Book of Travels is described by developer Might and Delight as a “tiny multiplayer online RPG.” That means there is an emphasis on the lone—or single player—experience in a world with potential, but sparse, interaction with other players. It’s not exactly a completely unique concept, but coupled with Book of Travel’s beautiful hand painted aesthetic and 2.5D side-scrolling gameplay, it promises to be something unique—and it’s already incredibly intriguing.
Contemplative exploration is the point of Book of Travels. You load up your pack and head out on an adventure of your making. You have a choice between different characters classes, called “Forms”, that are based on personality types instead of stats. The world is promised to be large, and is already incredibly beautiful. If you encounter another player, you can only communicate via symbols—and your “vocabulary” is limited to whatever you’ve already experienced or seen—the more you do, the more symbols are available to you to express your ideas.
While Book of Travels is focused on travel and exploration, there is combat—and there is also permadeath. You only have a finite number of “life petals” and if you lose them all, you lose that character. But with the risk of permadeath comes the promise of secrets that will be revealed to players who dig deep into the game’s secrets. This is the most exciting prospect for me, and the one that will make me dive into Book of Travels in the future.
Despite its potential—and my excitement–my initial travels have been rough going. Book of Travels promises not to hold your hand, and it definitely fulfills that promise. But even as someone who is eager to explore its world, I keep running into road blocks. Sometimes I’ll come across a quest that doesn’t work for me, and I wonder if it’s because I’m not fulfilling a specific condition, or the quest is just broken.
Book of Travels is available now in Steam Early Access, and that means it’s still under active development. During its Early Access phase, Book of Travels will be in its “Chapter Zero” phase—which will continue for about two years of development. The full version is planned to be more stable and have more content. If you want to get in at the game’s lower price, now is the time to do it, since developer Might and Delight plan on raising the price once it leaves Early Access. But Book of Travels just isn’t in a fun state yet, and with the amount of road blocks I’ve I recommend waiting until it’s in a more polished state before committing, unless you can’t help yourself.
I can definitely see the vision Might and Delight have for Book of Travels, and I’m excited for its potential—but I’ll probably hang up my pack until a few more updates come for Early Access. If you’re an eager explorer, you might enjoy Book of Travels in its current state, but I’d recommend you wait for a few more updates before you jump in.
A Steam key was provided to us for this preview.