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A Casual, Cornered: Six Minecraft Clones That are More Than Minecraft Clones

Columns By Beau Hindman on February 17, 2015

Six Minecraft Clones That are More Than Minecraft Clones

This week I would like to introduce you to several of the best looking Minecraft-esque multiplayer games I have had the fortune to get my hands on, with the exception of Oort Online (I’ve yet to play it.) Honestly, though, it is a bit unfair to refer to these games as Minescraft “clones” or anything as limiting, for a few reasons.

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1) Minecraft itself is open to interpretation; after all, the game can be turned and hosted into a massively-multiplayer game and can be modded into a scripted, linear, quest-based universe. So, in a way, “Minecraft” is only as Minecraft as you allow it to be. Minecraft could be considered a tool as much as a game.


2) There are many games that feature the familiar look or feel of Minecraft, but Minecraft did not invent open world creation games. In fact, Notch came from the team who made Wurm Online, a fantastic open-world terraforming game that -- to this day -- remains one of my favorites. Minecraft did not invent its mechanic; it only perfected and popularized it. That’s not an attempt to take down Notch’s achievement, just an attempt to explain that these titles could have taken cues from a few other titles as well.

Do I see a future for this style of game? Yes, but surely many of the “clones” will die off just as any other clone will. Luckily, on this list are some that could probably last well beyond the genre. Games like these are very important to the future of truly, massive open gaming, especially in a world of instant-on gaming through mobile. Many readers would snicker at the thought that MMO-like games (the ones on this list) are important to the future of “real” MMOs, but in many ways they might be one of the genre’s saviors.

Enjoy this list of my favs. I wanted to show these off in particular because they look really nice as well.


Windbourne

We start off the list with the one game that seems to be having the most issues with getting off the ground. Still, it’s a cool game. You’ll be assigned an island that you can build and customize through terraforming all you want, and later you can invite other players to join you and visit other’s islands as well. There are some great linear quests that teach you the basics of the game, and the world includes interesting NPCs that appear to have some pretty stout AI. You can even raise dragons!

Developments or updates have been few and far between lately, but the game is still worth the early access fee. If things don’t pan out and nothing really becomes of the game, you’ll still get your money’s worth. You can visit the official website here.


Trove

Trove is definitely the most “AAA” of the bunch. (Yes, even more than Landmark so far!) It’s also the most polished and well-rounded and easy to get into. You simply download, log in and start exploring. Players can meet together in large open areas and can instantly transport to other areas of the world; it’s all so seamless that I often take it for granted while playing.

Building your own stuff is as easy as running out into the world, finding an empty plot and claiming it. Once you do you can build a house, assemble some crafting stations or even use teleporters that send you all over.

Players can take part in adventures and dungeons while utilizing the abilities of different classes. Those classes can be switched out, just in case you feel like trying something else on for size for a while. Trove is fun, open, creative and often very beautiful to look at. Check it out for free.

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