What do you get when you mix up elements of Terraria and Fallout then sprinkle it with a dash of steampunk? You get Bytebin’s new crafting MMO, Deepworld. Deepworld originally debuted on Mac OSX and iPad and has now crossed over to iOS, with a Windows version soon to come. Digging, hunting, crafting and socializing, all in the palm of your hand, so grab your iPhone and get digging! Are you ready?
30 Second Review
(+) Unique setting and elements
(+) Deep gameplay and social options
(-) Network connection required
(-) Long load times
(-) Difficult controls
Waiter, There’s A Steampunk In My Mining Game
Deepworld is an open-world, steampunk crafting adventure game. You start on one of many multiplayer servers and work to build cooperatively and reach achievements. The game takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where caverns and ore aren’t the only things you will find underground. If you’re lucky, you can find vaults and materials buried underground, assuming they haven’t all been looted, of course. All of the game’s servers are randomly populated by other players making trust a pretty large issue. If you’ve found enough materials or you’ve bought some Crowns (we’ll get to them in a minute) then you can purchase Protectors. Protectors prevent other players from changing any of the tiles and items within its range safeguarding your in-game creations.
You can scour the surface for resources and abandoned structures, or you can tap on squares and dig your way through and around the game map. Your standard pickaxe hammer and shovel are the tools you’ll use at first. Crafting starts with simple tools and machines and can progress to elaborate home decorations and firearms. Of course, if scouring the landscape and underground makes you impatient, you can still find some freemium shortcuts in this apocalyptic wasteland.
The base game won’t cost you a dime, but shortcuts don’t come cheap. For starters, there is the Premium Membership upgrade for a pretty meager $2.99. The Premium Upgrade unlocks the upper tier skills, crafting abilities and game content, as well as netting you 100 Crowns. Crowns are the paid currency of the game; there’s no way to earn them in-game unless you plunk down your hard earned, real-world money. While we’re on the subject of Crowns, they are also the only way you will be able to purchase a private world for yourself where other players will only be allowed in if you invite them. Private Worlds come in Arctic, Hell and regular flavors but will cost you 500 Crowns each. With an exchange rate of $9.99 for 550 Crowns, that’s not very cheap. Big spenders can get enough for all three world types with $29.99/1900 Crowns. You can also purchase Crafting Resource Starter Kits and various items like Protectors and power ups with your Crowns. Like most other freemium iOS games, most players may just opt out of the paid content and stick to earning their loot through gameplay.
To Build, or Not to Build
I have to admit, I had quite a bit of fun playing Deepworld. The floating analog controls, while the best control option, can be less responsive than desired. The gameplay is great, but overcoming the controls is a bit of a setback. This issue can also be complicated by the lack of screen space on an iPhone 4. I can certainly see why the game was released on the iPad first; it’s more ideal for a bigger screen that analog nubs can be mounted on.
Deepworld requires you to be connected to a server meaning there must be a WiFi or a strong network connection to play the game. Even with a great connection, there seems to be some long load times and/or startup crashes.
The review build came with a generous amount of Crowns and the Premium Upgrade, which is a great thing considering I would not have spent the money otherwise. I’d imagine that $4.99 would be the limit I would spend on whatever is necessary to unlock a Private World. Given the current Crowns to Dollars exchange rate, I wouldn’t have gotten my Arctic World without the review code and bonus Crowns.
Lastly, having to share a server and all of it’s loot and resources with random strangers is not the most attractive idea. Teamwork can be fantastic provided you don’t get caught amidst griefers before you find trustworthy teammates.
If it sounds like I’m heaping negativity onto Deepworld, then allow me to elaborate. The core gameplay is a lot of fun; the setting and steampunk elements definitely set it apart, and there is quite a bit of content for an iPhone game here. Most of the complaints I listed can be fixed with a few patches and updates. I will still be playing Deepworld for some time to come, but I’ll also be very excited to see what it’s PC cousin has in store for us. I would imagine a larger screen and keyboard and mouse controls would only make the solid foundation Bytebin has crafted even better. Deepworld gets a 7 out of 10.