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Worlds Adrift preview: Surgeon Sim's dev gets serious in floating island survival game

Hayden Dingman | Oct. 2, 2015
This is what it's like when worlds don't collide.

Worlds Adrift

From the developer that brought you a goofy send-up of the dry simulator genre and a game where you literally play as a slice of bread comes…an ambitious survival/crafting game set amongst the floating, cloud-flanked islands of a fractured world?

Yeah, I’m just as surprised. This is Worlds Adrift, the latest game from Bossa Studios (of Surgeon Simulator and I Am Bread fame).

Growing up

As I mentioned, Worlds Adrift is essentially a survival/crafting game, joining the ranks of DayZ, H1Z1, Rust, and about a million other Early Access games. The complete and utter saturation of that genre has led developers to get creative though, and we’ve started to see more of a “Survival Game, but also This Other Thing” approach take hold. As in, Ark: Survival Evolved is “Survival Game Plus Dinosaurs.”

Worlds Adrift is “Survival Game on Floating Islands.” Er…plus flying boats and ancient ruins and a grappling hook and a wingsuit and some other crazy stuff. Here are the basics: You’ll spawn on one of the game’s innumerable floating islands (more will be seamlessly added and the map expanded as the game’s playerbase grows), gather resources, build your first flying ship, and then set off to explore. You can also glide around using a wingsuit, or swing around like Spider-Man thanks to an infinite supply of grappling hooks.

It’s the most ambitious game we’ve seen from Bossa, which—up until now—has been known for what I consider “gimmick games.” Surgeon Simulator and I Am Bread are both tailor-made for the Twitch/YouTube crowd: A silly concept that naturally leads to hilarious in-game moments but isn’t necessarily as much fun to play on your own. See also, Goat Simulator.

But Worlds Adrift is a massive departure. Bossa’s the latest studio to…I hesitate to say “mature” but that’s how these things are usually framed. Like, Revolver was the first “mature” Beatles album. Or, sticking to games, Uncharted marks the point where Naughty Dog “matured.”

Worlds Adrift

The term’s a bit too condescending in my opinion, because it implies that what came previously wasn’t worth anyone’s time. And that’s rarely true—The Beatles put out some masterful pop songs before Revolver, and Naughty Dog’s early games (Crash Bandicoot, Jak and Daxter) are beloved classics.

Regardless, it’s clear Worlds Adrift is not a gimmick game in the same sense as Surgeon Simulator. Worlds Adrift is one massive online world where players harvest resources, build flying ships or maybe crew up on someone’s larger ship, and explore. Sure, it has flying ships and grappling hooks and all sorts of zany video game mechanics, but there’s a grandiosity here. It’s full of eye-catching vistas and mysterious ruins and animals to research. It is a “serious survival game.”

 

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