Blockland Review

Blockland Featured

Blockland Logo

Developer: Eric Hartman, Ben Garney
Publisher: Blockland LLC
Platform: PC – Amazon, Direct, Steam

Blockland is a game with a long history. Yet, many never even knew it existed until the recent Steam launch! The game first got up and running in 2004 when it was freeware. Around 2006, the developers received a call from Lego, but nothing ever came of it. In 2013, the finished game has finally graced Steam and to many it is being treated as a completely new title. No, it’s not a Minecraft or any other craft clone. For one, it came out long before it, and is quite a different experience regardless.

So what can you do in Blockland? A whole lot of stuff, as it turns out. The game is a tremendous sandbox that grants you a huge amount of blocks that can be used to build things. The blocks look a ton like Lego parts, which means if you’ve ever played with Legos you can grasp how building works here. Well, sort of. The controls for building are fairly difficult to wrap your head around at the start. Eventually, you learn about features such as Super Shift and other ways to expedite building, but until then it is a fairly painful experience. The included tutorial doesn’t explore advanced concepts at all, unfortunately.

Blockland Featured

I learned a fair amount by simply joining a newbie-specific server. The place was full of new players and had someone around to answer all sorts of questions. They also were willing to demonstrate, which was incredibly helpful. Building is just one aspect of the experience, though the wide variety of blocks leaves room for impressive structures.

Players can completely ignore building and instead play a variety of minigames. There are a handful to start with, such as racing, death match, and platforming. There is no offline mode though. You head to a specific server (such as kart racing) and join up with other players there. Unlike a lot of Steam indie multiplayer releases, Blockland has a lot of players online at once (200+), so you rarely have to fear being stuck alone. Many more gametypes are available, but require external add-ons.

Blockland Screenshot

The biggest hurdle with getting new players into this game will likely verge on add-ons. As there is no Steam Workshop support right now, it requires players to go to the official forums and download new stuff (minigames, maps, etc). They can utilize other outside programs such as Return to Blockland to streamline the process but many Steam users don’t wish to do extra work with any of their games.

There is no game in my mind that currently allows for the level of craftsmanship in building as Blockland does right now, thanks to its many block types. However, it isn’t acclimated toward beginner use. The community itself can be very helpful (as in the newbie server) or crass. Since you’ll spend most of your time with them, this is important. Thankfully you can turn off chat. Blockland is one unique multiplayer-focused experience that deserves more credit than Steam users are giving it.

Score: 3

3 out of 5 alpacas

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