers are necessary- but I don't see Vox leaving this current alpha/Early Access state for quite some time. It does appear that the developer is active in the forums, responding to users comments and critiques, which is a good thing, but the desire to add new functionality seems to be overpowering the real need to improve the base game that is in place.
Overall, I wasn't expecting perfection, or even anything close, but the feel of the game in its current state is one that I can't recommend. There is some potential here for fun, and the customization options are definitely a good start, but it feels like it will be a long time before this game is ready for the public.