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Wonderstruck | Official Site
MMORPG | Setting:Fantasy | Status:Early Access  (est.rel 2016)  | Pub:Wonderstruck
PVP:Yes | Distribution: | Retail Price:$35.00 | Pay Type:Buy to Play | Monthly Fee:n/a
System Req: PC Mac Linux | Out of date info? Let us know!

Previews: A Beautiful World Created One Block at a Time

By Ryan Getchell on December 12, 2014

A Beautiful World Created One Block at a Time

If you’re like me, you might have never heard of this game before, but you’re going to be glad you’ve heard of it now. If you like Voxel Sandbox games, you should definitely check this one out. It might appear to be a typical game in this genre, at least from the outside, but once you step into Oort Online your eyes will be awestruck by the outstanding graphics. Add to it the community driven development and this game definitely has the potential to be a major contender.


What makes Oort Online so special?

At the moment it’s hard to pin point exactly what makes Oort Online special due to it still being in very early development. However, one thing that truly stands out about this game is its ability to make voxel based games look incredibly beautiful. This is by far one of the most visually pleasing games I’ve played. The developers have clearly taken their time to push a game about three dimensional blocks into the realm of being so much more. If they take the passion they’ve put into the graphics and put it into the other areas of the game they are working on, this game is going to something fantastic.

If they just dropped everything in terms of features and left the game as it is now, it would still be my number one pick for voxel building games. Simply because the stuff looks so damn good. The lighting alone sets this game apart from its competitors.  Take something as simple as a torch: its lighting and the way it flickers and wraps around objects really brings the world to life, especially at night. You can build cities and place lights along the roads and in buildings. From a distance cities look just like a real urban skyline. Other voxel based games don’t offer that type of detail.  When it comes to immersing yourself in a virtual world, it’s the smallest of details that really brings you in. For me, in Oort Online it’s the lighting.

Graphics are great, what about controls?

This is where we start seeing the early development show through. The controls in Oort Online aren’t that great. Move around, collecting materials, all that is the same as almost every other game, WASD for movement, right click for mining/gathering , but when it comes to actually building something, things get a little complicated.

So early in its development stage, that as of typing this article your character is displayed as two orange blocks. There are no graphics for any of the tools you use, Pickaxe, Shovel, etc. You can place blocks by putting them on your utility bar on the bottom of your UI, however, this where things get confusing.

In Oort you can customize your blocks, unlike Minecraft, or Trove. In Oort you can create slanted blocks. Which means you can make slides, yes, that’s right, I said slides. Some of the most amusing things I’ve done in Oort is making a slide down a mountain which will launch you into the water.  To make slanted blocks you need to place your block in specific spots on your action bar. I personally am not a fan of this idea, and I hope it is just place holder until the game is further into development. I don’t think placement of the blocks in your action bar should determine what angle it produces, it doesn’t seem very intuitive and as you gather more and more materials, it becomes a hassle to manage your action bar just to get the angle you want. Instead I would rather a system where I can place the block and then hit “E” or something to adjust the angle of the block.

Community Built Game

Wonderstruck, the company behind Oort Online, are doing something you don’t really see from game developers. While Oort Online is still considered a crowd funded game, it’s not being done via Kickstarter or anything similar. Instead, they are doing all their crowd funding off their site. As they earn money they change the feature they are working on. For example, as the game is being developed the backers will receive emails with a survey asking what they want to see in the game, and as the game continues to raise funds and be developed the features that have been requested by the community get implemented. I think this is a great way to build a game that the community wants.

So is Oort Online worth throwing money at?

If you enjoy voxel games, yes, without a doubt this game is worth your investment. Even though it is still very early in development, it has great potential, and a solid foundation. I see this game only getting better and better, especially with their focus being on what the community wants.

If you like more of a flushed out game, with plenty of features and things to do, I’d recommend holding off for now, at least until the game gets further into development. The features that they are working on now, Crafting, Creatures, Dueling, are only going to get better with time.

If you’re interested in this game, head on over to Oort Online webpage, check out some of the upcoming features, and maybe donate some cash to one of their many tiers and start enjoying this incredibly beautiful game.

Ryan Getchell / Ryan is our resident Elder Scrolls nerd, and columnist for Zenimax's MMO. When he's not out killing things in Tamriel, he's working in IT professionally.