So yesterday Jagex finally unveiled Block N Load to the world, a brand new multiplayer shooter with an intense crafting focus as well as explosive first person shooter action, it’s a game that seems to combine so many different elements from so many different games, that it’s insanely complex but at the same time super fun. n3rdabl3 was fortunate enough to be invited to London by Jagex to try out the game for ourselves and let me tell you, it’s fantastic.
Block N Load comes from a variety of different places, it has a comedic cartoony feel like that found in Team Fortress, and the environments are created entirely of destructible blocks like you’d find in games like Minecraft, Ace of Space, and Blockstorm, there’s also a slight MOBA element to the game, as well as much much more. It’s a hectic mashup of games which at first seems like a complete clusterfuck of different mechanics, but once you get your teeth into the game, it all comes together like a smooth, buttery cake mix.
So at its core, Block N Load offers two main types of gameplay, there’s the offensive gameplay where the First Person Shooter elements come into play, there’s also the defensive gameplay where the games crafting and mining mechanics come into play, it’s up to you to juggle the two play styles in order to succeed in Block N Load, and it’s this constant tug-of-war of gameplay styles that make it so no two games are the same, and in this game, that saying could never be truer.
We managed to get our hands on a very early alpha prototype of Block N Load which offered everything we’re to expect in the main game, but with a few kinks that need ironing out. Essentially games can be played as they would in a full release, but there’s still a few bugs that need squashing. So without further adieu, here’s what we thought about the game so far.
Block N Load is fantastic, there’s no question about that, and that’s a feeling that runs true through a number of n3rdabl3 staff who’ve also managed to get hands on with the game, a few of which really aren’t that into FPS games. But I think that’s what makes Block N Load so great, if you’re not a fan of first person shooters, there are other things that you can do which you might find more entertaining. So, diving into the game you begin by building up your defences.
At the start of each round you’re given a few minutes to build defences whether that’s creating traps, building turrets, or blockading your shield core or cube core from enemy attacks. Crafting in Block N Load isn’t as tedious as Minecraft for example, as it all relies on a simple block meter which the defences deplete depending on their worth, if you run out of blocks, just go digging. It’s simple. It doesn’t matter what blocks you dig up (though some are worth more than others) all blocks count towards your quota. You even earn blocks by defeating enemies and destroying their cores. Once your few minutes building time is up, you have a choice to make.
This choice is either to stick at your base and keep defences maintained, or to go full storm ahead and try and take down the enemies base. This choice I found heavily depended on your character choice. In Block N Load there’s a total of six characters each with their own unique abilities and blocks that they can place down during battle. There are more tougher tank-like characters, as well as more weaker ranged characters which can rain hell down on you from a distance, this is where I felt the MOBA influence comes in as not only does your character influence your games choice, the base-race-like gameplay also feels very MOBA-ish.
The six different characters found in Block N Load each offer three different classes. You’ve got the front line of attack tanks like Sergeant ‘Sarge’ Stone and Cogwheel the weapon obsessed robot who can both provide heavy fire while also placing spawn points so your team can get the step-ahead; the ranged characters in the form of Nigel Purdey-Longshott and O.P. ‘Juan’ Shinobi, with both characters offering a form of ranged attack as well as, in O.P.’s case, attacks from above as he has the ability to climb vertical surfaces; finally there’s the more specialist class in the form of Anthony ‘Tony’ Turretto, the Brickie and ‘Doc’ Eliza Doolally, the mad scientist. Turretto is the character you want to be if building is your thing, but if you’re a fan of bombs that leave behind a toxic smoke, then Doolally is definitely the character for you.
Now, most of the experiences found in Block N Load such as the insane amount of destruction that can be accomplished, or the ability to combine a speed block with a spring block to propel yourself literally from one side of the map to the other haven’t been added in for the fun of it, they’re actually there as a result of early alpha testing and instead of toning it down and nerfing it, they realised that this sort of thing was part of the fun and decided to leave it in allowing us to have more fun with the game.
Overall Block N Load has the potential to be an absolute hit. Understandably right now there are a few bits that need to be worked on both cosmetically and mechanically, but at its core Block N Load is fun as hell and is full of absolute mayhem. Sure, it’s not the first game to offer the freedom to do what you want in the game, but it does it really really well. Whether you’re a constructor or a fighter, either player doesn’t feel like the other is letting the team down by hanging around at the back, there’s a sense of team work to this game even if no communication is had. Once all of the kinks have been ironed out, and of course more players are involved, Block N Load could potentially be the next big multiplayer hit.