It's hard not to have a game like Worlds Adrift set the imagination alight. Bossa Studios' foray into the world of massively multiplayer gaming stands out from the crowd with its user-built world of floating islands, delightfully swooshy grappling-hook physics and its entirely player-crafted sky-ships. Previously in closed beta, the game has moved to Steam's early access section and opened its doors to everyone with twenty quid, give or take. Just be warned that unless you Bring Your Own Buddies, you might be facing rougher conditions than just storms and fog.
When the original closed beta version of the game (accessible only to those who bought it direct from the developer's site) rolled out, Brendan set out with grappling hook in hand to see whether it was ship-shape. He found an exciting mix of gameplay elements held back by an oft-wonky physics engine that could snatch you clean off the deck of your ship, plus little to no warning when another player decides to send you to Davey Jones' sky-locker. It definitely doesn't seem like a game suited to solitary players.
Looking at the Steam user reviews for the game, it sounds like the physics have been tuned up (along with a great many other things, according to the open beta patch notes), but the piracy problem - as in the peg-legged, eyepatched kind - has only gotten worse, with it being a crapshoot whether you start out in PvP hell or not. While there are some hostile animals, fighting other players seems like the heart of the game, but perhaps a more team-focused format would have made a better first impression?
As with other PvP-centric MMOs, the key to success seems to be finding strength in numbers. Just a small handful of players can work wonders where one is easy pickings, but when that newcomer's first experience with other players is having their fragile, wobbly first ship shot out of the sky for nothing more than a cruel laugh, they're more likely to quit the game than keep seeking out friends.
Worlds Adrift is available now on Steam for £19.49/$25, minus a 10% launch discount, and can still be snagged direct from Bossa here. There's also some DLC which gives you a few distinct-looking pieces of gear that aren't available by any other means, although their value is mostly cosmetic.