Isle of Spirits: First Impressions

Out of the many independently developed video games that I’ve come across over the last two weeks, there was a title that has seemingly been predominantly inspired by Minecraft, which has put many hours into the former, I was looking forward to discovering for myself. The first of these game was entitled Isle of Spirits; developed by the French indie outfit Silver Bullet Games, Isle of Spirits offers players a top-down procedurally generated survival experience, whereby players must travel from island to island, gather resources and establish settlements in order to survive, whilst also contending with natural occurrences that act as obstacles for the player such as monsoons and fog, as well as supernatural phenomenon including spirits that attack in unlit places. Impressed by what I’ve played of the game in its current form, I decided to give an account of my first impressions of it. Here’s what I thought of what the current build of Isle of Spirits has to offer:

Graphics

The game’s visual style is extremely reminiscent of Minecraft, with general terrain being entirely cube-based, but where this game differs to Minecraft in respect of its environmental design (at least different from the original texture pack) is that there is much more use of lighting and shadow in conjunction with what the day-to-night cycle dictates at any one given time. The main character sprite is also drastically different from that of Minecraft, taking more of a humanoid form; be it a placeholder or the final intended design at this point. If an option were to exist to customize the player character, it would add an extra level of depth to the conceptual design, but the game in its current state looks generally impressive. 

Gameplay

The game plays out like a mash-up between Minecraft and Don’t Starve since it relies not on the player thriving, but surviving in one harsh environment after the other. The obstacles the player has to contend with (natural or supernatural) adds a heightened sense of tension compared to the more easy-going style of play predominantly associated with Minecraft. As in Don’t Starve there will inevitably be a learning curve with this game, especially if players haven’t played the former, but this only adds to its challenge, making it a potentially memorable experience. It’ll be interesting to see if over time, like what Klei Entertainment did with Don’t Starve, there is scope for expansion of what obstacles can be put in front of the player

Controls

The game’s control scheme is also not over-complicated either; be that with using either a mouse and keyboard or a controller. If the developers even decide to expand the content of the game, there wouldn’t be any need to expand on the game’s control scheme, as it already handles as well as any other game of it’s kind. Tweaks may be made here and there to accommodate for the inclusion of more complicated demands, like what Mojang did over time with Minecraft, but it would by no means be a necessity. 

Originality

It’s easy to think that at first glance, this game is simply another Minecraft clone and that has very little to offer in terms of uniqueness; especially as the industry seems to be somewhat over-saturated with titles like this and the advent of games like Portal Knights and Dragon Quest Builders. But the majority of them do have the individual elements that make them stand out and Isle of Spirits is no exception; even in its early stages of development. It requires players to be a lot more on their toes than with the games of the same ilk that offer more in the way of repetition and as every playthrough is procedurally generated, it offers virtually infinite replay value. 

Happii

Overall, Isle of Spirits looks set to offer players a very immersive gaming experience upon release. It has a lot to offer even in its current form and it will be exciting to see what the final product has to offer. If anyone reading wants to find out even more about the game, you can check out Silver Bullet Games’ website:

http://www.silverbulletgames.com/

Or follow them on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/games_bullet

In the meantime, I hope you guys are just as excited for this game’s release as I am.

Game on,

Scouse Gamer 88

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