The term “sandbox” is thrown around a lot when discussing video games.
So much of the time I actually disagree with the way people use it. When you think about what a sandbox really is, you think about a simple, squared-off area with sand to play around in. There are some toys and some tools thrown in, but what you do is really up to you. You can lose hours of your life just doing whatever you like. Playful’s new title, Creativerse is definitely a sandbox.
I was never really a big fan of Minecraft. I understood why people enjoyed it and always admired the things people made in it, but I never spent a lot of time with it myself. Creativerse, however, showed me the amount of time that can vanish while getting lost in such an open game. Although there are plenty of similarities, it’s important not to directly compare Creativerse to Minecraft. Something I really enjoyed while playing Creativerse was the accessibility of it all; I remember Minecraft overwhelmed me a little with everything you could do. Creativerse, on the other hand, is all about discovery. You’ll find new items and tools as you explore the world. There’s never any pressure to craft or use anything you pick up, but this gradual opening into a much larger world with a larger toolset is a great way to ease you into the full complexities of the game.
The fun you can have with Creativerse is pretty relentless. Playful’s CEO Paul Bettner has said he wanted the game to bring the creativity of Minecraft to a more shareable space, where allowing others to explore your formulations has never been easier. While there are so many features to enjoy in the game, I think it’s my earliest experience is what stood out to me most.
Upon spawning in my own little world, I set out exploring. The more I explored, the more I learned about the mechanics of the game. If I ran into a hostile creature, I’d swap my mining glove for my weapon and get whacking. If I discovered a new type of block, I’d mine it and save it for later. Once I had discovered how to make some torches, I decided to wander into a cave that disappeared underground. As I went in, a game tip popped up warning me that night was coming and that I should build a shelter. Instantly, I knew my game plan. The cave I had entered went off in so many directions, so I decided that the mouth of it needed a bit of renovating. After forming a roof and a little doorway, I went into the atrium of the cave. Lighting was essential so I planted some torches and I felt like I had made a little home for myself. I planted my teleportation stone near the entrance so I knew all I had to do to return to this place was hit the “T” key. Next came a staircase, which architecturally, proved to be more of a challenge. It took a while but I managed to construct it successfully. After that, I mined upward at a different point in the cave and I ended up making a back door of sorts. After running out of torches I had to find materials to craft more, and before I knew it I had spent an hour and a half just simply renovating and creating a little home for myself. It was so simple, but just being in the game allowed me to do these things in my own way and it was so entertaining.
I’m aware a lot of these simple things I did are all possible in Minecraft, so fans of that game may be thinking it is just a clone. However, I’d still advise you to give Creativerse a try, anyway. Just as I would do the same to those who, like me, didn’t enjoy Minecraft. The reason being; Creativerse definitely struck a chord with me that Minecraft really didn’t. There’s a free-to-play version available on Steam right now, as well as the full version that came out last week.
I haven’t shared any creations with the world quite yet because the great thing is you don’t have to. However, I have had a look at what other people have made and it has to be said that the breadth for creation is impressive. I can hear Creativerse calling out to me to play more, and I’m sure the more I do the more fun I’ll discover. The important message I want to send here is; Creativerse is successful in making the fun of creating and exploring an accessible thing that can hook anyone. Undoubtedly, it may not hit the global heights of Minecraft, but something this fun shouldn’t just be passed up as a clone.