Some games want to see you lay waste to the world around you while others focus on building it up. Blockstorm attempts to blur the lines between the two, combining a first person shooter with Minecraft-style creation.
Currently in early access via Steam, Blockstorm from Ghostshark Games aims to offer more than your average FPS primarily with its suite of customisation tools and unpredictable multiplayer action. At its core Blockstorm is a somewhat basic shooter, allowing players to select a loadout and take on others in frantic combat. It’s not the twitch speed that Call of Duty players are used to, but sits more akin to the Battlefield franchise with slight weight to the weapons.
Speaking of weapons these following the usual FPS archetypes including sniper rifles, shotguns, machine gun, pistols, grenades and the ever popular RPG. While these don’t exactly offer anything too new it’s still incredibly satisfying to get a long distance kill or blast someone as they round the corner with a shotgun.
So far the game modes available are only online deathmatches, no single player to speak of. This could make games feel very repetitive however the fact that environments can be destroyed leads to far more varied matches than you’d expect. Unlike the explosive only destruction in the Battlefield titles even a normal pistol can remove precious cover. Add to this a shovel and blocks you can place and a surprisingly tactical affair that can twist and turn as the match progresses.
The sounds accompanying the game are pretty generic with the weapons sounding far less powerful than you’d hope. What’s even more noticeable is the lack of ambient sound in matches which often lends an eerie ambience when no shots are being fired nearby. The game does have one song that plays anytime outside of the game. As you can imagine this does get very monotonous.
Animations are primitive especially when it comes to reloading where your weapon simply disappears from screen before returning a few seconds later fully loaded. It doesn’t ruin the gameplay, and may be something rectified before full release, but it is a noticeable omission. The player movement is solid and there have been no slowdowns or stutters even when there’s plenty of action and explosions going on.
What Blockstorm truly excels at is the customisation not only for your character but also maps. Players can, if talented enough, use numerous blocks in the character creator to build your perfect avatar from scratch. The options are very satisfying and those who have the skills to create will love this. For the less skilled of us there is the option to use one of the many premade characters or download other peoples concoctions.
The creation aspect also filters down to the maps themselves which have a different editor but one that once again relies on blocks, the very literally foundation of the game. Although the tools given are logical and for the most part user friendly, building a masterpiece will still be very time consuming. This is especially true as at this stage there are very few premade items to help populate the world so pretty much everything is made from scratch. Once this gets in the hands of those inventive players there’s the potential for some serious fun arenas to be created and shared.
Despite the player numbers being somewhat low at the moment it certainly clicks when matches are full. It may not be the most polished game out there but it’s charming and, above all, fun to play. Providing the developers continue to collect feedback and make improvements then it has the potential to be quite the gem for those wanted to fill their thirst for voxel games.