First Impressions| Alchemist’s Awakening

Grab Minecraft, throw in some realistic textures, make the blocks smaller, add a dash of magic and you have Alchemist’s Awakening.
Aww look, it's your companion, once again stuck in a tree. I'll just mine it with my magic and save it.
Aww look, it’s your companion, once again stuck in a tree. I’ll just mine it with my magic and save it.

Alchemist’s Awakening is currently in Early Access and sadly, it does show. Normally I expect Early Access games to at least have some form of gameplay feature finished but this seems unfinished in the majority of areas so far. Although that’s not so much of a bad thing, it’s a nice stage to jump into the growing development.

I have only tried the Single player feature of the game and it does show promise. Although, when you start the game, don’t do what I did and run away from the lion for roughly fifteen minutes because it’s actually your companion. When I realised this, I quite liked the idea, it felt nice having something by my side to make not only the exploration less lonely, but also the battles easier. The only trouble with having the companion is sometimes it’s not always there. Many times I found myself being attacked by wolves or cloaked demon monsters only to find my companion had gotten itself stuck inside a tree or beached on some rocks.

The gameplay still focuses on gathering materials from sources, but rather than smacking a tree, you use a blue beam of light which brings up the progress bar for successfully gathering that material. There’s health bars for both yourself and the enemies, and there’s a stamina bar, which as far as I can tell, also acts as a Mana bar also. There seems to be bars for everything, everything except breathing when underwater, which I found rather odd. An overlooked feature perhaps?

The fact you can battle with magic makes it less about close combat and more about gathering supplies for your benefit

The crafting menu is different to most games of the same genre.
The crafting menu is different to most games of the same genre.

In games that offer a crafting system, you’re going to expect it to be a feature that’s well catered to the type of game you’re playing. Minecraft (PC) requires specific layouts of materials to craft, Stellar Overload features a simple choose-n’-click system, Alchemist’s Awakening seems to combine a crafting system with a magic system…which appeared confusing for me.

 

On the left you’ve got your spells and different types of materials, in the middle you’ve got what you can potentially craft – it tells you what materials you need to create items – and on the right is your inventory. I’m not sure if mine didn’t work, but no matter what I picked up, my inventory stayed empty. I picked up a red looking stone, it didn’t show up in my inventory, same with grass. It possibly needs more explaining, but it does look like a simple system that may be easily picked up once a tutorial system comes into play.

The world is explorable, the seas are swimable...it just looks a bit flat.
The world is explorable, the seas are swimable…it just looks a bit flat.

The graphics are nice to look at, but would really look magnificent with some decent shading to really make the game stand out. Currently it looks rather bland and flat which isn’t good eye candy when you’re running around a huge enviroment.

If you’re one for decent animations then this game isn’t one you’d be particularly happy with. At present, the AI have slow, exhausted-like movements, it’s like watching everything with a minor slow motion feature applied. Not only that, but when you die, the camera jumps to third person and you watch as your ragdoll self flails to the floor, however when any AI characters die, they freeze in a pose of some form. I’m sure ragdoll features will be added to all at some point, but right now it’s lacking that beautiful ragdoll element that we all like seeing.

The graphics are nice to look at, but would really look magnificent with some decent shading to really make the game stand out.

Time to swim with the fish...wait...sharks...still unsure if they actually kill you yet.
Time to swim with the fish…wait…sharks…still unsure if they actually kill you yet.

The whole introduction to magic is wonderful, the fact you can battle with magic makes it less about close combat and more about gathering supplies for your benefit. You can create fireballs, cast wind spells, and even bring human shaped creations to life, a rather interesting feature to the game. You can also make machines, so rather interestingly, you can be lazy and let your creations gather your materials for you.

 

Trouble is, with the building, is that because most games have some form of “guide” to follow when placing your materials, it’s easier to build, but with Alchemist’s Awakening there’s no guide except the ghost of the material you’re intending on placing. This makes it more, I’m going to say, “advanced”, only due to how precisely you can place things.

I spent my time enjoying the sky that I didn't notice a wolf coming for my gonads.
I spent my time enjoying the sky that I didn’t notice a wolf coming for my gonads.

I do like Alchemist’s Awakening, it’s a promising game with a lot of options embedded inside it. Currently it appears to be quite unfinished, but that’s to be expected from an Early Access game,

However I’d have expected it to look a little bit more finished than it currently looks. The music is composed wonderfully, and when I do try out the multiplayer mode I’ll write something up on that! The skin creator for multiplayer is very hands on and allows you to create your avatar in real time, but more on that in the multiplayer write up. I look forward to seeing what more comes out of this game.

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