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Block N Load hands-on preview: Minecraft plus guns

Hayden Dingman | Nov. 21, 2014
There've been a lot of "Minecraft plus ___________" games over the years, as everyone tries to snag a piece of that massive DIY pie. Sony combined EverQuest with Minecraft to get Landmark. Terraria took the Minecraft formula and flattened it into two dimensions. Space Engineers turns you into an astronaut version of Bob the Builder. Eldritch smashed up voxels with H.P. Lovecraft. A few years back developer Jagex put out Ace of Spades, one of the first Minecraft-esque shooters. It was kind of a controversial disaster.

But that wasn't enough. Even though the prep period was over, I still had the ability to build whatever I wanted. I reinforced the brick wall until it was three bricks deep, threw three more turrets on it, and then constructed some turrets behind it for the occasional interloper. Then I placed some fire traps behind the initial entryway and built a second force-field behind — if anyone got through the initial force-field they'd get stuck on the second one while a dozen fire traps burned them alive.

And then, true to my name, I constructed two more turrets to fire into the force-field.

I'd built a dozen turrets, plus my horrific force-field trap, by the time the round was over. The other team put up a good fight on their end, but my Saw-like (or, since we're talking voxels, Cube-like) death labyrinth meant I only saw a handful of players in our base throughout the fight. I also had way more fun constructing said death labyrinth than I have with my typical multiplayer shooter nowadays — it felt great to have more to contribute than my reflexes, for once.

I don't know if Block N Load is going to be a smash hit. As I said, many have tried to make "Minecraft plus blank" games in the past, and this isn't even the first Minecraft-inspired shooter. Heck, Jagex itself already made a Minecraft-inspired shooter. This is their second go-round!

I had a blast with it though, and whether or not it has the sticking power of its inspiration I think it's well worth checking out. The beta launches in December, and you can sign up for that and snag more information about the game at the official website.


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