Minecraft, but with lots of guns and explosions.
Played out in a fully destructible Minecraft-esque world of blocky voxel environments and characters, Blockstorm is a new First Person Shooter from GhostShark Games. Although it’s still only Early Release and very much in its infant stages, this doesn’t mean the game is unplayable in its present form, though. Indeed, there’s a lot going in this odd, yet entertaining take on the world opened up by Minecraft – and the groundwork has been done to allow a lot more content to flood the available servers in due course.
For the time being there are three games type available: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Assault. Each match is played out over a five minute session, by default, and when starting a game you have a wide range of differently designed characters to choose from. You can play either as a Spetsnaz, desert solider, sniper, chef, robot, mercenary, and even something resembling Lon Chaney Jr.’s Wolfman. Needless to say there are rather a lot of options, and through the use of the editor functions you also have the opportunity to include your own personally designed character.
The weapons at your disposal range from a single shot rifle to the more destructive machine gun. Alongside the primary weapon you can include a secondary lesser powered gun, an area effect weapon such as grenades or C4, a shovel to dig out the landscape, a block with which to build the landscape and a knife for some close quarters combat.
While Blockstorm is at heart a simple shooter, there are some interesting elements that make it a little more compelling that the usual run of the mill FPS. For starters the environment is, as we previously mentioned, totally destructible. This, naturally, leads to some clever use of traps to lure an unsuspecting opponent into. Destroying the seemingly solid ground from under their feet is suitably satisfying, as is carefully picking off the supports for a large structure and watching it collapse on top of a group who are bunkered behind well-kept defences.
The same can be done to you, of course, but there’s the opportunity to further build the environment to give you a better view of the game world and for others to take you out if you stick your head up for too long.
The in-game editor function will allow you to construct an entire world, a la Minecraft style, which can then be used to play on. Unfortunately the editor does appear to be a little clunky in places at present, at the time of writing at least. The foundations are there for the more imaginative among you to delve into and to create some pretty elaborate arenas and sets to battle it out on, though.
This is an evolving game, and one that the developers are keen for the public to get behind and contribute to in order to make it better. Of course this is half the battle, and there’s a lot that could potentially go wrong here. This is an ambitious but fun project, its merits lie in its simplicity and community feel, although there is a way to go yet.
The Minecraft graphical system may not appeal to everyone, but to those who want a little more from building blocks and crafting, Blockstorm offers something in the style of an easy to use FPS. There are enough elements here to keep most gamers amused and entertained for a limited period, as much as one can expect from an arena style shooter, at any rate.
A fun and entertaining first-person shooter.