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    Block ‘N’ Load: Minecraft meets Team Fortress

    Imagine Minecraft meets Team Fortress’ we imagine that’s the elevator pitch someone must have made at Jagex shortly before Block ‘N’ Load begun development. Because that’s exactly what the alpha feels like a combination of block based construction and destruction tied in with some fast paced, class based action.Block ‘N’ Load wants to fundamentally change the landscape (pardon the pun) of the modern FPS, mixing up the standard ‘Spawn, shoot, kill, die’ rhythm in favour of something a little more… creative.

    It's amazing this idea hasn't been thought of before, really, it’s so obvious. At the start of each 5v5 match, you have the option to choose from a range of redetermined classes, each with their own speciality there’s a ninja whose traps inflict the highest damage but appears to be something of a glass cannon, there’s an engineer who can erect turrets, a medical character with an array of needles and the ability to throw down healing blocks… The key to success in any Block ‘N’ Load game is cohesion and communication, there’s no point in everyone being the powerful robot character because then who will be healing? In that respect, it’s like Team Fortress.

    But from then on it moves into Minecraft territory at the start of each round, you begin a ‘Build Phase’ where you can either entrench your troops in the grid like battlefield (complete with its own stratus levels) or buildup putting down sturdy metal blocks to defend your base from attack. But it’s not all about defence in this mode, either: you can think tactically ahead laying down jump pads (handy for the Ninja, who can glue to walls and run vertically when they land), nests (which let you respawn) or turrets behind walls, so you can knock down one block and create a bottle-neck right off the starting gun.
    “Teams will need a good strategy and agile tactics to destroy the opposition’s generator cubes in sequence, before finally taking down their base cube core”
    We’ve had the game in the office for about a week already, and we can safely say no two games play out the same way even if you deploy with the same characters on each team, time after time. The game manages to meld its lo-fi art style with a fast paced and yet somehow incredibly strategic game, a marriage that feels unnatural, uncomfortable and yet… ostensibly playable.

    There’s been no solid console announcement made for Block ‘N’ Load yet, which is shame it would suit a pad and console gameplay down to the ground, and perhaps be a suitable vessel for younger gamers to cut their teeth on with first person shooters after playing only Minecraft (a more suitable lesson than the ‘18+’ alternatives, at least).Block ‘N’ Load seems to be what the Red Faction games wanted to be the ultimate destructible environment laced with pure danger but was perhaps too ambitious to achieve. Jagex doesn't have that problem it knows the dialled down retro stylings of Minecraft is in right now, and seems to have made a game that aims to capitalise on that firmly in its sights. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

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