05th Jul2014

‘Blockstorm’ – Hands On Preview (PC)

by Paul Metcalf


Early Access on Steam is something that has really opened up innovation in consumer feedback.  As the games sold using this system are still in development, this means that feedback provided can be used to update the game based on what the gamers hope to get in the final product.  This then in theory leads to better games as the developers can also fix any issues that only true game testing can show up.  This model for development is useful with games like Blockstorm where the onus is on the player to create
their own levels and characters and in turn make the game truly theirs.

As you can probably guess with a name like Blockstorm there are going to be blocks involved.  As soon as you start to play you’ll also recognise the style of graphics; this is a Minecraft style game.  What Blockstorm does though is use the Minecraft model and first person shooter mechanics to it meaning the gamer builds the world to fight in, creates their own character avatars and makes an experience that is truly unique to the creator’s tastes and strengths.

When it comes to the actual battles there are three styles of match which are deathmatch, team deathmatch and assault.  These are classic styles that we all know by now and they work exactly how you would expect them to. Players are also given familiar weapons such as the rifle, revolver, knife and explosives and as with Minecraft you are given blocks and a shovel so that the battle world can be altered in real-time.  This leads to the ability to destroy the map and even rebuild it to potentially trap opponents in a section where they can easily be picked off.

On the more creative side editors are provided for both character avatars and game map so that the gamer can build their own world to fight in, and create their own character which will enter the battle.  With a little practice this means that your character doesn’t have to simply be a typical soldier type character but anything you want to create.  Imagine Homer Simpson or some movie character like Rambo in the game, potentially this is be possible.  The map editor should be familiar to anybody who has played Minecraft style games.  It’s intuitive though so that even people that haven’t played this style of game before can easily pick up how to build and how to destroy what they’ve created.  Given time worlds can be created
easily enough and impressively if enough creativity is put into it.  I find that the creative side of things can be more fun than the actual FPS side, but that’s just my personal taste.  It’s obvious that the main side of the game is to fight against your opponents.

As this is an Early Access game updates are still taking place within the game and this means that things will change as you play.  It’s easy to see though that the merging of the two gaming styles has created a game that is both fun and allows for some imaginative creation from the gamers.  The more people who buy the game and take time to learn the creative side of things will lead to some really interesting battlefields to fight upon, and this will be its strength.  The feeling that the gamer is given a free reign to create their own world in Blockstorm feels like something that could really take off, if it can catch the gamer’s imagination.

Blockstorm has potential to be a fun and the creative side really gives the gamer an edge when it comes to making the game their own.  With their own built worlds and unique characters it really is down to the gamer to make this game their own and use their imagination where it matters.  As with most Early Access Steam games the keyword with Blockstorm is “potential”, if it can build up a fan base I’m sure we’ll see some pretty impressive stuff coming from the game.

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