The worlds created are the engine are things of simple beauty. Obviously inspired by Minecraft in appearance they have a smoother, more pleasing appearance, and are full of life and bright colours. They really are worlds that are fun to explore. The fact that you can climb vertical surfaces encourages you to try and reach the tops of the highest peaks in order to see what lies beyond, and once you get a hang-glider it is impossible to resist climbing as high as you can in order to jump off.
Character creation, like most of the game is very simple. There are plenty of races to choose from (lizardman or undead for example, as well as the usual fantasy races), and four character classes, each of which has two specialisations.
Mechanics are also very simple. You can collect and harvest items in order to make items, trade with NPCs, rest at campfires, explore dungeons (most dungeons and fortifications offer you a simple quest to kill the dungeon boss when you get close), gain loot, make better equipment, find pets, fight huge landscape-destroying boss monsters, and explore by running, climbing, swimming, diving, sailing and hang-gliding.
Combat is "action" based, meaning you have to aim and can dodge attacks. There doesn't appear to be any normal kind of progression - you can find really difficult mobs right next to really easy ones, so it always pays to keep your wits about you as you explore. There are also plenty of non-aggressive animals around, and any of these can be tamed using their favourite food and become a pet. Pets can be used in combat, or may offer other benefits, such as mounts.
As well as enemies and animals you will occasionally come across parties of NPC adventurers. It's fun just following them round and using them to explore the land. There are also the usual taverns, shops and villages to explore as well.
The worlds have day/night cycles and running round with my flashlight out reminded me a lot of running round Everquest back in the day. It can be really hard to see past the beams of the light, making exploring at night even more hazardous.
I should take a brief moment to mention the in-game map, which is a thing of true beauty as well as being practical and highlighting the locations of prominent landmarks and dungeons.
Unlike Minecraft there is no focus on building and mining (you can mine for ore, but not change the landscape other than with the planned housing feature). Rather you are given an infinite sandbox to play in, and that's pretty much it. You can host a server yourself or join one of many public servers out there and play with up to 3 friends (the final number of players to be supported by the servers has not yet been decided).
Cube World is easy to pick up and I found myself getting sucked in by it's incredibly simple gameplay. It's the kind of game you can have fun for hours but not actually do very much. There are plenty of things missing right now, and some interesting sounding features on the way. If you fancy giving it a go it has just entered paid alpha (and it is definitely in an alpha state, though remarkably stable). When it reaches beta the price will go up, so I would say it's worth taking a punt on if it sounds like your kind of thing.
Head on over to the official website to find out more, or check out my screenshots or the videos I've embedded below.