Trove is cute. Really cute. Arriving from developer and publisher Trion Worlds, Trove sticks out from their line-up of high-end MMO’s, and Defiance. Trove is their latest work and currently in closed beta. Being advertised as a voxel based game with building elements, the game provides a charming experience and provides promise for lovers of the genre.
With a childish hope I loaded up the game and was immediately thrown into the action. Launched straight into a tutorial world as SirFluffykins the knight, the game immediately looked promising. The tutorial takes you through the basics of the two elements of the game: Adventure and Build.
Adventure feels a bit WOW-like, travelling round the many worlds on foot completing simple quests which can be summed up as ‘slay this ‘roided enemy we call a boss.’ There are several classes to the game so don’t feel like you have to be a knight. The fighting is done with the mouse and number keys. The fighting style will be familiar to most MMO players, yet doesn’t feel particularly challenging or rewarding and throwing on your best gear and mixing tanking damage with your multi-use healing vial will get you through most encounters. I marched into the lower level area and after slaying many a Mushroom King and Undead Viking I felt the fighting become tedious; this is a fighting style built for the patient grinder.
After rending many voxels asunder for sweet loot I decided to return to the homeworld and dabble in the other major mode of the game, Build Mode. To build you need to claim a cornerstone, a grey area of land locked to your character for you to make your home/art piece. Walking off to find myself an unclaimed cornerstone, I passed many impressively built houses, art pieces and a companion cube. I’m not an artistic person. I’m the person who repurposes a cave in Minecraft and shrinks away like a hermit while my friends build glorious homes and destroy them. Trion blessed me with the Voxstar pack (much obliged) and I had thousands of blocks in all colours at my disposal. So throwing all elements of aesthetic pleasure aside, I built myself an orange castle. The build system is a simple enough design; eight items can be placed on the Hotbar and you place them by clicking where your marker lies, removing items by blasting them with a laser beam. I stood atop my orange castle with undue pride, staring out at the companion cube in the distance happy that my creation would suffice as a base.
Building and adventure blend in the crafting system. Simplistic currently, you laser blast materials out of the ground or collect them from your dead foes; once you have the required materials you return to your base and craft what you need. The crafting system feels incomplete, with not much currently lined up. Best hoard everything now and be safe for updates.
So what stands this game out? A big seller is the collectables and by the gods there’s plenty. Uniforms; pets; mounts; faces; hats; weapons; blocks; special items and two types of money. For a game in beta there is a metric ton of items to hoard. The game locks some collectables as levelling rewards, so the encouragement to grind is there. Even if collectables don’t blow your whistle, the game looks beautiful, Trion has made simply walking around admiring artistic people’s club worlds a pleasure with bright bold colours and soft music to guide your weary soul.
But it’s hard to shake off the feeling this game is lackluster. I pray it is simply a symptom of its beta status, but there feels like not much to do. The game has two good elements, but the adventuring feels boring, with fights lacking any challenge; and building lacks depth, your character is lovingly detailed with a voxel body but you are only able to place 1×1 primary coloured blocks. Overall the game does several things, but all several things not as well as other games. I try not to be cynical, more than is funny but it feels like Trion is simply trying to grasp onto the Minecraft-style wagon and rather late to the party.
Trove is a glamorous voxel game with some serious promise. It’s a game where after a hard day adventuring you can retire to your lovingly crafted home and enjoy all the creations of users around you. The game is in closed beta and I hope as this rises out of its beta shackles it can create a fun and involving experience. Just pray Trion doesn’t do a Defiance on this.