StaudSoft's Synthetic World is an open-world game of exploration, creation, and survival based around voxel graphics. It plays as a first-person game where your task is to explore the peculiar world around you and survive, managing the abundant natural resources the place provides. As it is usual in open-world games, in Synthetic World there isn't a specific objective or even a narrative to follow; instead the game prompts you to get the most of all that nature has to offer as you learn to create any element you need: weapons, tools, construction items, you name it. As you progress and acquire more sophisticated building techniques, you will be able to modify the environment in any way you want, and even build yourself a house.
The game starts with the creation of a new world, which consists in defining certain parameters like the world name, dimension, and seed. Once the world is created, you can start roaming around and exploring as you please. The adventure starts in a safe zone, an area of around 120 kilometers that is free of dangers, that is, monsters that can attack you. Your backpack is equipped with a set of basic elements: an axe, a pickaxe, and an earth tool, which will help you extract raw material. The axe can be used to extract wood from different types of trees. Using the pickaxe, you can remove materials like stone, granite, and coal, and you can use the earth tool obtain sand, dirt, and even plants. All the raw material collected is stored in your inventory, where you can craft and combine the different elements to create new ones: planks, blocks, furniture, shapes, and lots of useful objects.
One of the first items you'll need to manufacture is a stick, which will help you fight monsters and other hostile creatures you'll come across if you go beyond the safe area. For that, you need to have a certain amount of wood in your inventory. As the first night starts to fall, you will see that another essential element in the world is light, and creating a torch requires a certain quantity of planks and coal. There are myriad of other items that you can craft and construct, from a small shelter with a bed to sleep at night, to a house of the size and material that you want. You will also be able to grow plants any where you want. The possibilities are endless and the game gives you enough freedom and resources to materialize your ideas. As the game progresses, you will obtain learning points that you can invest into new abilities and advanced building capabilities, which will allow you to create more sophisticated items, for example, wires for electricity with a 3D printer.
There’s absolutely no in-game tutorials or hint system that indicates what your next action should be, so Synthetic World is a completely intuitive experience. The game area is extensive, which added to the lack of directions guarantees lots of wandering around and backtracking. Getting lost is also quite probable.
As far as controls are concerned, Synthetic World can be played with both mouse and keyboard, using the arrows or WASD keys to move around, the space bar to jump, the 1-9 keys to switch tools, and the mouse to have a 360° view of the place. The tab key brings up the inventory, and also shows other options such as the map, and stats about the player; like health, learning points, agility, level, and more. Overall, they are easy to get used to. As regards the visual aspect, Synthetic World certainly does not standout for its graphics, which look rather primitive and sometimes awkward, specially if you compare them with today games.
In short, Synthetic World is an open-world game that focuses on experiencing and exploring the world, giving you freedom of action. It is a game with a lot of potential, based on great ideas, and it is evident that its developers are putting a lot of work into it. The possibility it gives you to discover the world, interact with the environment, and build what you need makes for an enjoyable experience.