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Block N Load

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By NAG3LT02-03-2015
Block N Load

The Defence

Developer:
Jagex, Artplant
Publisher:
Jagex
Genre:
Action, Indie, Shooter, Strategy
Release Date:
01-04-2015

The Prosecution

CPU:
Intel Core i5 2.0 GHz
AMD equivalent
VGA:
Nvidia GeForce 760
AMD equivalent
RAM:
4 GB
HDD:
5 GB
DirectX:
11

The success of Minecraft has led to the development of many block-based games, including lots of shooters. One of those was Ace of Spades, which started as a project by a single developer, but was later picked up by a British game development studio and publisher Jagex. While the first attempt was far from successful, the developers seem to have learned from the failures as well. In short Block N Load is a combination of Minecraft and Team Fortress 2. It is a time to see how promising this latest attempt is.

Block N Load is a team based FPS with strictly 5 vs 5 battles on destructible arenas. The match only starts when there are 10 people available and never with less. The size of teams means that even the smallest numerical advantage can have a large effect. Unfortunately, having a random troll or a clueless player on your team has a similarly large adverse effect. Thus, you can have very good experience playing together with four friends, while playing with random people will be anywhere between awesome to miserable.

There is only a single game mode at the moment, where both teams try to destroy enemy energy cores one by one, while protecting their own. As there is no way to repair the cores, properly protecting them becomes a very important task. This task can get quite hard, as the terrain around the core can change dramatically during the battle.

This will be painful without very thick boots.

This will be painful without very thick boots.

At the start of the round, each team gets five minutes to prepare for the battle. An opaque barrier does not allow venturing far towards the enemy line as well as obscuring their actions. All classes have the ability to dig almost all blocks and can use the resources earned by digging to place their own blocks. A good team can change the landscape around their base a lot before the battle, so when the barrier disappears, attackers can expect many surprises. People can keep digging and building for the rest of the match, keeping things changing.

The choice between six classes and the blocks they can build adds additional variety to the game. ‘Sarge’ Stone is a soldier with machinegun, rocket launcher and grenades acting as a mobile centre of firepower. O.P. Juan Shinobi is a melee fighter, well suited for infiltration and surprise attacks. Nigel Purdey-Longshot is sniper. ‘Tony’ Turretto is an engineer, which can build turrets and repair other active devices. Cogwheel is a slower moving non-Russian robot with minigun and the ability to build its own artillery support. Finally, ‘Doc’ Eliza Doolally is a medic specialising in wide-area poisoning. Each of those classes has a unique building block variety available to them, as well as the ability to choose one of the 5 block types, which can be used for building during the match.

Putting large amount of lead into the metal monster.

Putting large amount of lead into the metal monster.

Block N Load is currently in Beta phase, with the full release planned for April 2015. The full game will have 10 different maps, which should play differently even with all demolition and building possibilities available. There will also be a ranked mode, which will track your successes and failures to calculate your skill level compared to other players. The classes will get a wider variety of different skins, which will be only cosmetic, with no impact on stats. Developers are also actively fixing technical bugs and balancing the gameplay based on feedback from beta.

Overall, Block N Load seems like an interesting and fun block world based FPS, judging by currently ongoing beta phase. It manages to combine both aspects pretty well, thus improving the replayability. The game experience with random people is not the best and may become deserted sooner, rather than later after the game release. However, there is a lot of fun to be had, playing it with friends for a long tim.

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