Block N Load
Block N Load is a 5v5 arena FPS where players fortify their base with an array of blocks while working to destroy their opponents' base. Build creatively, use blocks tactically, and choose from a wide range of distinct characters to work together and win the match.
|Publisher: Toadman Interactive
Type: Strategy FPS
Release Date: April 30, 2015
Pros: +Loads of Heroes. +Distinct mix of block building and FPS gameplay. +Customizable heroes through perks.
Cons: -MOBA style Hero rotation. -Poor matchmaking. -Intimidating gameplay.
Block N Load Overview
Block N Load is a strategic FPS that pits players against each other in 5v5 matches on a block-based map. The first team to destroy the opposing team's base wins the match. Choose from a wide variety of heroes with their own abilities that specialize in offensive or defensive gameplay. Equipped with weapons and blocks players have to tactically approach the match to win. Each game starts with a building phase, where players fortify their base using blocks and set traps to ensnare players—laying down bombs, turrets, and mines. Or lay down helpful blocks to navigate the map, such as bounce pads and speed pads. Assault the opposing team by charging forward or sneakily digging under the enemy's base. Customize your hero by equipping them with perks, to enhance their stats or change their play style and keep other players on their toes. Matches are intense and fast-paced, and tactical teamwork is the only way to ensure victory.
Block N Load Key Features:
- Multiple Heroes - choose from a multitude of heroes such as a sneaky ninja or a big game hunter specializing in ranged combat.
- Tactical Battles - fortify your base with an array of block-traps, bounce blocks, mortars and more.
- Fierce FPS Gameplay - line up enemy players in your cross-hairs, trap them with explosives, or nr personal with melee weapons in brutal combat.
- Perk Customization - earn in-game gold by playing and spend it on perks to distinguish your hero's attributes.
- Destructible Environment - maps are constructed from blocks that can be destroyed, modified, or extended.
Block N Load Screenshots
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Block N Load Review
By, Sean Sullivan
Block N Load has been perfectly encapsulated by savvier reviewers than I, anointing it “Team Fortress 2 marries Minecraft.” Nothing could be closer to the truth. It’s a zany FPS that heavily emphasizes cooperative play and tactics to win. Players need to know the game’s mechanics, their hero's abilities, and the map to destroy the enemy’s base while defending their own. While my first impression was that Block N Load’s mechanics are too overwhelming, I’ve realized that Block N Load is an endlessly charming title that emphasizes fun. Self-aware one-liners from your hero and the cartoonish aesthetic culminate in an original free to play title you should already have played.
Thank You For Matchmaking
Thankfully, Block N Load includes a server browser—in case matchmaking fails to find you a suitable pairing. The developers are a sensible bunch; we’re off to a good start. But I’m a gambling man and rolled the dice with Block N Load’s matchmaking systems. Once matched a “If you leave the match early you will be penalized” prompt must be accepted before joining. It’s a message I applaud, like a Terms of Service agreement hastily agreed to before every match. You better be committed to the game because it rests on teamplay. And if you Alt + F4 you’re prevented from rejoining a game for a period of time. It circumvents the need for calling bots to replace players such as in Rocket League, and prevents short-stacked teams such as in League of Legends. More team-focused games need a similar ToS.
Not Just Base Destruction
At its most basic foundation Block N Load is simple—destroy the enemy’s base. And “base” refers to a luminescent sci-fi cube situated in the center of each team’s starting zone. Matches begin with a building phase where each team is given time to place blocks and build defenses. Tactically placed bricks, traps, and barricades all need to be erected to prevent the enemy from destroying your cube. And players take it upon themselves to lay brick-blocks and sandbags around the cube to stifle the opposition. While turrets provide a passive defense and radar alerts you to infiltrating forces.
Nearly every block in the game is destructible, so enemies can pop in from underneath your feet, and they will. No portion of your base is safe, and replacing destroyed blocks is paramount to ensuring the Tunnel Rats don’t gain unlimited access. And carving out a chunk of blocks can be used to surreptitiously place radars and spawn points. Then build your own labyrinth underneath the enemy’s base, placing traps and spawn points before destroying the opposition.
Running in blind is not recommended. The game is daunting when you have no idea what’s going on. I watched a zealous teammate set to work right away while I tried to figure out how to lay blocks and switch to my weapon. Skipping the tutorial video is not recommended as you may be lost, like myself. Afterwards, it’s best to emulate knowledgeable players and ask questions if you’re confused. It took me a while to realize that blocks were shared. So it’s unwise to go on a placement spree if you don’t know what you’re doing. From the first thirty seconds it's readily apparent that Block N Load is a heavily team-focused game. Every player needs to understand their role to win, and how their hero is meant to be played.
Show Me A Hero[es]
As the big game hunter Nigel I could both attack and defend effectively but was suited for defense, armed with bear traps and dart-spitting Tiki torches. And the long range hunting rifle was magnetized to opponents’ heads from across the map. I wasn’t as offensively effective as the Rambo-esque Sarge Stone, who can decimate blocks with C4 and a grenade launcher, while mowing down players with an M60 machine gun. Nor was I as capable at building defenses as Anthony ‘Tony’ Turetto, an engineer specializing in employing 360 degree turrets.
Each hero has their own special ability, activated by pressing “F.” Nigel can sonar an area of the map to detect enemy players while Sarge lobs grenades. The abilities aren’t endless and are tied to a cooldown timer once used. But every match allots experience that translates into levels, along a 10-level progression chain. And subsequents levels award a bonus to your hero's special ability (such as reducing its cooldown time or increasing AOE), or periodic levels allot gold. While leveling doesn’t award stat bonuses, heroes can increases their proficiency through perks.
The Perks Of Experience
While you do level up by playing matches, levels don’t allot skills and abilities. Instead, players use accumulated gold to buy perks from the game’s shop. They’re cards awarding stat improvements that can be equipped to any hero at the start of a match. But you’re hero will have to be the required level in order to equip a perk. Bags of Bullets increases the ammo pool for all weapons whereas Nerves of Steel increases weapon accuracy by10%. And higher-leveled cards allot incremental upgrades—from 10% to 15%. It’s a neat system that lets you further customize your hero, leaning towards a play style both offensively and defensively.
The in-game shop is far from offensive but follows precedent, offering two currencies. The first is gold, earned by playing and can be traded for Heroes, Perks, and Hero Skins. After a dozen or so matches I had accumulated about 6,000 gold, putting me within range of one of three new heroes, with two higher tiers of triplet heroes—capping at 18950 gold. So, it will take excessive playtime to unlock everything strictly following the gold path. But there is, of course, platinum; the game's cash currency is solely used to purchase heroes and their accompanying skins. It cannot purchase perks (money can’t buy everything in Block N Load). It avoids pay to win by allowing free to play players to purchase new heroes while giving whales an outlet to spend their cash.
More Braque Than Delacroix
I’m typically not a fan of FPS blockworlds but Block N Loads’ aesthetic is weirdly charming. At first glance my reaction was to scoff. But as my first match progressed I grew to appreciate the chaos destructible blocks promoted. Every brick takes damage indicated by line-cracks searing the block. Enough shots, hits, or smashes and the block explodes. Theoretically, the entire map could be wiped out if heroes didn’t repair their bases.
Hero characters play on preconceived stereotypes drawn from pop culture. Anyone who's watched films in the last fifty years will recognize at least one hero, whether it be the alluring space-faring vixon or eighties action star clearly influenced by First Blood. Each has their own set of quirky catchphrases and periodically talks to themselves as you play, giving the sense that your inhabiting your character’s skin, and reinforcing the game’s goofiness. If it wasn’t for the robust characterization I doubt the gameplay would be as engaging.
Although, the opening music is self-aware–action-movie perfect; a rolling drum beat segueing into a heart-pumping throttle. I even stuck around the title screen to show off the music to a friend. My blood was poised and I jumped into a match without thinking, having no idea what to do. It sets the tone perfectly. And while music within the match is seldom, it’s not necessary as you’re preoccupied with defending, offending, or repairing, and keeping your ears perked for the next supply drop or the chiseling of an enemy shovel under your base.
Final Verdict - Great
If Block N Load is anything, it’s innovative. And deviating from recycled winrar formulas deserves recognition. It’s a multiplayer game heavily dependent on each team member’s participation to win. Matches can be prolonged and unpredictable, making it a difficult game to jump in and out of. But spontaneity creates interesting scenarios and while I had other obligations it was difficult to tear myself away from playing. Ultimately, Block N Load is a refreshing team-based FPS set in an endearing universe with unique mechanics and it’s a blast to play.
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Block N Load System Requirements
Operating System: Windows 7 64 bit
CPU: Core i3-4150 3.5GHz or Phenom II X4 B60
Video Card: GeForce GTX 650 1GB or Radeon R7 250 Gigabyte OC 1GB Edition
RAM: 4 GB
Hard Disk Space: 15 GB
Operating System: Windows 7 64 bit
CPU: Core i5-4460T 1.9GHz or Phenom II X4 965
Video Card: GeForce GTX 650 1GB or Radeon HD 7770 1GB GDDR5
RAM: 4 GB
Hard Disk Space: 15 GB
Block N Load Music & Soundtrack
Block N Load Additional Information
Developer: Jagex Games Studios
Game Engine: Unity
Block N Load VP: David Solari
Announcement Date: November 20, 2014
Closed Beta: Devember 11, 2014
Release Date: April 30, 2015
Steam Release Date: April 30, 2015
Free To Play Date: October 01, 2015
Development History / Background:
Block N Load was developed by UK based game development studio Jagex, the same company responsible for developing Runescape. It was inspired by a previously released Jagex game titled Ace of Spades. Block N Load was announced on Novemeber 20, 2014 and entered closed beta on December 11, 2014. On April 30, 2015 Block N Load released through Steam and retailed for $14.99. But the game transitioned to a free to play model on October 01, 2015, leading to a large surge in its playerbase.