When you pitch a new idea, it’s generally a good idea to have it be comparable, in some way, to some old ideas. Old ideas mean familiarity, so even if someone has no idea what the heck you’re saying, they might pick up on something and think, “Hey, that sounds kinda cool and like it could make money.” Call it what you want: the elevator speech, the Reader’s Digest condensed version, the way normal human beings explain things in the English language, it doesn’t matter.
Point is, it works. If you asked me to sum up Block N Load in one sentence, I’d probably say, “Imagine if Minecraft and Team Fortress 2 had a baby,” and leave it at that. Some people might say that that’s reductionist, but it’s really not. In fact, it’s probably the most accurate description I could give you of the game, as everything in it, from the art style, the humor, the game mechanics, the menus, the individual textured cubes that you can break and build, and even the game’s font borrows from either Team Fortress 2 or Minecraft in some way.
"The premise of Block N Load is pretty simple. Like Team Fortress, the game is a class-based shooter with an emphasis on objectives scattered around the map. Teams consist of five players, who are tasked with destroying the Generator Cube that powers the other team’s base."
The premise of Block N Load is pretty simple. Like Team Fortress, the game is a class-based shooter with an emphasis on objectives scattered around the map. Teams consist of five players, who are tasked with destroying the Generator Cube that powers the other team’s base. The wrinkle, however, is that, like Minecraft, the game world is made up of many interconnected blocks that you can create and destroy. Each team is given five minutes at the beginning of each match to build defenses and modify the game world around and under their base. You can select five different blocks at the beginning of each match, each of which has a different effect, before the game starts, in addition to a sixth block that’s assigned to you based on your character class.
How you build is up to you. You wanna start digging a tunnel straight to the enemy base? Go for it. Maybe you’d rather make a pit to trap your enemies using blocks that break when stepped on. Or perhaps you’d rather spend your block spots on special items, like defensive turrets, radar dishes, or respawn points. The choice is yours, and they’re among the most important you’ll make in the game. Of course, you could choose not to do this, but the game puts an impenetrable curtain between the two bases while the teams make their respective preparations, so you really don’t have much choice. Indeed, half the fun comes from constructing your diabolical defenses and then sauntering over to the other team’s base to see what they’ve been up to once the curtain falls.
Once that happens, it’s chaos, as everyone splits off to attack the problem of the enemy Generator Cube alone or in small groups. Just like how you build your base, how you attack the objectives are up to you. Some players will inevitably stay back and play defense. Other people like to build a series of speed block followed by a jump block in an attempt to vault over the enemy’s walls, while folks like me like to try our luck digging, hoping to tunnel to the promised land. Pretty soon, the map is a ruined landscape of tragic experiments and grand plans gone wrong.
"There are six classes in all, and each fills the typical assault/defense/support roles that these kind of games thrive on, and while none of them do anything new, they are fairly fun to play, and Block N Load does has a good, if pretty crude, sense of humor."
Of course, the class you play as will have a pretty large impact on how you approach any situation. They’re all pretty standard fare, based on pretty standard archetypes. There’s Nigel Purdy-Longshott, a gentlemanly big game hunter who wields a long range, high powered rifle, Juan Shinobi, a Mexican ninja who eschews guns in order to excel at close range combat, and Cogwheel, a large, evil robot who acts as your tank. And is a large, evil robot. I don’t know if I mentioned that.
There are six classes in all, and each fills the typical assault/defense/support roles that these kind of games thrive on, and while none of them do anything new, they are fairly fun to play, and Block N Load does has a good, if pretty crude, sense of humor. Tony Turretto, the Italian foreman who is Block N Load’s equivalent of the Engineer, can place turrets, and repairs them by shooting sticky, white sploodge from his glue gun (yes, it’s entirely intentional, and yes, it’s referencing exactly what you think it is), and the game’s announcer often (loudly) asks, “What the Block are you gonna do?”
Yes, Block N Load is about as subtle as a sledgehammer, but the game is fun, derivative nature aside. That said, it does an incredibly poor job of teaching players how to play, and your first few matches will probably consist of little more than you trying to figure out how the heck everything works. This is exacerbated by the fact that you can’t currently change classes in-game (allegedly disabled because of a bug), which means you’re stuck with who you pick at the beginning of the game, even if you realize that you don’t like them about halfway through.
"Still, Block N Load is a lot of fun for those looking for a little more LEGO in their Team Fortress, or wish that Minecraft had more guns and quirky characters."
In addition, respawning takes far too long (up to 20 seconds), and the game’s matches aren’t timed, meaning you’re stuck in one until one team manages to pull off a win, which can take a long time, believe me. The game’s weapons also lack any sense of impact, and everything feels a little too much like the games Block N Load was “inspired by,” so the game never manages to shake that uncomfortable feeling of “been here, played that, and this is kind of stealing from it.”
Still, Block N Load is a lot of fun for those looking for a little more LEGO in their Team Fortress, or wish that Minecraft had more guns and quirky characters. It may not be original, and it definitely need s a few tweaks before it hits the big time, but if you’re looking to build and blast simultaneously, this is a shooter you’ll probably want to keep an eye on.