Welcome to The Indie Fix, where we delve into the exciting world of indie gaming to have a gander at promising works in progress, weird and wonderful freeware offerings, or recently published games that may have slipped under your radar!
Gracing your screens this week is Blockships, a couch co-op party arcade shooter which is currently available on Steam Early Access for £4.99. The game first appeared on my radar at this year’s MCM Comic Con in London. Whilst walking around the Machinima SBOC booth I heard the cries of developer Dave Cooper booming from a nearby microphone. Not unlike a crazed street preacher he immediately drew the attention of not only myself but a crowd of passers by. “Blockships is the illegitimate lovechild of Space Invaders and Tetris!” he exclaimed passionately. I had to check it out.
Turns out this description is fitting as hell and perhaps even guilty of underselling the experience. The core concept of Blockships is simple, you and three friends battle against eachother by picking up weapons, energy and movement upgrades along the way. The way in which this plays out however, is so much more fun. Each upgrade takes the from of a coloured block which must be fixed to your ship to build the biggest and baddest one necessary to blow your opponents away. This simple yet versatile mechanic makes for an incredibly addictive experience, proving once again that gameplay is king.
There’s a delicate balance between ship size, firepower, speed and energy which underpins the experience, causing players to react on the fly and change tactics constantly. Blockships is the definition of a dynamic gameplay experience.
Blockships‘ first and only concern is player enjoyment. The ability to detach the last block collected adds a layer of strategy by making your ship lighter and therefore faster, and can be used to escape in a pinch. Over the weekend I witnessed a diverse offering of players take on Blockships and was struck by how immediately accessible it seemed to be and how much fun the players seemed to be having.
Playing against the developer himself I quickly learnt some tips and tricks needed to master the game. It was refreshing to see regular players keeping up with the developer and clearly proved how deceptively deep the game is. All of this plays out to a great chiptune soundtrack and visuals bursting with 80’s charm.
Praise for Blockships has come thick and fast since it’s conception. Accolaides include Best Gameplay Mechanic Gamesight Award 2016, Best Game Runner Up CEGC 2016, voted 6th most popular at EGX Rezzed 2017 and featured as part of PAX 10 along with many more.
Be sure to check out Blockships on Steam, check out the trailer below and come back next week for another dive into the exciting world of Indie Gaming.