As someone obsessed with sandbox survival games, I really wanted to like this one. Unfortunately, broken gameplay, poor design decisions, and a buggy client make it really hard for me to recommend Lantern Forge to anyone, at least in this stage of development. The game isn't marked as Early Access - it really should be. There's a surprising lack of polish in almost every area, from the gameplay to aesthetics to direction. I'm breaking them down by category below.
1. The control scheme has been implemented for maximum confusion. No WASD here; left-clicking is used for everything from walking to gathering to attacking, but a simple misclick means you'll start running when you wanted to mine, or start hitting a tree while you're trying to flee enemies. The latter is even more frustrating when:
2. Collision detection and pathfinding are painful and nonexistent, respectively. Your character *will* get stuck against a grove of thin spindly birch trees and be killed by spiders, despite the graphics suggesting there's a gap, and will also happily run into a wall despite a gap being <1 block away.
3. No minimap; your location is marked by (x, y) coordinates in what looks like a debug window.
4. Combat feels frustrating and cheap. In the overworld, monsters scale to your level, and even with full armor in the tier your character is at you'll always end up taking far more damage per monster hit than you can deal, because your own weapons are faster but incredibly weak. And this is for monsters 3-4 levels BELOW you; monsters at level are practically minibosses in a one-on-one fight.
5. HOWEVER: most of the monsters in this game rush you in a group as soon as you get close, and you will have no way of dealing with them. For example, Knights can only learn one AoE skill, which does a maximum of 150% of their weapon's base damage but costs half their starting MP. Incredibly low weapon base damage to start with + can only cast twice per fight = completely useless.
6. You can also (apparently) only set a single skill to a hotkey at once. Despite 5,6,7,8 all being shown in the GUI as combat hotkeys and my character only having two skills, only hotkey 5 could be registered to a skill, and even then pressing 5 did nothing; the skill could only be used by right-clicking.
7. You also have to actually manually click for each hit or mining action; holding down the key does nothing.
8. Even setting aside combat, the rest of the game becomes tedious very quickly. Keeping yourself fed is trivial as long as you find respawning fruit, so there's no sense of challenge, plus no permadeath. In the underworld, mining takes too long, your tools break too quickly, and higher tiers' improvements are negligible; I got to iron and realized there was very little difference from the stone tier besides increased durability.
1. The art style clashes painfully; the models are almost Torchlight-esque, but many of the textures for objects and trees attempt to be photorealistic, and the result is oversaturated and jarring.
2. Sound seems to be bugged as well; the daytime "adventure" music starts playing at midnight, and it's difficult to tell which musical cue is associated with what event.
Lack of direction
1. Lantern Forge provides the player no plot, no choices, and no sense of urgency to either survive or explore beyond the first few areas he or she encounters. Playing this game for the combat would be an exercise in absurdity given how poorly implemented it is, and playing it as a survival game would take about half an hour, because that's how long it'll take to never have to hunt for food ever again.
1. The game repeatedly hangs for a second or so during normal gameplay, whether combat, walking, or mining. One of these hangs resulted in a crash to desktop.
2. Memory leaks; the longer it runs, the slower your character will appear to move and respond.