First person shooters are a dime a dozen these days and Minecraft has spawned its fair share of imitators. There have even been a few titles that combine the two genres, but Blockstorm is definitely the first time that the combination has been pulled off this well.
Blockstorm is a multi-player first person shooter, which thanks to its voxel based visuals bears more than a passing resemblance to Minecraft. Thankfully, the focus is very much on the actual shooting and isn’t overshadowed by the fact that you can build or destroy blocks. As this is an Early Access title the amount of players online had me worried, but as soon as I was able to jump into a match the game won me over.
Blockstorm features no leveling up, unlockable perks or anything that detracts from the plain old school style first person shooting. Of course, this might all change in the future depending on player feedback, but for now I really enjoyed playing straightforward Team Deathmatches (the game also features Deathmatch and Assault game modes.) Before each match you get to pick your loadout from a selection of primary and secondary weapons as well as explosives, but pick carefully as the combined weight of your equipment will affect your movement speed. You also get a shovel for removing blocks and your own unlimited supply of blocks to build with. These two tools add a lot of fun to matches as you can dig trenches, tunnel through or under defenses and build your own cover if you wish. The blocks you build are the same color as your team color in Assault and Team Deathmatch modes which is a cool touch.
The pace of the game is a bit slower than other first person shooters on the market, but this doesn’t detract much from the experience. I really like the fact that the game has gravity, so if you shoot out the supports from structures they will collapse and you’ll never see blocks just hovering in the air like in Minecraft. There are a few maps to play on with interesting settings like the Middle East, an abandoned city, harbor and even a metro, but if these are not to your liking you can build your own with the easy to use level editor that is included. The game also includes a character editor, which allows you to fully design your own character, instead of just painting on a new face or textures like in other games.
Blockstorm really surprised me by how well it plays even in this Early Access phase and hopefully the player base will expand as the game garners more publicity. There is no single player mode or bots to practice against, so this game really needs to draw in more players to stay alive. Despite still being in Early Access the game is already a ton of fun and every time I planned on playing a quick match I found myself staying for much longer than what I planned. About the only thing that I noticed giving away the Early Access status of the game is the lack of music during matches.
The developers of Blockstorm are quite open to player feedback and clearly care about the future of the game, so there is no reason to fear that they will abandon the project. Hopefully the player base will continue to grow as Blockstorm is definitely one of the most entertaining online shooters that I have played recently and it really deserves some more publicity.