In 2013, I came across a new game that caught my interest in a few seconds and begged my mom for permission to buy it online. It was Cube World. Over the next few weeks, I spend hours in the game, exploring the beautiful overworld, and leveling up my character.
The alpha version of Cube World was almost perfect; however, it lacked a bit of content. Over 6 years later (of silence), the developer decided to release the game on Steam for around $20. Luckily, the people who bought the game already in 2013 got it for free and could play it a week earlier than the others.
But that was the moment when the tragedy begins. However, before I talk about that, let me explain what Cube World is.
What is Cube World?
Cube World is a voxel-based RPG (indie/sandbox) game created by the developer Picroma which stands out thanks to its unique style and feel. In the game, you can play four different classes, Mage, Rogue, Ranger, or Warrior, and choose one of the many species you want to play as. There are not that many customizations that you can make, but that’s not what Cube World is about.
In the alpha, start at a random location in a new world (near a city), without any tutorial or guides to begin with. You literally get thrown into a new game, so you have to figure out everything by yourself. But this was not a bad thing for me, and many other players also like that “feature.”
The main focus in the alpha version was the exploring and combat system and did an excellent job in these categories. The combat system was one of the biggest strengths of the game, besides its unique and fantastic style. The system was pure skill-based, and offered a skill-tree, to unlock new skills or movement abilities (more about that later).
To unlock new skills or improve one of them, you had to defeat monsters or bosses to earn exp, which varied from monster to monster. With each level-up, you got two skill points that you could spend (you need to invest 5 into one skill to unlock the next one).
For the first few hours, the main goal was to unlock all skills and movement abilities, so we could travel faster around the world, which was completely “locked.” That you can only the regions on the map, that you already moved through.
The game wasn’t perfect at all as it was an Alpha release, but it was enough that players spend hundreds of hours into the game. I didn’t spend 300 hours in the game as I did in Dead by Daylight; however, I played it for a long time (+80 hours for sure).
But now, let us talk about Cube World 2.0. I was hyped af to play the game again after a few years and explore the world to find new things that got added to the game.
Note: Every few months (or years), the developers shared a Screenshot or a short video on their Twitter account, to share that the game is still in development.
The menu looked much better than before, and I got the first taste of new soundtracks that are also amazing. The character creation was the same, but some new accessories got added, so I redesigned my original character from the alpha.
For the first few minutes, most things looked and feel the same as in the alpha (a good thing!) however, there are many differences to the original version: The first thing that you can see instantly, you already unlocked all of your class skills and abilities, instead of unlocking them through a skill-tree.
The second thing isn’t that heartbreaking, in my opinion. Still, I read from many people that they don’t like it: the map is now completely visible, so you can see all the structures, villages, and biomes on it. A game that focuses so hard on exploring, having such a map doesn’t feel right.
Two things that literally destroyed the whole progression system are region locked items, and having no leveling system. The map is now divided into many small areas that feature different biomes. That’s not the bad thing, but the way the game progresses is always the same: find weak monsters, gain better weapons, kill the boss, and get the artifact.
Artifacts are the new leveling system, which is very unique, and I only saw it in Cube World so far, but that’s not the point. These artifacts only give you minor boosts in your stats, which makes them almost useless. Also, every time you move into another region, all of you collected items become weaker than 1-star weapons in the next area (so literally trash). Weapons and gear can be found with different star rarities, so the more stars an item has, the better.
I don’t understand why this is in the game. It feels like the is no progression in the game, as everything becomes trash if you get out of your region (you will lose your boat and glider too). Removing these two things from the game would improve it massively.
Dungeons also change throughout the versions. In the Steam version, you can now find many more dungeons that have a unique design, which is not the case in the alpha. Also, the layout changed quite a bit, so they become more challenging.
These are only a few of Cube World’s problems, but there are a lot more. If you want to get a complete insight, I highly recommend watching this video:
Cube World 2.0 – Pros
Luckily, not everything in Cube World 2.0 is terrible, as there are also some things that I like. The first thing is the new quest system, which brings a lot more variety into the game. Quests are also divided into star ratings like your gear, so the more stars a quest has, the more difficult it will be to complete it.
There are many different quests that you can take on, but to be able to get a quest, you have to talk with the NPCs in cities. Sometimes you can also find them while you explore the region that still looks beautiful by the way.
During quests (or just exploring the world), you will also come across various new monsters, and some of them can also be tamed to become your new pet. Depending on what biome you are, you can find different mobs, like alpacas, slimes, or a penguin.
Another aspect that got improved is the world generation, and it’. During my playtime in the alpha, I didn’t found many structures. But now, we can find temples, dungeons, or unique terrain more frequently.
Note: The combat system didn’t change that much from the Alpha version, which is good to see, as it was already perfect.
Cube World Updates
Since the game got (surprisingly) launched on Steam for around $20, no updated were made to fix issues or to implement new content to the game. The developers also don’t communicate with their community at all, which is very counterproductive if they want Cube World to succeed.
The game is now in the beta state, where publishers usually respond to their players to make the game better for them (and not for themselfs). If you take a look at Cube World’s steam reviews, you will see very detailed reviews from many people that are very disappointed with the game’s current state.
Some fans even created mods to fix region-locked items and gear, so how hard could it be to fix that as the developer? If we buy a game, and we have to fix it instead of the developer to make it playable, we have a big problem.
Until now, we still wait for an update to fix the game (hopefully, he’s already working on it).
What went wrong during the 6-year development?
From time to time, Wolfram von Funck (developer of Cube World) shared new Screenshots on what he is currently working on. He showed us new monsters, dungeons, animations, skills, and more. Everything was perfect!
However, on the 26th of January of 2019, he posted another screenshot, in which we can see a different HP and mana bar. The last post is at this time was 2 years earlier, on the 2nd of July in 2017, to be exact. We can only assume that something happened in these two years, which forced him to change the game so drastically.
Wolfram said himself on his blog and twitter account that there were several points where he considered releasing an update. Still, he was afraid that it wasn’t good enough for the game. This lead up to rework many things from scratch several times (including the progression system).
A Reddit user did some research to list all the features that Wolfram showed us over the years, which didn’t make it into the game or got removed from it. Some elements can still be found in the game files, like the Exp.
Unfortunately, we cannot say what forced him to change Cube World so drastically, and if he wants to bring back the features, he showed us.
Note: Some dedicated fans and modders spend their time making mod packages that you can download and install in your PC, which remove region-lock, and adds better progression, and more.
Is Cube World worth to buy?
Many people who waited 6 years for the official release got disappointed when they played the new version for the first time. Almost everything that made this game so enjoyable as it was in the alpha got removed. However, there is still hope in the community that Wolfram already works on a new update to fix the game.
But in the current state, the game isn’t enjoyable to play. Weapons and monsters are unbalanced, and region-locked items remove the progression. I would only recommend buying the game if you install a mod package on your PC, which removes all the annoying stuff. I downloaded a mod package, and the gameplay experience improved massively. Finally, I can enjoy this game after 6 years of waiting.
As we draw the curtains on our journey through the world of Cube World, it’s clear that the game has had its fair share of highs and lows. From the initial excitement of the alpha release to the anticipation of the full version, the game has always held a certain allure for its unique voxel-based RPG style.
As an OG player of the alpha, I wrote a detailed review of the game too, which you should check out.
The alpha version, despite its lack of content, was a playground for exploration and combat, with a skill-based system that rewarded players for their efforts. The thrill of unlocking new skills, the joy of discovering uncharted regions, and the satisfaction of leveling up were all part of the Cube World allure.
However, the full release, Cube World 2.0, while it brought some improvements, also introduced changes that were not well-received by the community. The removal of the leveling system, the introduction of region-locked items, and the lack of communication from the developers have all been points of contention. The game’s progression system, once a source of excitement, became a source of frustration for many players.
Yet, amidst the criticism, there are glimmers of hope. The new quest system, the improved world generation, and the introduction of new monsters and pets have added a fresh dimension to the game. The community, resilient as ever, has even taken matters into its own hands, creating mods to fix the issues and enhance the gameplay experience.
In its current state, Cube World may not be the game that many had envisioned it to be. It’s a game that requires patience, a willingness to adapt, and perhaps a mod or two. But for those who are willing to look past its flaws, it still offers a unique gaming experience that harks back to the days of the alpha version.
In conclusion, Cube World, like any other game, is a work in progress. It’s a testament to the ever-evolving nature of video games, a reminder that the journey is just as important as the destination. Whether or not it’s worth the buy is a decision that lies in the hands of the player. But one thing is certain – Cube World, in its own unique way, has left an indelible mark on the world of gaming.