Published on January 18th, 2016 | by John Rairdin0
Discovery Review (Wii U)
There are a few Minecraft clones on Wii U. To the best of my knowledge I’ve reviewed all of them. I had hoped (foolishly perhaps) that with the arrival of Minecraft itself onto Nintendo’s console we’d stop seeing new clones. After all, the market is now gone. If you want to play a Minecraft style game on Wii U why not just play Minecraft on Wii U? Who would buy the knock off when the real thing is readily available?
With that being said, here’s my review of Discovery, a Minecraft clone for Wii U.
I’ll spare you my description of the basics of Minecraft style games. If you’re curious, I’ve covered it multiple times in the past. Suffice it to say that Discovery plays exactly how you’d expect it to. You destroy and place blocks in order to have fun. Unfortunately for Discovery, when compared to other Minecraft style games on the eShop (such as Minecraft), it comes off as somewhat lacking. Discovery is limited to only a creative mode, making it feel as if it lacks the full experience.
This single mode doesn’t even feel particularly optimized for the Wii U. Any time you destroy or place a block you experience a solid second or two of lag before any change in the world actually occurs. At times this could last for as long as three or four seconds. This often caused me to press the button multiple times, thinking that the game had perhaps not registered the input the first time. When the game finally caught up it would suddenly place the two or three extra blocks I had placed while waiting for the first to appear. This makes it very difficult to construct anything at a reasonable pace, and dissuades the player from embarking on any large projects.
On the positive side, the game does feature local, two player, multiplayer in which on player uses the Gamepad and the other plays on the TV. While each player suffers from the same lag issue present on single player, having a second player does help speed up construction. When playing on single player, the Gamepad screen displays a top down view of the area, acting as a real time map for the player. While I personally would prefer to use the touch screen for inventory management, the map is well executed. Perhaps Discovery’s greatest achievement is the size of its world. Other Wii U Minecraft style games (besides Minecraft) have featured small, limited worlds. Discovery’s world is vast and without borders.
While the frame rate leaves a lot to be desired, the overall presentation of Discovery is very nice. As time passes the sun casts real time shadows across the world. Light rays weave through trees and the setting sun is accompanied by some lovely bloom effects that add a lot to the atmosphere of the game. My only issue with the game visually is one I’ve had with some other Minecraft clones as well. Despite occupying a voxel world, the animals and player character are all round and comparatively realistic. The art isn’t consistent. It speaks to the fact that the designer of the game is copying something he’s seen before rather than actually understanding what it is that makes Minecraft’s graphical style interesting.
I think my wife said it best when she commented “This music sounds more like Game of Thrones than Minecraft.” The music is ridiculously heavy handed, almost to the point of being comical. This isn’t to say that the compositions themselves are bad, they’re quite nice actually, but they don’t fit the tone of the game. The game also seemed to feature only two or three songs. Perhaps whatever qualifiers the game uses for choosing songs just kept playing the same song, but regardless I got tired of it very fast.
Had Discovery been among the first Minecraft clones to arrive on Wii U, it might have done quite well. As it stands now, it arrived into a crowded genre, and a few weeks too late to be relevant. Its co-op and limitless worlds might have shined, but as it is now the only thing that stands out against Minecraft is Discovery’s technical issues.
Review copy provided by Noowanda
Summary: Discovery's limited gameplay and technical issues keep it from standing out from the crowd. It looks very nice and has decent multiplayer but its hard to justify buying this over Minecraft.