When did Minecraft look this good without any mods? Hold on. Is this a bootleg, as VoxRay Games spelled it as Voxlands? Ah… I get it – it’s a different game. You can tell by the immediate pistol wielding and the fact that the water effects look like you could take a wee in there, and it’d still look beautifully serene as it does here.

This write-up is unusual as it’s essentially a preview of a build that could change at any point, with this write-up being removed later…?! Available during the Steam Next Fest, it has the voxel pop of Minecraft meets Teardown, with less destruction and more of the lovely visuals. Looks aren’t everything, but it’s a nice start.

Then, one of the locals opens her trap. Though she has a nice accent, it’s clear she’s an AI or an unfortunate robotic hooman person. They set you a task: to go forth and blast some blobs. Sure, I’m game. However, when a rogue chick runs around, I am drawn to that. Until it explodes in pixelated blood, and the remorse drags me to the floor.

Voxlands Preview - Dungeon slimer
Dungeon slimer. Source: Screen capture

Fortunately, Voxlands is a welcoming place, and the death of another pixel chickie is no longer on my conscience. It’s time to jump in the water, y’know, for the fun of it. That’s your clue at what type of game this is at this early stage: freedom and making your own fun.

Our welcome party tells us of Ooze invading the lands and, after eradicating a handful of the blighters, tells you to fetch some Oorbs (intentional spelling) to open a portal and end your experience in the demo. To get three of these Oorbs, you must explore the island and do some quests.

While there’s a varying difficulty level, the Voxlands demo is just the tip, and it’ll take about 20 minutes to go through if you’re only after the main mission. Take a detour or two and do ALL the side quests, and you’ll find pirate ships, underground caverns, and a grumpy priest who isn’t too keen on newcomers.

Voxlands Preview - Been slimed
Been slimed. Source: Screen capture

At the beginning of the game, it’s recommended not to use a gamepad as it’s not set up correctly, but – forbidden fruit – it plays fine, albeit you might need the mouse for interacting with some of the dialogues, and it doesn’t have auto-aim. You really don’t need it. If the pistol or sniper rifle isn’t your thing, whack ’em with the sword.

Voxlands looks promising. I’m not a Minecraft guy, but this appeals to me with various quests, crafting and destruction. It’ll likely cater to a wide audience; just remember to turn the sound down for the voices. Everything else? Brill. 

Download the demo during the Steam Next Fest and give it a spin.