Deepworld is a 2D crafting / mining sandbox MMO reminiscent of Minecraft. Within the trappings of a post apocalyptic Steampunk world, you explore, you mine (a lot), you craft, you dodge acid rain, strange underworld creatures (or kill them) and rogue automatons. That, in a nutshell, is the game. Released on the Mac platform and currently in beta on the iOS platform, I tested the game on the tablet.
You start off with a pick, a jet-pack and lots of inventory space. Everything stacks to the hundreds and you can explore and mine to your hearts delight before you begin to contemplate crafting. The tutorial takes you through movement – you toggle a joystick by touching the edges of the device, mining – you touch blocks with a pick in hand and crafting – touching items that are not greyed out in your crafting menu.
Thus you begin. In a toxic world where you need to dodge acid rain – and it rains often. There are safe structures that house the world teleporters or you can go underground as you mine deeper and deeper, seeking the rare ores, but it is not safe underground either as you encounter strange creatures and rogue automatons in great underground caverns, and they all want a piece of you. You can’t defend yourself with your pick, so you run or you die… or if you are lucky, a player comes by with a great big mucking ray gun and kills destroys them, saving your noobiness. So you check your crafting menu. Pistol stock… gun barrel, pistol, gunpowder and bullets. All within reach of your noobie skills, as long as you have the resources. Time to mine!
If a pistol is good, wouldn’t that Energy Cannon be better? Level 4 engineering skill required and how do you raise your skills? Through upgrade points which are gained through achievements, and achievements are gained through playing the game. Crafting items, mining, exploration, etc.
There is an achievement for exploration, so travel often. There is a day and night cycle in the game and the night can get pretty dark if you are roaming around in a less explored world with few structures. Never fear, you can craft a flashlight! These less explored worlds are still toxic and you can find many deteriorating structures. Every square can be “mined” be it a crafted square of glass or even wall paper. Be careful of mining in the developed and purified worlds however, as even the earth could be placed by other players and you get a “naughty, naughty” message when you mine them. Apparently, if you go around wantonly destroying other players’ buildings, you lose karma points and could potentially be sent to hell.
Apart from the karma system, to prevent the destruction of their carefully crafted structures, players can place protector dishes – you start with two – in their homes and I presume that more can be purchased or crafted with a high enough engineering skill.
The game is hosted in the cloud, so players on all platforms can play together in the same world. Befriending other players allows you to quickly find them and there are achievements that you can get with other players. It also helps to have friends to help keep you alive in dangerous situations - watching each other’s backs as you encounter monstrous beings deep in the bowels of the earth.
Players can build and place teleporters to their homes and large factories deep in the bowels of the earth. Exploring some of these developed and purified worlds can be fascinating as structures span large expanses both above ground as well as below. How the worlds are purified have been discovered and I found fissures that have been plugged and controlled, steam vents and mine shafts that go so deep, my fledgling mining skills were not good enough to mine the goodies down there.
Deepworld will appeal to gamers who enjoy crafting and building. Long term goals are an ecosystem that can breakdown if not maintained and harnessing steam for building vehicles and machines, and some social games that such as capture the flag that can be played in a 2-D environment. In the toxic worlds you can also run into house protection systems that still work; automatons that fire upon you while you are scavenging materials – and I imagine that players will be able to craft these as well, in the future.
Right now, the social system is only global chat and a friends list. I should imagine that player trading and in-game guild systems are also in the future plans for Deepworld. As well as an achievement or quest tracking system to show players what they can do to gain XP to skill up, or at least a list of achievements available on the Deepworld website.