• 03Jan

    Let’s take a look at Blockmaster

    It’s not too often that we hear about someone creating a brand-new term to describe their game. It’s even less likely that a game creator attempts to redefine a term we hear used pretty regularly.

    So, when you hear someone talk about Blockmaster as an FPS – don’t worry. They don’t mean First-Person Shooter. Instead, Blockmaster, created by Raviok and published by game&game, is a “Top Perspective Shooter.” See? That’s a little different. And it has super-deformed anime characters, which you’re probably not going to find in your Halo or Call of Duty titles anytime soon. (Not unless there’s some mods that I really need to check out.)

    In Blockmaster, you choose to play as one of three clans: Big Boss, Cold Papa and Brr. (The last two sound rather chilly, if you ask me.) Inter-clan fighting happens through the World Map, and winning battles allows you to lease land, which in turn lets you build. It’s like a much more violent game of Monopoly, if you think about it. The clan with the most land also earns some special buffs and bonuses.

    The game is mostly PvP, which means that you’ll be playing against other players instead of the computer, so your every move really counts – you won’t be trying to outsmart the AI here, though there are a few instances of PvE combat that add special bosses to the mix. Not only does this add a new opponent, but you can turn these enemies into allies and use them as “guardians.”

    The PvP combat is especially intriguing, because it allows for 12-player teams to be formed, which well exceeds what you might normally think of as possible in a game with PC requirements this low. (More on that later.) You and your team can choose from a number of offensive strategies to earn items together, and defeating your enemies allows you to level up skills, which you have to manage very carefully, given that you have a relatively low number of slots for your skills to fit.

    These skills range from the basic, like punching, shooting a ball or blocking, to special “option skills” that allow you to strengthen other skills or add new ones entirely. As your skills level, however, they take up more of your space. So, you have to make a choice – make something better, or add another ability? It’s usually a difficult one to make.

    Maybe it all sounds like something you’ve played before. But to me, the game’s top-down perspective turns something fairly familiar into a new, enjoyable experience. And it doesn’t seem like it’s about to stop:

    Blockmaster‘s developers are continually at work, trying to improve the game for audiences around the world. Despite only officially launching in November, the game is already undergoing minor redesigns as a result of user feedback, which seems fairly rare for a casual title. Raviok, with its minimal staff, is actually paying attention. Which is pretty nice.

    Blockmaster doesn’t ask too much of your computer, either. While you will have to be on a Windows PC, even a machine that isn’t the top-of-the-line can play. The game client requires only about 150 megabytes of space, and the information comes in relatively small packets, making it a lot easier on people with an Internet connection that is a little bit lacking as well as those who have a monthly bandwidth limit (like a lot of people outside the United States). Heck, if you’re still running Windows 98 – and I know there have to be a few of you out there – Blockmaster doesn’t judge. As long as you’ve got 256 MB of RAM, a gigabyte of space on your hard drive and other computer parts (such as your graphics card and processor) manufactured sometime after 2002, you’re good. Not hard, right?

    So give this game a shot if you’re looking for action that angles toward the action side. For screenshots and more, visit the official (English) Blockmaster page. Here’s a video where you can see the game in action, all explained by Raviok CEO Gwang-non Nam.

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